24 Nov 2017 13:39 IST

Digitisation has not reduced use of paper, say manufacturers

But rising imports worry industry

Contrary to expectations, digitisation has not triggered a reduction in use of paper. “While we increasingly talk of a paperless office and a digitised future, in reality, life without paper can only be in dream,” say paper industry sources.


Highlighting the various use of papers, Kasi Viswanathan, Managing Director, Seshasayee Paper and Boards, Erode and past president, Indian Pulp and Paper Technical Association (IPPTA), said: “ either for making of decorative or hygiene items, packaging or in printing and writing, use of paper has only increased. The industry is growing 6-7 per cent year-on-year.”

The annual turnover of the industry is estimated at Rs. 50,000 crore.

But the issue of concern for the industry at this juncture is the steep increase in paper imports.

“Imports have risen by 30 per cent and this includes commonly used standard paper such as A-4 sheets, posing a threat to the industry,” Viswanathan said. He, however, added that paper exports registered a 10-15 per cent increase in the last decade, due to an improvement in the quality standards of Indian paper.

IPPTA is requesting the government to ensure a level-playing field by inking Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with Thailand and South Korea. “Both power and input costs are high in India. We have no industrial plantations for sourcing wood pulp, which is used in paper manufacture,” he said.

MK Goyal, Secretary-General, IPPTA, said the industry uses different raw materials such as old /used paper, wood (from social forestry) and bagasse and straw (agricultural waste) for making paper.

“Paper made from agricultural waste is about 15 per cent while about 30 per cent is made from waste/used paper and from wood pulp.

“Newsprint is largely imported as it is made from wood and we do not have such industrial plantations in the country to meet the print industry’s paper requirement.

“Consequent to the increase in international pulp price from $650/tonne to $800/tonne, there has been a corresponding increase in the price of newsprint,” he said.

The association is in talks with the Indian Railways for planting of trees alongside railway lines as there is huge availability of land.