The Union ministry of chemicals has proposed a technology development fund to help plastic manufacturing units.
It is aimed primarily at those to be set up in its flagship scheme of petroleum, chemicals and petrochemicals Investment Regions. The proposal, sent to the Planning Commission, would help industrial units modernise production facilities and adopt updated technology.
Official sources said the fund could help meet expenditure on purchase of new/additional capital equipment, acquisition of latest technology, upgrading processes, improvement in packaging and training for skilled manpower.
The plastic industry, they said, offered substantial job opportunities for skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled manpower. Therefore, training is of primary importance.
The ministry notes the example of the textiles sector, where’s there a technology modernisation fund, to boost growth in the domestic market and exports. Plastics face similar growth problems, say officials, with funds being a problem. The industry has large scope for manufacturing high-value and specialised products, but technology is expensive.
Also, to adhere to modern pollution norms, there are numerous ways on zero discharge units and centralised effluent treatment and discharge treatment use. However, affordability is becoming a problem. For units to combine and adopt something like an effluent treatment system, some incentive is needed. For the same reason, the scheme of plastics parks, aimed at small and medium enterprise is yet to take off.
The ministry would like an increasing scale of operations through adoption of new technology and ventures into specialised and value-added products.
It is in favour of getting the government to mandate use of specialised applications, as with geosynthetics for road construction and pipelines and edible oils being sold only in plastic packs to reduce the scope for adulteration and health hazards.
Similarly, for the dairy industry, it has suggested development of aseptic plastic packaging so that pasteurised milk could be packed without the requirement of developing high-cost, cold-chain facilities and logistics.
Presently,packaged and branded pasteurised milk comprises only 18 per cent of the market.