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India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. It is also the world’s second most populated countrybehind China. After years of economic developments, a rising number of middleclass in India is expected to boost domestic consumption and the plastics industry is poised to benefit from it.


India’s GDP is expected to grow by more than 7% this year to US$2.4 trillion.
India’s GDP is expected to grow by more than 7% this year to US$2.4 trillion.

India is the 6th largest economy in the world in terms of nominal GDP, which is expected to reach US$2.4 trillion this year. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projected that India’s GDP growth will decline from 7.6% in 2015-16 to 7.1% in 2016-17, the country nevertheless remains one of the fastest growing economies in the world, vying with China for the No.1 position in terms of growth rate.

With a population of around 1.3 billion, India is the world’s second most populated country behind China, and is expected to overtake China as the most populous country by 2024. Such large population, coupled with a fast growing economy, has led to the emergence of a substantial middle class base in India.

A Mumbai University study said the Indian middle class doubled in size over an eight year period from 300 million in 2004 to 600 million in 2012. By 2027, India’s middle class will overtake that of the US, Europe and China, becoming a powerful force in the Indian economy.

Growing middle class fueling plastic packaging

As plastics is increasingly used in a wide range of products, the Indian plastics industry has also grown to become one of the leading sectors in the country, consisting of over 30,000 firms and employing more than 4 million people.

From 2011-2016, the annual growth rate (+13%) of Indian plastics industry has outpaced its GDP. Its size is expected to reach US$25 billion by 2016-17 fiscal year. Considering a growing Indian middle class with relatively low per capita consumption of plastics (11kg), the plastics industry will sustain its rapid development in the near future.

The packaging industry is a direct beneficiary of increasing income levels and changing lifestyles of Indian population. The per capita packaging consumption in India is quite low at 4.3kg, compared to countries like Germany and Taiwan where it is 42kg and 19kg, according to a joint report by FICCI and Tata Strategic Management Group (TSMG).

In the coming years, the plastic packaging industry in India is expected to grow by 18% per annum, reaching US$73 billon by 2020, said the report. Demand from rural sector for packaged products is being fuelled by increasing media penetration through the means of internet and television.

Organized retail and boom in e-commerce will fuel growth of plastic packaging and per capita consumption to be doubled in five years,” the report observed.

Per capita plastic consumption remains relatively low

Indian plastics industry is expected to grow by 8-12% a year through to 2020. As domestic plastics demand and consumption in India continue to grow at nearly twice the rate of India’s overall economy, Plastindia Foundation, the organizer of Plastindia, estimated that the Indian plastics industry will grow by 8-12% a year through to 2020, reaching 20 million tons in polymer consumption.

While India’s general economy is hampered by a weakening rupee and the implementation of the goods and services tax (GST), the Indian plastics industry is set to buck the trend due to a number of factors.

Smart cities, rapid urbanization, increase in sale of packaged products through retail and e-commerce mode, low per capita consumption, shifting consumer lifestyles, large young population, majority of population of middle income group, many manufacturing segments adopting higher percentage of plastics, etc. are contributing towards the growth of plastics industry,” said K. K. Seksaria, President of Plastindia Foundation.

Favorable government policies

For instance, the Indian government of India has put forward an initiative to boost the infrastructure sector with investments of 25 lakh crores over the next three years in roads, railways and shipping infrastructure. Plastics play an important role in these sectors through usage in various products like pipes, wires & cables, water proofing membranes and wood plastic composites (WPC).

Other government initiatives such as Make in India, Skill India, Digital India, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (SBA), etc. are also accelerating the growth of plastics industry. The Digital India program, for example, proposes that electronic gadgets shall be made with plastics in India in the next five to 10 years.

Another drive comes in the form of reduced GST, as India’s GST Council has suggested in November that GST of numerous plastic items, like floorings, fabric,  furniture, flask, sanitary and bath fittings, as asll as all miscellaneous plastics products will be reduced from 28% to 18%.

The decision is met with widespread relief among the Indian plastics industry. Rajeev Chitalia, former President of the Plastics Export Promotion Council known as PLEXCONCIL, said, “If India has to meet its exports targets of US$900 billion by 2022, then plastics industry has an important role to play. Small and medium enterprises (SME) are a backbone of plastics industry. The reduction in GST rates will help them in succeeding in their business better in India as well as abroad.”

Indian export of plastics finished goods is expected to nearly double from US$7.9 billion in 2016 to US$15 billion in the next five years, according to Plastindia Foundation.

It seems that the center of gravity is rapidly shifting to India due to the opportunities here. India is the world’s next plastic destination by virtue of both, its sheer size and tremendous growing domestic demand,” commented Rajeev Chitalia, Chairman of National Executive Committee (NEC), Plastindia 2018.

Plastindia 2018 celebrates 10th edition

Plastindia 2018 will be celebrating its 10th edition under the motto “Next is Here” from February 7-12 in Gandhinagar, India.

With 125,000sqm of exhibition area, the triennial trade show is expected to host around 2,000 exhibitors from more than 40 countries and regions. The organizer is expecting 200,000+ visitors over six days.

Four concurrent events will be staged, namely the 5th Proplast, 10th International Conference, 8th Plasticon Awards and a Gala Networking Dinner.

In addition, Plastindia 2018 will, for the first time, feature “Exclusive Pavilions” for the new and emerging sectors, such as plastic composite, 3D printing and robotics.


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