Govt plans to double per capita plastics consumption: Pradhan

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Government is encouraging investments in petrochemical sector and plans to double per capita consumption of plastics to 20 kg a person by 2022, Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Thursday. “The government has ambitious plans of doubling the current per capita consumption of plastics from the present 10 kg per person to 20 kg per person by 2022,” Pradhan said at the ‘Indian Oil Petrochemical Conclave 2016’ here. This would require setting up one naphtha cracker every year bringing in huge growth opportunities in employment generation and start of new ancillary industries, among others, the Minister noted. In order to achieve the ambitious target, huge investments are required in next 5-6 years in petrochemical sector, he said. Pradhan further said, capital outlays worth Rs 2,00,000 crore are expected to be made in diverse product lines – in polyester intermediates, polyester film and yarn, polymers and other petrochemicals. Indian Oil has also planned future investments worth Rs 30,000 crore in various petrochemical streams. When these new projects take shape, the Indian capacity is expected to grow to around 50 MMTPA generating employment for 10,000 people directly and 1 million people indirectly. “Further, these investments would spur the setting up of around 800-1000 downstream converting industries in MSME sector propelling the growth of entrepreneurial landscape,” he said. These mega projects, when fully operational, are expected to also save huge valuable foreign exchange, thus contributing to fiscal consolidation, he said adding that the public-sector companies have been encouraged to invest in start-ups that will also create jobs. The Minister also informed that the government is not going to impose any customs duty on crude oil. When asked if the government will further reduce petrol and diesel prices, he said, “The crude oil prices are volatile in nature. We have reduced the fuel prices in the country so many times. However, we are not matching the reduction of prices with the international rates as we want to save funds for infrastructure and road development.”