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Published on : Dec 31, 2014

Delivering the inaugural address at the annual session of the Chemical Engineering Congress at Panjab University, Vice-President Mohammad Hamid Ansari opined that the chemical industry in India needs to be reignited. The four-day meet is scheduled by the Indian Institute of Chemical Engineers (IIChE) in conjunction with Dr S S Bhatnagar University Institute of Chemical Engineering and Technology (UICET), Panjab University, and is based around the theme ‘Chemical Engineering - Emerging dimensions and challenges ahead’. The US, Canada, Japan, South Africa, Singapore, and Iran have sent delegations to the congress.

According to a 2010 Planning Commission paper, the chemical sector took up about 14% in India’s overall industrial production. The chemical industry in India had a value of US$108 billion, making up about 7% of India’s GDP. India is the third most prolific producer of chemicals in Asia, after its perennial rival China and Japan.

Despite the seeming enormity of the Indian chemical industry, Vice-President Ansari pointed out that it only took up a 3% share in the global chemicals market. Given the importance of the chemical industry in such diverse fields as biotechnology, agricultural research, nanotechnology, and materials research, it needs to be given a boost in order to help fulfill PM Narendra Modi’s vision of India as an industrialized manufacturing hub. PM Modi’s vision of ‘Make in India’ has recently come under attack from the opposition, but the vision remains an achievable and lucrative aim for a country that has never been short on labor.

VP Ansari highlighted updating the syllabus taught in Indian universities and providing better infrastructure as key solutions to bettering the state of the Indian chemicals industry.