Essay on the Chemical Industry in India

It is the fourth largest industry in size next to iron and steel, textile and engineering industries. This industry has witnessed rapid growth both in organic and inorganic chemical industries. This industry is responsible for producing a wide range of products like fertilisers, drugs, dye, stilts, pesticides, paints and plastic etc.

It is highly technology oriented industry and therefore a lot of emphasis is laid on research and development the industry produces raw material for a number of other industries as well as large number of capital and consumer goods. The Indian Chemical Industry ranks 12th by volume in the world production of chemicals. The Industry’s current turnover is about US $ 30 billion which is 14 per cent of the total manufacturing output in the country.

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In terms of consumption, the chemical industry is its own largest customer and accounts for approximately 33 per cent of the consumption. The industry faces many challenges in the liberalized economy. Drastic reduction in import duties from more than 150 per cent to the present level of 30 per cent has made the market extremely competitive. Setting up of massive capacities by multinational companies in Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan have only made the competition more cut throat.

Chemical industry may be divided into two categories: (i) Heavy Chemical Industry (ii) Fine Chemical Industry. Heavy Chemical Industry can further be sub-divided into: (i) Heavy Inorganic Chemicals and (ii) Heavy Organic Chemicals.

Heavy Inorganic Chemicals:

The heavy chemical industry produces chemicals like sulphuric acid, caustic soda and soda ash. This is a basic or key industry on which depend a variety of other industries like the paper, fertilizer, textile, paint industries.

The production of sulphuric acid is considered a reliable index of the country’s state of industrialization. Heavy chemicals manufacture products like common acids, alkalis, alcohol, caustic soda, salt, chemical fertilizer, sulphuric, hydrochloric and nitric acids, phosphates, ammonium sulphates and plastic raw materials. The important centres for the manufacture of heavy chemicals are Kolkata, Mumbai, Kanpur, Delhi, and Amritsar. Chennai and Bangalore. India is lacking in sulphur which is the raw material for

Sulphuric Acid:

It is important of all the chemicals and is largely used in leather tanning, textile finishing, and oil refining, for ordnance requirements, in the production of explosives and cleaning of brass. Other uses of sulphuric acid are in fertilizer, dyes and intermediates, explosives, synthetic fibres and plastics. More than 86% of the capacity is based on elemental sulphur which is imported and hence the industry is concentrated near sea ports.

In the beginning of 20th century this industry was established in Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai and Jamshedpur. Mostly the factories are set up in Maharashtra, West Bengal, Gujarat, and Tamil Nadu. Even though there has been tremendous increase in the production of sulphuric acid, but these have not been able to meet the domestic requirements.

The leading sulphuric acid producing companies include : M/s Dharamsi Morarji Chemical Co, Mumbai; Hindustan Zinc Ltd, Debari; Hindustan Copper, Khetri; Gujarat State Feritlizers and Chemicals, Vadodra; Nirma Ltd, Ahmedabad : and Jay Shree Tea & Industries, Calcutta.

Caustic Soda:

The first plant of caustic soda production was set up in 1936 at Methur (Tamil Nadu). The industry has grown steadily since then and there are around 40 units producing caustic soda in India at present.

It is mainly used in industries like soap, textile, paper, oil refining. Before independence there was not much production of caustic soda, but after independence during planning era a number of units were set up at Kolkata, Nagpur, Ahmedabad, Porbandar, Rishra, Delhi, Durgapur, Titagarh, and Kota etc. Caustic soda is a basic inorganic chemical used in the manufacture of pulp and paper, viscose rayon, aluminium metal, textiles, vanaspati and other chemicals.

A significant quantity is used in the manufacture of other inorganic chemicals and dye stuffs, in metallurgical operations and in petroleum refining. It’s by-product chlorine, is another important chemical used in water treatment, paper and pulp, soap and detergents, textiles and a variety of other industries.

Since the industry is highly power intensive, cost of power constituting more than 2/3rd of the production cost, the future of this industry depends on the availability of power at reasonable cost. Many units for this reason have captive power plants and most others running into rough weather due to the increase in SEB’s new higher power tariffs.

