The Center will increase the National Rubber Scheme allocation by 23% to ₹ 708.69 with two taxes.

To support natural rubber production in the country, the Government of India has increased the allocation for the Natural Rubber Sector Sustainable and Inclusive Development Program by 23% to ₹ 708.69 crore in the next two financial years (2024-26). The Commerce Ministry said. A change in rubber import duties will not be considered for the time being as the difference between local and international prices will remain, a senior official said. “If you look at the local price compared to the international price, the difference is because of the import duties. So I think there is no need to reconsider lowering the import duties now,” said Amardeep Singh. Commerce Ministry Additional Secretary Bhatia at a briefing on the rubber scheme on Monday.

Usage of funds

Bhatia was responding to a question whether the government has any plans to address import duties on natural rubber. Domestic rubber producers support high import tariffs, but user industry stakeholders such as tire manufacturers want to lower them. Currently, import duty on natural rubber is 25 percent or ₹ 30/kg, whichever is higher. Bhatia said the additional funds allocated under the Rubber Sector Development Program will be used to support rubber plantations. , production of plant material, productivity improvement, formation of rubber producer associations and rubber research and education.

Rubber plantation on 12,000 hectares in traditional areas during 2024-25 and 2025-26 at a cost of ₹ 43.50 crore. According to Bhatia, the subsidy amount for this has been increased to ₹ 40,000 per hectare from earlier ₹ 25,000 per hectare. This helps cover increased production costs and provides additional incentives for farmers to plant rubber. In non-traditional areas, about 3752 hectares are brought under rubber cultivation at a cost of ₹ 18.76 crore during the same period. The scheme is implemented through the Rubber Board.

There are more than 13,00,000 rubber growers in the country and Kerala accounts for a major share of the production. Compared to production of about 8.39 million tons in 2022-2023, consumption during the said tax period was 13.5 million tons. “The gap is being bridged by imports from countries like Vietnam, Malaysia and other Southeast Asian countries. Now imports from African countries like Ivory Coast are also taking place,” the official said. In the next two years, ₹29 billion was intended for rubber research. “It aims to develop rubber clones suitable for different agro-climatic zones in the country to expand rubber cultivation to new areas.

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