Rs 2400 cr tech to modernise the leather ind
Addressing the press conference on Thursday, Science and Technology Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said,"Efforts are being further leveraged which would provide a new impetus to the leather industry to manufacture and launch value-added products. The focus is on MSME in particular which feeds the larger industry segment."
The leather sector generates $12.5 billion revenue, which is significantly lower than the sector’s potential. The Narendra Modi -led government envisages to achieve $27 billion from this sector. The contribution of revenue by raw hides/skin and semi-finished leather industry, on the other hand, has gone up substantially to $5.845 billion in 2015-16 from Rs. 8 crore in 1944-45.
The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI) have jointly collaborated to use waterless technology, which is being dubbed as a game-changer, that would reduce the total dissolved solid in wastewater by 20% and bring down chromium usage by 15-20%. The new technology has generated interest among several international buyers, including those from Ethiopia, South Africa, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Vietnam and Brazil.
It begets mention that several tannery associations, including those in Kolkata and Kanpur, had to shut down their operations due to environmental and pollution issues. These associations had petitioned the government to take adequate measures to support their industry. The Bantala Leather Complex in Kolkata is facing similar challenges. The companies located inside the complex are unable to expand their operations because of pollution and environmental problems created by the tanneries located in the region.
The CSIR and CLRI departments on their part have tried to address the problems of large solid waste generated by the leather industry. The Prime Minister has asked the leather industry players to suggest measures to overcome the challenges so that the industry could be on the growth path again.
The government on its part has included provisions in the 2016-17 budget enabling focus on enhancing leather technology, improving the designing capabilities and training the industry workers to bring about improvement in the quality and design of the products, which in turn could lead to considerable growth for the industry.
Speaking to the media, the Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan stressed that the government has taken these initiatives in the backdrop of the country’s poor performance in the Olympic games . While contemplating on some of the steps to improve the country’s overall sports environment, the govt emphasised on improving the quality and design of sports shoes and make them affordable for lower income groups. This would improve the country’s overall sports environment. "We have asked CSIR, CLRI and all the other leather industry associations to dedicate their time to achieving this mission. This would give an impetus to the leather industry also,” he said.