Soda Ash:

The first soda ash plant was setup at Dharngadhra in Gujarat in 1932. Soda ash is the basic chemi­cal used in a large number of industries especially in glass, soap and detergents, textile and paper industries. The production of soda ash has also increased tremendously since 1950-51. The term fine chemicals are applied usually to substance, such as photographic materials, drugs and pharma­ceutical products, paints, pigments and varnishes and dyestuffs.


Among the allied chemicals, calcium carbonate, potassium chlorate, hydrogen peroxide, borax, sodium thiosulphate and aluminium chloride are important ones produced in the country. The new chemicals manufactured for the first time in the country in the 1970s include fluoro carbon refrigerant gases, electrolytic manganese dioxide, phosphamidon sulpha methisine and dimethyliniline.

A major chemical complex has been erected by the Gujarat Alkalies and Chemicals in collaboration with Friedrich under of Germany near Baroda. It has an annual production capacity of 37,425 tonnes of caustic soda, 33,000 tonnes of chlorine and 6,000 tonnes of hydrochloric acid. The GSFC promotes and serves as a catalyst to the complex. The plant has the benefit of proximity to major consumers like the GSFC, Baroda Rayon Corporation and several other chlorine based units as well as textile mills.


Making of medicines is an old industry in the country. The drugs and pharmaceuticals industry is growing very fast since independence. A milestone was established in the history of pharmaceutical industry when pencillin factory manufacturing Antibiotics was set at Pimpil (near Pune) in the early 1960s and also Indian Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (IDPL) plants at Rishikesh and Hyderabad was established. These industries have developed the base for the industry.

Indian Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Ltd. has a number of plants at Mumbai, Baroda, and Chennai. Delhi. Kolkata and Kanpur and a number of units are engaged in this industry of vital importance. There are about 5000 small scale sector units besides about 300 large scale units in the country. There is large scale collaboration by Indian companies with foreign company of UK, USA and Germany.

The companies under the public sector units are (I) Indian Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (2) Hindustan Antibiotic Ltd. (HAL) (3) Bengal Chemical and Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (BCLPL) (4) Smith Stanistreet Pharmaceutical Ltd. (SSPL) and (5) Bengal Immunity Ltd. (BIL). More than 30 per cent production of bulk drugs comes from the small scale units. Although India has started manufacturing all sorts of life saving drugs even then she has to import many drugs from other countries.

The Indian Drug and Pharmaceuticals industry ranks fourth in worldwide accounting for 8 per cent of world production by volume and 1.5 percent by value. India ranks 17th in terms of export value of bulk actives and doses drugs. lt exports drugs to about 200 countries including the highly regulated markets of Europe, USA, Japan and Australia.


Agriculture at present makes use of large quantities of pesticides along with chemical fertiliser. The industry is divided into 67 large units (ten of them multinational companies) in the organised sector which takes care of all the requirement of technical grade and over 400 SSI units. The only PSU in the sector is Hindustan Insecticide Limited (HIL) with three units.

A number of plants are engaged in the production of pesticides in the country of which the most important company is the Hindustan Insecticides Ltd. with plants at Delhi and Alwaye (Kerala).

The per capita consumption of pesticides in India is low in comparison to other countries. It is only 0.45 kg per ha as compared to 13.35 kg per ha in Italy, 9.18 kg per ha in Japan, 6.56 kg per ha in South Korea and 0.58 kg per ha in United States. However India ranks 12th in agro- pesticides globally and second in Asia alone. The demand of various types of pesticides in the country is of the order of 43,380 mt. (technical grade). Insecticides accounts for 76% of the total domestic market.

The Fertilizer Industry:

India is predominantly an agricultural nation. For a good yield of crops it is important for the soil to be fed regularly with additional nutrients like nitrogen, phosphate and potash. Every tonne of nutrient fertilizer increases the yield by about 10 tonnes of food grains.

The annual consumption of fertilizer is a good indicator of the country’s performance in crop production. This need for fertilizers has been largely responsible for making the manufacture of fertilizers the largest sector in the Indian Chemical Industry.

The raw materials for this industry are gypsum, pyrite, coal (from ammonia gas), slag from blast furnaces and naphtha (residual product of petroleum refining). Of the four nutrients Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P), Potash (K) and Sulphur (S) ore lost through crops. Indian industry caters to the requirement of the three: N, P and S. There is no conversion activity involved in the case of K except trading or mixing in the final stage of fertiliser prodution.

