Tyre manufacturers have urged the government to reduce the import duty for rubber to less than 10% as rising consumption and sharp fall in domestic natural rubber production leaves a 45% gap between demand and supply in the country.
Data from Rubber Board shows that production stood at just 5.6 lakh tonne during April 2018 to January 2019, compared to 5.97 lakh tonne in the same period last year.
Consumption of natural rubber rose 12% crossing 10.2 lakh tonne in the period between April 2018 to January 2019.
The production–consumption gap for the same period of previous fiscal stood at 3.16 lakh tonnes, which has increased to 4.63 lakh tonnes in the current financial year.
“For the first time, the NR consumption in India has crossed the mark of 10 lakh tonne in the first 10 months of a fiscal year, recording an average monthly consumption of 1 lakh tonne. The commitment of tyre industry to increase production footprint in the country needs to be supported by increasing the supply of raw materials, or otherwise it will leave the domestic manufacturing uncompetitive,” said a top official of Automotive Tyre Manufacturers Association (ATMA).
Natural rubber consumption in India is likely to surpass the projection of 12 lakh tonne made by the Rubber Board for the year 2018-19. The dependence on imports has increased 30% as compared to the previous year, leaving the tyre industry worried about raw material sourcing, the association said.