The paper industry has an important social role to play for the country. Use of paper is considered as an index of cultural growth. The paper industry is also contributing towards fulfillment of various requirements of the industry as a whole like information dissemination, publicity etc. which in turn stimulate industrial growth of the country. The paper industry has, thus, a catalytic role to play not only for the overall growth of the industry but also for the living standards of the people.
The primary products sector include manufacturing pulps from wood and other cellulose fibers, and from rags; the manufacture of paper and paperboard; and the manufacture of paper and paperboard into converted products, such as paper coated off the paper machine, paper bags, paper boxes, and envelopes and other commodity grades of wood pulp, printing and writing papers, sanitary tissue, industrial-type papers, containerboard, and boxboard.
In the last few years, India’s paper industry has grown by 6 per cent annually. In the coming years, this growth rate will go up to 10 per cent because of huge spurt in demand for writing and printing paper. The domestic demand for paper is set to far surpass supply, with the growing emphasis on education and alternative uses of paper. The demand for upstream market of paper products, like, tissue paper, tea bags, filter paper, light weight online coated paper, medical grade coated paper, etc., is growing up. These developments are expected to give fillip to the industry. Improvement of key ports, roads and railways and communication facilities will help the entire industrial sector including pulp & paper.
India’s paper industry is worth Rs 225 billion. It accounts for about 1.6 per cent of the world’s production of paper and paperboard. In India, the demand for paper is set to far surpass supply and is expected to reach the level of 110 lakh tones by 2015 from 72 lakh tones in 2007. It is said that if the gross domestic product (GDP) grows at 10 per cent, paper demand will grow at 8 per cent. The per capita consumption of paper in India is barely 8 kg. Paper consumption is poised for a big leap forward in sync with the economic growth.
About 38 per cent of the total demand comes from culture paper (creamwave), while 58 per cent arises out of the industrial paper sector. The rest 4 per cent comes from speciality paper including coated paper, tissues, posters, one-time carbon (OTC), cheques, drafts, etc.
The country’s paper industry, with an existing production capacity of 90 lakh tones, requires an additional $2 billion of investment to meet the rising demand. The capacity is likely to increase to 112 lakh tones per annum by 2010.The share of wood as raw materials has declined from 84 per cent to 36 per cent since 1970.On the other hand, the share of agro and waste paper has increased from 9 and 7 to 29 and 35 per cent, respectively. Of course, the share of recycled paper would go up in the future. The government is drawing up a new scheme for technological upgradation and modernization of paper mills.