As a result of India’s growing need for fertilizers, fertilizer factories have been set up in almost every State. The first fertiliser plant in India was set up at Ranipet in Tamil Nadu in 1906. The real growth of the industry began with the establishment of a plant at Sindri by the Fertiliser Corporation of India (FCI) in 1951. The increased demand of fertiliser, as a result of Green Revolution, led to the spread of this industry in several parts of India.

Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Kerala produce more than half of the total fertiliser production in India. Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan Bihar, Maharashtra, Assam, West Bengal, Goa, Delhi. Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka are other important producers. Because of easy availability of natural gas the fertiliser industry is widely spread in the country. India produces about 11 million tonnes of nitrogenous, 4 million tonnes of phosphatic and 1.7 million tonnes of potassic fertilisers.

The country is required to Import potassium from abroad. Six decades of planning and development of the fertilizer industry have brought India to the frontline of fertilizer producing countries. India today is the third largest producer of nitrogenous fertilizers in the world.

At present, there are 56 large size fertilizers units in the country manufacturing a wide range of nitrogenous, phosphate and complex fertilizers out of these 30 units produce urea, 21 units produce DAP and complex fertilizers. The production of fertilizer during 2009-10 was 119.00 lakh MT of Nitrogen and 43.21 lakh MT of phosphate. The production Target for 2010-11 was 125.16 lakh MT of Nitrogen and 48.70 lakh MT phosphate.

Fertilizers Production:


The state has 9 units, 5 of which are located at Trombay, and one each at Ambarnath, Loni- Kalbhor and Thai Vaishet. The RCF’s units at Trombay have seen several massive expansions. The Maharashtra Agro Industries Development Corporation’s phosphoric acid plants at Rasayani and Pachora were completed in the 1980s. Terminal facilities to facilitate the import of ammonia were commissioned in 1974.

The huge public sector complex of Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers,-based on free and associated gas from Bombay High at That (Kolaba district) comprises 2 ammonia and 3 urea plants and a captive thermal power plant. It produces 8.9 lakh tonnes of ammonia and 14.8 lakh tonnes of urea/year.

Tamil Nadu:

The state is an important producer of fertilizers. About 75% of its installed capacity is for nitrogenous fertilizers and the remaining for phosphatic fertilizers. The units are located at Neyveli, Ranipet, Tuticorin, Ennore, Coimbatore, Cuddalore, Avad and Manali. The first 4 produce both the types and the other 4 only phosphatic fertilizers.

Uttar Pradesh:

The state produces mostly phosphatic fertilizers. The units are at Gorakhpur, Magarwara, Varanasi, Jagdishpur, Phulpur, Aonla, Shahjahanpur, Babrala and Kanpur.

The FCI’s unit at Gorakhpur has been expanded to produce 1.3 lakh tonnes and the IFFCO’s ammonia urea complex at Phulpur has an installed capacity of 9.5 lakh tonnes.


Kerala has 3 large units of fertilizers located at Alwaye and Cochin producing both nitrogenous and phosphatic fertilizers. Their installed capacity is about 8 lakh tonnes/year. The phase II Expansion of the Cochin Plant was completed in 1980 and of the Always unit in 1998.

Andhra Pradesh:

The state has over 10 lakh tonnes installed capacity, about 75% of which is for nitrogenous fertilizers. Only the Visakhapatnam unit produces both the types; all the other 4 units at Maula Ali (Hyderabad), Tadepalli, Tanuku, Nidadavole and Kakinada produce only nitrogenous.

The construction of the FCI’s coal based unit at Ramagundem and the expansion of the Visakhapatnam unit were completed in 1980 and NFC’s Kakinada plant was commissioned in 1997. With these the state’s installed capacity has increased substantially.


The state produces only nitrogenous fertilizers. There are 2 units, one each at Rourkela (SAIL) and Taleher (FCI). A new plant with 1.2 lakh tonnes capacity has been sanctioned at Paradeep.


