Indian foundrymen demand government’s support

February 14th, 2011 - 4:09 pm ICT by IANS  

By Alkesh Sharma
Chandigarh, Feb 14 (IANS) The foundry sector, the mother industry that feeds various other trades like automotives, auto-components, engineering goods, sanitary fittings, oil and natural gas exploration, textiles and railways, is itself struggling to find its feet in India.Facing stiff competition from China, the Institute of Indian Foundrymen (IIF) has demanded massive support in the form of cheap and continuous power supply and various other subsidies and incentives from the Indian government.

Foundry is the art of melting metals and casting them into different shapes. It lends itself to making very complicated shapes, which cannot be made by any other process.

“Although India has reached the second spot in the world rankings of casting production, still we have to overcome many hurdles. We are producing around 7.5 million tonnes casting per year, but China, which is at number one, is far ahead with the production of 35 million tonnes per year,” IIF national President Naresh Garg told IANS.

“It is very difficult to compete with China as their government is supporting their foundry industry in a big way. They are providing cheap electricity and various subsidies to encourage this industry. Besides, the Chinese government is also providing a ready market to ensure that there is no loss to their traders,” he added.

Garg said that they have also appealed the union HRD (human resource development) ministry to start vocational courses to produce better workers for this industry.

“Foundry is also ahead of agriculture industry in terms of employment generation. Therefore, we want our government to provide a congenial environment for the foundry growth,” said Garg.

This union territory hosted the 59th edition of the IIF congress and Cast India expo Feb 11-13. Over 200 exhibitors from different parts of India and countries like Germany, Italy, Japan, China and Taiwan participated in this event.

Chandigarh hosted this congress after 46 years — it was last held here in 1964.

K.S. Satyanarayana, former president of IIF and chairman of IIF congress, told IANS: “Gap in the available capacity and demand in the automobile sector alone is of around 2 to 2.5 million tonnes. So we are forced to import it from China and other countries. It is sad that we have all the expertise but still we are not developing as per market requirements.”

“During the period from 2003-07, our traders did not get demand as per their investment. Profits were bit less and this discouraged people from investing in this industry. Besides, electricity that consumes 20 percent expenditure of this industry is very expensive in India as compared to China,” stated Satyanarayana.

“Here, we have red-tapism and very strict pollution laws that are the main deterrent in the development of this industry,” he pointed out.

In India, there are around 6,000 foundries and they fall in the categories of large, medium, small and micro scale. Out of the total production of 7.5 million tonnes, around 2.5 million tonnes (nearly one-third of the total production) is produced by only 50 foundries here.

Besides, during the last four years, India has surpassed countries like Japan, the US and Germany in the manufacturing of castings.

According to IIF officials, as per the automotive mission plan, around Rs.140,000 crore would be invested in this industry during 2006 to 2016.

“This investment would lead to an unprecedented growth in the automobile sector but the foundry industry is not matching these development standards. If foundry industry does not grow, it obviously means more imports from China. So we want more investment and government’s support to meet future demands,” said Satyanarayana.

(Alkesh Sharma can be contacted at alkesh.s@ians.in)

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