A Publication on World Pulp, Paper & Allied Industry

April-June'2001 - Vol. 5 Issue 3



Newsprint industry gearing up to meet customer needs
Mr. V K Gupta, President, Indian Newsprint Manufacturers Association

Q. What do you think about the future of Newsprint manufacturing in India?
Ans. I am optimistic about the future of Newsprint in the country with per capita consumption of only 1 Kg, one of the lowest in the world. With improvement in literacy and the standard of living it is bound to go up from the present level.
Q. Do you think that the Newsprint Ind. will be economically viable on long term basis ?
Ans. I think so. The demand is assured. But we have to produce world class quality at competitive cost, especially in the present day globalised economy. The Government has to make available at affordable price the required basic infrastructure like power, transportation, communication and cheaper finance and the industry will invest in the latest technology and viable economic scales by itself, jointly or in collaboration with foreign capital.

Q. What do you feel about the raw material constraints for this industry ?

Ans. Raw material constraints are formidable. The forest cover having depleted, threatening ecological and environmental considerations, we have to look for alternative sources. There is scope for the setting up large size modern waste paper based newsprint mills, particularly in the coastal areas to effectively consume imported waste paper as demonstrated by south Korea and Japan. Waste paper route is eco-friendly,  cost-effective and energy-efficient.
Q. What do you think about takeover or merges of various mills ? Is merger or takeover of small mills into large mills possible ?
Ans. Yes, perhaps it is necessary, in the globalised economy we have not only to concentrate on core competence but also operate at cost effective levels by acquisition and mergers to take on the onslaught of international competition. The survival for small scale operators with outdated plants would be difficult unless they integrate into larger economical capacities wherever possible locationally and technically.
Q. What steps do you need to take with regard to quality in international scenario ?

Ans. Only quality survives in a competitive market. I do not foresee any future for those who could not produce stocks comparable to global standards ensuring fullest consumer satisfaction.

Q. Since major Newsprint mills are in state or central sector, do you think that the government can provide financial assistance for their growth in future ?
Ans. The Government policy is clear for the newsprint industry. It is neither considered infrastructural  nor core and, therefore, investment is ruled out barring some balancing equipments for optimal operations. In fact, the Union Government is in a hurry to disinvest. State Governments are bound to follow suit in respect of units under their domain. The finance infusion is possible only from the private or institutional sources either locally or from abroad.
Q. What type of pressure do you feel from your customer, especially the media which is quite powerful ?
Ans. Pressure on quality and low basis weight newsprint exists, besides timely deliveries. Price is another important factor. INMA, in the recent past, in association with INS, is striving to have better understanding in business relationship with their customers by having periodical dialogue to fully understand their specific needs, problems and how best to serve them for mutual benefit.

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