The Shriram Chemical’s plant at Kota alone accounts for 57% of the state’s capacity. It produces only nitrogenous fertilizers from naphtha. The HZL’s unit at Debari is an adjunct to the zinc smelter utilising sulphuric acid produced by the latter, while HCL has an adjunct at Khetri. The CFCL’s urea plant at Gadepan was commissioned in 1997. The setting up of 2 new plants based on local rock phosphates and pyrites at Saladipur (Sikar district) and Chittorgarh are under active consideration.


The state has 5 units and accounts for about 5 lakh tonnes installed capacity The Sindri, Barauni and Jamshedpur plants produce only nitrogenous fertilizers, while the state owned Dhanbad unit and the PPCL unit at Amjhore produce only phosphates.


The state with over 35? lakh tonnes capacity/year is a leading producer of fertilizer. The GSFC unit at Vadodra and the IFFCO unit at Kalol produce both types; all the other units at Vadodra (Alembic Chemicals), Broach, Udhna, Kandla and Bhavnagar produce only phosphates. Kandla’s capacity is being raised to 10 lakh tonnes. KRIBHCO’s Hazira unit is the largest producer in the state.


In Punjab, the NFL has 3 units, 2 at Nangal and one at Bhatinda. All produce nitrogenous fertilizers. Assam has 2 units, one each at Namrup and Chanderpur. Namrup will have one more plant based on ammonia from natural gas. West Bengal has 4 small units – at Burnpur, Durgapur (SAIL), Haldia (Hindustan Lever Ltd), Rishra and Khardah. Madhya Pradesh has 4 units one each at Bhilai, Kumhari, Korba, and Bijaipur.

The DCM plant in Delhi produces only phosphates. Karnataka has 3 units located at Mangalore, Belagola and Munirabad. Goa has only one unit under private sector with a capacity of 1.75 lakh tonnes of nitrogen at Sancoale (near Vasco). A new plant with an annual production capacity of 2.35 lakh tonnes has been erected by the IFFCO at Panipat (Haryana).

Heavy Organic Chemicals:


Petrochemicals are those chemicals and compounds which are derived from petroleum resources. These chemicals are used for manufacturing a large variety of articles such as synthetic fibres, synthetic rubber, ferrous and non-ferrous metals, plastics, dye-stuffs, insecticides, drugs and pharmaceuticals.

This is one of the fastest growing sectors in Indian economy. This sector’s yearly output is approximately Rs. 1, 20,000 crore which is 15 per cent of the manufacturing sector’s output compared to about 10 per cent in the chemical industry and 8 per cent of industrial sector.

This group of industries is growing very fast in India. A variety of products come under this category of industries. In 1960s demand of organic chemicals increased so fast that it became difficult to meet them by chemicals prepared from alcohol, calcium carbide, and coal.

At the same time, petroleum refining industry expanded rapidly. Many things are derived from crude petroleum, which provide raw materials to several new industries; these are collectively known as petrochemical industries.

This group of industries is divisible into four sub-groups: (I) polymers, (ii) synthetic fibres, (iii) elastomers, and (iv) surfactant intermediate. Mumbai is the hub of petrochemical industries. Cracker units are also located in Auraiya (Uttar Pradesh), Jamnagar, Gandhar, Hazira (Gujarat) Nagothane, Ratnagiri (Maharashtra), Haldia (West Bengal) and Vishakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh).

Following are the important plants associated with the production of petrochemicals in the country.

1. Union Carbide India Ltd.:

This is the first petrochemical complex established at Trombay in 1966 with annual capacity of 60,000 tons naphtha cracker. It has capacity of producing 11,000 tons of petro­chemical products like polyethylene, butyl alcohol, acetic acid, ethyl acetate, ethyl hex anal and dactyl phthalate.

2. Herdillia Chemicals Ltd.:

This plant was commissioned at Chennai in collaboration with the Distillers Co. Ltd. of U.K., and Hercules Powder Co. of U.S.A. It produces intermediate products for nylon; phenols are resins, acetate rayons, solvents, plastics, plasticizers, P.V.C. etc.

3. National Organic Chemicals Industries Ltd.:

It has been set up by Mafatlala at Thane (near Mumbai) in 1968. It is an integrated plant using latest technology and highly mechanised and auto-matic process for its working. The plant has naphtha cracking capacity of 225,000 tons to produce ethylene, propylene, benzene, butadiene, ethylene oxide, polythylene glycol, ethylene dichloride, V.C., P.V.C., is opropanol and 2-thyl-rexanol.

