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GROWERS WARY OF RUBBER ACT’S REPEAL

Focus: GS-III Agriculture

Why in news?

Concerns are being raised as the Centre plans to repeal the Rubber Act of 1947.

What are the concerns?

  • The very existence of the Rubber Board, the system of licensing, extension, replanting, research, subsidies, control over export-import and a host of other support systems depend on the Act.
  • Withdrawal of the Act would empower the Centre to disband the board and end the present system of rubber farming, growers’ representatives fear.
  • The Union government had drawn up a list of obsolete Acts to be repealed. The Rubber and Tea Acts got into the list and since then there have been apprehensions about the future of these Acts.

Indian Rubber Indsutry

  • India is currently the sixth largest producer of Natural Rubber (NR) in the world with one of the highest productivity.
  • Traditional rubber-growing states comprising Kerala and Tamil Nadu account for 81% of production.
  • Major non-traditional rubber growing regions are the North Eastern states of Tripura, Assam and Meghalaya, Odisha, Karnataka, Maharashtra and West Bengal.
  • Around 40% of NR is imported from other major rubber producing countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia and China – due to deficit in production and spike in consumption.
  • The rubber sector has about 1.3 million rubber farmers contributing to a ₹1-lakh crore industry.
  • Rubber is a tropical tree and can grow in a wide range of soils, including clay, sand and loam, tolerating both acidic and alkaline soils, however, they need good drainage.

Rubber Act, 1947 and other Legislation regarding Rubber in India

  • The Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India, established the Rubber Board through the Rubber Act in 1947, hence the Rubber Board is a Statutory Body.
  • The Rubber Board was established to strengthen the development of the rubber industry by offering financial assistance, consolatory and regulatory services.
  • The board launched the National Rubber Policy in March 2019 to address the external and internal challenges faced by the Indian rubber industry.
  • The Rubber Board, headquartered at Kottayam, Kerala, under the administration of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

Aims of National Rubber Policy:

  1. Constructing a well-developed value-chain of competitive rubber industry.
  2. Supplying materials of international standards to the national and global markets.
  3. Elevating the financial status of the entire stakeholder community
  4. To strengthen the manufacturing sector of the NR and encourage the export of rubber products.

-Source: The Hindu

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