The twentieths century has been a witness to the invention of some of the most versatile materials, synthetic polymers (also known as plastics) which have revolutionized our everyday life. Its versatility led to a shift in manufacturing from the metal / conventional material based products to synthetic products.
Petrochemicals which comprise plastics and a host of other chemicals, are downstream hydrocarbons derived from crude oil and natural gas.
Indian petrochemicals industry has a large and growing domestics market, low per capita polymer and synthetic fiber consumption, expertise in specialized products and availability of trained man power. New advancements have also taken place in performance plastics, engineering polymers and speciality plastics. With an eye on the emerging usages, R&D efforts should focus on the need to modernize and upgrade the existing manufacturing products, improve the quality of existing product and make it safe for environment and human health. Hence, the industries to be supported by excellent academic institutions that would provide world class programmes in terms of product and process innovation.
Chemical fertilizers and pesticides played an important role in the “Green Revolution” during the 1960’s and 1970’s. The consumption of pesticides in India is lower in comparison to other countries. Indian exports of agrochemicals have shown an impressive growth over the last five years. The key export destination markets are USA, UK, France, Belgium, Spanish, South Africa, Bangladesh, Malaysia, and Singapore.
The government is promoting research on the use of alternative and unharmful pesticides using neem seeds.
In India, consumption of petrochemicals products like polymer and polyesters are still one of the lowest in the world.
The Indian chemical industry ranks 12th by volume in the world production of chemicals. In terms of consumption, the chemical industry is its own largest customer and accounts for approximately for 33% of the consumption.
Industrial and agricultural uses of chemicals include auxiliary materials such as adhesives, unprocessed plastics, dues and fertilizers, while uses within the consumer sector include pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, household products, paints etc.,
India also produces a large number of fine and speciality chemicals which have very specific uses and are essential for increasing industrial production. Some of the important manufacturers of speciality chemicals include NOCIL (National organic chemical industry limited), Bayear (India) HICO products and Color Chem.
The dyestuff sector is one of the important segments of the chemicals industry in India, having forward and backward linkages with a variety of sectors like Textiles, leathers papers plastics, printing – ink and food stuffs. Textile Industries’ dyestuff is about 80% and emerged as a very strong industry and a major foreign exchange earner.