4. Indian Petro-chemical Corporation Ltd.:

It is a public sector undertaking incorporated in March 1969 at Jawaharnagar (near Vadodara). It is responsible for the manufacture and distribution of various petrochemicals like polymers, synthetic organic chemicals, fibers and fiber intermediates. The plant consists of a number of units like aromatic plant, DMT plant, naphtha cracker and polymer plants. It annually produces 24,000 tons of DMT (21,000 tons of orthosylene and 2,500 tons of mixed xylene.

The naphtha cracker plant manufactures 18,000 tons of butadiene, 130,000 tons of ethylene, 71,000 tons of propylene and 24,000 tons of benzene. The plant mainly draws its raw materials from the Gujarat refinery.

5. The Bongaigaon Petrochemicals Ltd.:

It is the second public sector unit-set up at Bongaigaon (Assam) as an adjunct to the one million tone Bongaigaon refinery. The complex envisages manufacture of 30,000 tons of polyester fiber, and 10,550 tons of ortho-xylene. The complex draws its raw materials from the Bongaigaon and Noonmati refineries.

6. The Petrofils Co-operative Limited (PCL):

It is a joint venture of the Government of India and Weavers’ Co-operative Societies whose three plants are located at Vadodara and Naldhari in Gujarat. The spandex plant at Naldhari manufactures spandex yarn for the first time in the country which is utilised in making swimming suits, underwear garments, etc. due to its elastic properties. The plant also produces polyester filament yarn and nylon chips.

7. The Reliance Industries, Hazira:

The installation of a 7.5 lakh tons a year cracker complex of Reliance Industries at Hazira has brought the country very close to self-sufficiency in petrochemical building blocks.

8. Others:

Petrochemical complexes have also been set up at Koyali, Haldia, Barauni, Jamnagar, Auraiya, Gandhar, Vishakhapatnam, Tengaghat (Assam), Payal (near Ludhiana), Mangalore etc. The estimated total investment in all these projects is around Rs. 50,000 crores.

The industry has also been delicensed under the liberalization programme as a result of which multinationals like Dow Chemical’s (USA), Mitsubishi (Japan) and BP -(UK) etc are showing interest. In due course, the fight will be between the MNCs on one hand and domestic players led by RIL and IPCL on the other.

Cement Industry:

After steel, cement is the next most essential material for construction. The consumption of cement indicates the economic development of the country, as it reflects the construction activities in the country. Higher consumption indicates greater construction activities which mean that the country is developing rapidly.

The first cement factory was set up at Chennai in 1904. The cement industry comprised of 171 large cement plants with an installed capacity of 293.04 million tonnes and more than 350 mini cement plants with an estimated capacity of 11.10 million tonnes per annunm for a total installed capacity of 304.14 million tonnes as on 30.11.2011.

The raw materials needed for this industry are limestone, gypsum, clay and coal. All these are bulky commodities required in large quantities and therefore involve high cost of transport. Every tonne of cement produced needs one and a half tonnes of limestone as raw material. In recent years slag from steel plants and sludge from fertilizer plants are being used as a substitute for limestone.

Cement is essential for building houses, factories, roads and dams. Manufacturing of cement requires heavy materials like limestone, silica, alumina and gypsum, and hence, this is a raw material-oriented industry. Coal and electric power are its other requirements. The first cement plant was set up at Chennai in 1904.

The industry expanded mainly after independence. The cement industry in India is by and large self-sufficient both in raw material availability and process technology as well as indigenous sources of plant and machinery. It has a high capacity utilisation and contributes to 6 per cent of the world production. The industry employs 1, 35,000 people while creating a substantially higher proportion of indirect employment through machinery manufacture, material and services.

As on March, 2003, there are 124 large and over 300 mini cement plants in the country. They together have an installed capacity of 151.32 million tonnes of cement per annum. India produces a variety of cement, they are of good quality, and hence, have a ready market in south and East Asia. The annual production of cement in the country at present is 116.35 million tonnes with a growth rate of 8.84 per cent.

