The chemical industry is a highly versatile segment in the overall industrial economy of India. It is one of the oldest domestic industries in India, contributing significantly to both the industrial and economic growth. It has linkages with almost every other industrial activity, be it food processing, metallurgy, textiles, rubber or leather. There is, in fact, hardly any segment where chemicals do not feature. The industry is broadly segmented into four major categories-Inorganic Chemicals, Organic Chemicals, petrochemicals based specialities, and agro oriented chemicals. The chemical industry currently produces nearly 70,000 commercial products, ranging from cosmetics and toiletries, to plastics and pesticides.Indian chemical companies have prominence in the global market. Global chemical companies present in India have benefited from many opportunities as a result of favorable factors such as skilled workers, low manufacturing cost and strong domestic demand.
The Agro-oriented chemicals like guar gum, starch, citric acid, sorbitol, yeast and others, valued at over Rs 1450 billion, apart from contributing 14% of the industrial sector’s contribution to GDP, industrial chemicals have a 10% share in the overall exports of India. It is spread over some 2000 units, mostly in the small scale sector. Nonetheless, over a third of the market is controlled by top 10 players.
Petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, synthetic fibres, fertilizers and pesticide, paints and dyestuffs constitute over 85% of the market. The remaining 15% comprises a wide range of chemical intermediate and industrial or speciality chemicals which have a market of over Rs 230 billion (including imports of about Rs 15 billion).
The chemical industry remains concentrated in the western region, with a near 48% share of investment. In the western region, Gujarat makes the largest contribution to the chemical industry’s production activity. The Indian market for petrochemicals will increase four times in the next ten years. It will witness a sustained double-digit growth rate in the coming years.India’s speciality chemicals market represents around 24% of the total chemical industry Exports of speciality chemicals from India and are poised to grow from US$4 billion in 2007 to US$13 billion in 2013, representing a growth rate of 22%.The speciality chemicals industry in India is expected to grow at a growth rate of 15%, almost double the growth of the global speciality chemicals industry.
With India being an emerging economy with high growth rates and a strong domestic demand the chemical industry in India will be one of the most booming industries in the coming years.