In its pre-budget submission, AMAI said the demand for caustic soda has been growing at 5% CAGR during the last four years and by 7% for soda ash. Domestic industry has invested heavily in setting up new capacities and technologies. However cheaper imports are meeting the demand growth leading to lower domestic utilization and loss of employment.
“The value of imported caustic soda and soda ash is in the range of Rs 3,000 crore per annum and the demand can be easily met through domestic production for which adequate capacities are available”, said Jayantibhai Patel, president AMAI.
In the case of caustic soda, imports have come to meet around 15% of the domestic demand while in case of soda ash, imports accounted for over 20% of the domestic demand in FY2018-19.
AMAI has also asked for increasing value addition within the country and impose export duty on salt, the key raw material for alkali industry. Imposition of an export duty on salt will ensure continued availability of quality salt to the domestic industry at reasonable prices. The alkali industry is the largest consumer of salt in the country.