As a representative of the Indian packaging industry, below are what am looking forward to in the Union Budget
2020, which will be presented by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman
Interest rates have to be brought down for small and medium enterprises, which form the backbone of the country’s packaging industry. Low interest rates will make the industry competitive and also increase the consumption.
It has been observed that there has been irregularity from the GST committee in getting GST refunds on time. This has to be regularised. The procedure towards the compliance of GST has been highly strict and tedious. Even a small delay is severely penalised. We appeal to the government to bring in some relaxation in GST compliance procedure.
Many a times, there is a burden for the GST payer to pay on time without receiving the same from the creditor. There is some relaxation required here.
Keeping the GST rates three tier will help the industry.
The exports need to be incentivised. The government needs to encourage the industry with necessary capital subsidy for putting up a new green field facility.
We appeal to the government to increase the personal income tax slab limit, which will boost demand.
The per-capita packaging consumption in the country is still very low at 8.7 kg, in comparison to countries such as Germany (42 kg) and Taiwan (19 kg) as per a data from Indian Institute of Packaging. This is expected to grow over time with growth in per-capita consumption of FMCG items.
Today ‘sustainability’ is a hot and rightly debated topic around the world. We appeal to the government to financially incentivise flexible packaging manufacturers who make recyclable and biodegradable packaging material and promote sustainable waste management measures including the management of the post-consumer waste.
Recently, export of food products from India including fresh fruits, seafood, basmati rice and herbal products were affected due to restriction imposed by US and other western countries on account of inefficient packaging. The government was supposed to come up with new packaging norms for 500 items. The norms are the need of the hour and will prepare the industry to meet stringent overseas requirement.
As majority of the raw materials for packaging are crude based, on whose pricing the government has limited control, not much could be done about. We expect the global crude prices to stay stable throughout the year without much tension from the Middle East.
Atit Gandhi, Director, Montage Group, a leading flexible packaging manufacturer