Why was it in the news?
The Department of Commerce brought out the National Rubber Policy in March 2019
- India is currently the sixth largest producer of NR in the world with one of the highest productivity (694,000 tonnes in 2017-18).
- 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.
- It provides a livelihood to tribal and other financially retarded community people.
- Due to the major spike in the rubber consumption and deficit in the NR production in India, around 40% of NR is imported from other major rubber producing countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia and China.
- The Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India, established the Rubber Board in 1947 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 intention of the policy includes:
- Constructing a well-developed value-chain of competitive rubber industry.
- Supplying materials of international standards to the national and global markets.
- Elevating the financial status of the entire stakeholder community
- To strengthen the manufacturing sector of the NR and encourage the export of rubber products.
Legal and Institutional Framework related to Rubber production and consumption in India
- Rubber Act, 1947: The Rubber Act, 1947 → rubber industry under the control of the Union.
- The Rubber Board, headquartered at Kottayam, Kerala, under the administration of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry → undertakes /assists/encourages scientific, technological and economic research, provides training on improved methods of planting, cultivation, manuring and spraying, gives technical advice to rubber growers compiles statistics etc.
- Foreign Direct Investment (FDI): 100% FDI in plantations of rubber, coffee, tea, cardamom, palm oil tree and olive oil tree.
- Conditions required for the growth of Rubber tree
- Rubber is a tropical tree.
- It requires high temperature throughout the year – ranging between 20°-35°C or average monthly mean of 27°C. Less than 20°C temperature is detrimental. Similarly, rubber also requires heavy rainfall
- Rubber trees can grow in a wide range of soils, including clay, sand and loam. They can tolerate both acidic and alkaline soils, but need good drainage.