NEW DELHI: As the usage of ebooks and Tablets is going up considerably across India, the paper industry has started to feel the pinch. The growing popularity of digital media for books and documents is gaining ground in India fast and also emerging as the need of the hour.
Although the Indian paper industry is considered as the 15th largest in the world and offers ample opportunities for budding entrepreneurs, but digital media is posing as a big threat to this sector. The paper industry, which offers employment to about 1.5 million people and contributes about Rs 25 billion to the government funds, is expected to reach saturation point soon.
While talking to SME News about the country's paper Industry, Gopal Singh, proprietor of AdPrint18, said, “There are ample growth opportunities for the budding entrepreneurs in the Indian paper industry, but these opportunities will seize post 15-20 years as people are preferring to go digital. Presently, there are good growth options but these opportunities won't be available forever as digital media is gaining prominence in India. Hence, the companies should aim to maximise its efforts to bag maximum profit at the earliest.”
Despite the consistent threat from digital media, the growth rate of this SME driven sector is expected to grow manifold as it will touch 10% from the current level of 6%. The NIIR Project Consultancy Services (NPCS) report claimed that the Indian paper industry is worth Rs 225 billion. It is responsible for nearly 1.6% of the world’s production of paper and paperboard. Presently, the demand for paper is primarily driven by products such as writing paper, tissue paper, tea bags, filter paper, light weight online coated paper and medical grade paper etc.
Moreover, with Centre’s stress on education along with the alternative uses of paper, the domestic demand will cross supply by 2015. Despite this rosy picture, there are certain issues such as raw material crunch, which is causing problems for this sector.
NK Garg, secretary general, Indian Pulp and Paper Technical Association, said, “Although there is ample scope of growth for this sector but raw material crisis is impacting the industry in a big way. As raw material is not available readily, the manufacturers are reeling under tremendous pressure. The Indian government should ensure that the manufacturers are supplied with abundant raw material.”
Presently, India enjoys self-reliance to produce almost all varieties of paper and paperboards. The current entrepreneurs in the paper business are of the opinion that the industry needs to become greener. The adoption of green standards along with conservation of natural resources will raise the profitability of this wood-based sector.