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Maharashtra Government's plastic ban will devour the plastics industry: AIPMA

Monday, April 02, 2018
By Dominic Rebello

“Plastic is a miraculous material, it is one of the most fantastic material man has created. The problem is not of plastic. The problem is of human irresponsibility and that is what we need to fix, said Sadguru when asked about the problem of plastic all around us.

The All India Plastics Manufacturers Association (AIPMA) has opposed the Maharashtra Government's notification for ban on various types of plastics. Terming the ‘Maharashtra Plastic and Thermocol Products Notification, 2018’ as “impractical, unrealistic and not a solution to the underlying issue of Pollution,” the AIPMA stated that the ban has drastically affected the  the Rs 50,000-crore Plastic Industry  and it may take legal actions if the issue is not resolved.

Describing the plastic sector in Maharashtra as ‘vital’ for economic and industrial development in the state, Hiten Bheda, President, AIPMA, said the plastic industry caters to about 30% of India’s GDP and around 35% of Maharashtra’s GDP. The total volume of plastic products is around Rs 50,000 crores, while the ban-related products amount to Rs 5,000 crores, he said.

“The overall employment through the plastics industry is over four lakh jobs, while the overall plastic industrial units being closed down -- due to this ban in Maharashtra – are 2,150 units. The estimated GST revenue from the plastics sector through sale in Maharashtra is Rs 8,400 crores, while GST revenue from sale of disposable plastic items --covered by the ban – is Rs 800 crores,” Bheda stated, adding “The plastics industry is becoming increasingly important for facilitating sound infrastructure in a very sustainable manner and this sector has a huge, unrealized potential, which will remain unexplored due to such bans being imposed.”

“As of now, we are not aware about who is making these illegal plastic bags. However, this ban in Maharashtra has drastically affected manufacturers, traders, distributors, retailers and stakeholders of the plastics industry and also resulted in large-scale unemployment. This ban will devour the plastics industry and affect the state’s economy as well due to affiliated industries like beverages, medical, fast food, retail chains, wholesalers, garment, packaging, dairy industry all shutting down due to no viable alternatives in place of plastic packaging,” he said.

“There is a comprehensive Central regulation issued by MOEFCC called ‘Plastics Waste Management Rules’ that effectively address the issue of plastic waste. Hence multiple regulations around the same challenge may send potentially-conflicting messages and – more importantly – hamper ease of doing business.”

Recently, during the inauguration of  CAPINDIA 2018, Union Minister for Commerce & Industry Suresh Prabhu said, plastic has tremendous scope for growth. The industry should look at environment-friendly, biodegradable plastic as an option. If it is not plastic then timber will have to be used which will lead to deforestation.

Bheda said the GST collection from this sector in Maharashtra is around Rs 8,400 crore and the share of disposable plastic items, which are to be subjected to the ban, is Rs 800 crore. "This decision will devour the plastic industry and also affect the state's economy. The ban will also adversely impact the sectors dependent on the plastic industry like the food and beverage, medical, retail, garment, packaging, dairy, among others," said Bheda.

According to the association, this ban has affected manufacturers, traders, distributors, retailers and other stakeholders of the plastic industry and will result in unemployment on a large scale as the industry employs more than 4 lakh people at present.

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