Manufacturing Processes:

For the manufacture of Portland cement, limestone is cleaned of all foreign matter and ground into a fine powder by using 30-40% water, if the rock material already contains up to 10% moisture; but if it is dry, no water is added These methods are referred to as wet and dry processes respectively.

Whereas the first requires large quantities of water, the Second needs more amount of power. The ground matter is roasted in rotary kilns at temperatures up to 2500°-3000°C to fuse and form lime-stone into clinkers which are ground once again by adding small quantities of gypsum so as to retard the rate of setting or hardening.

Problems of the Cement Industry:

1. Sources of raw material are not located at convenient places and so the centres of consumption are far from the centres of production.

2. Cost of transport is high as the raw material as well as the finished product is bulky.

3. Prices controlled by the government are too low and the cost of production is high, therefore production is not profitable. This causes cement shortage and spiralling prices.

Glass Industry:

Indians are known to have acquired the knowledge of making glass since time immemorial. Glass industry came into being in India in 16th century when items like bangles, small bottles and flasks were made. By 17th century, enam ailed glass was produced at a number of places in Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh.

Although glass industry on modern lines was started in the 19th century, the real growth started only after 1932. The first successful organised glass factory was set up in 1941. The industry underwent large scale modernisation after Independence. Glass industry is a delicenced Industry. Glass industry covers items such as flat, Glass, hollow-were containers, vacuum, flasks, refills, laboratory, glassware and other items such as bangles beads pearls etc.

The production of glass sheet. Toughened glass, fiber, Glass, Glass bottles during 2011-12, respectively 79812.61 thousand sqmtrs. 2003775.31 Sq Mtrs. 32206.28 tonnes and 942669.32 tonnes.

Raw Materials:

Sand, silica, soda ash, feldspar and limestone are the basic raw materials required by the industry; silica, basic acids, dolomite, barium oxide, sulphur and copper are used in small quantities. All these are produced indigenously; only some quantities of soda ash are imported.


Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu are the main glass producing states and contribute the bulk of production.

Uttar Pradesh:

Firozabad in Agra district is the largest producer having as many as 100 small factories. The other major centres of glass production are Bahjoi, Naini, Hiranagau, Shikohabad, Hathras, Sasni, Allahabad and Jaunpur.

Uttar Pradesh has the advantage of locally available raw materials and ready market for glass and glass products. Skilled glass workers known as shisgars of Firozabad have been engaged in the process of glass making for several generations and provide cheap and skilled labour for this purpose. Only coal has to be transported from Bihar and West Bengal.

West Bengal:

The state has 34 factories located at different places like Calcutta, Haora, Raniganj, Belgachiya, Beigharia, Belur, Sitarampur, Rishra, Durgapur and Asansol. Pure sand of high quality is available from the white Damudas sandstones at Mangalbat and Patharghata. Sand is also obtained from Bargarh and Lohagra near Allahabad. Good quality coal is obtained from the nearby coalfields at Jharia and Raniganj. Good market is readily available in the Hugli industrial region.


The state has 22 factories. Main centres of glass industry are Mumbai, Talegaon (Pune), Satara, Nagpur and Kolhapur. The industry specializes in bottles, shells, flasks, lampware, beakers and sheet glass.

The other producers are Gujarat (Bharuch Vadodara, Morvi and Panchmahal), Tamil Nadu (Salem, Chennai, Coimbatore), Bihar (Kandra Bhawaninagar, Patna, Jamshedpur, Kahalgaon), Rajasthan (Dhaulpur and Jaipur), Haryana, (Ambala and Faridabad), Andhra Pradesh (Warrangal and Hyderabad), Delhi (Shahdara), Punjab (Amritsar), Kerala (Alwaye), Orissa (Barang, Cuttack), Madhya Pradesh (Jabalpur, Gondia), Assam (Guwahati) and Karnataka (Bangalore).

Types of Glass Products:

Sheet Glass:

Various sizes and shades of sheet, wired and figured glasses are being manufactured by modern processes such as the Forcault Process and Pittsburg System. Its production is steadily increasing, particularly the thicker varieties, which are used for mirror making, safety glass, table tops and various other industrial applications.

Float Glass:

Upto 1992, only sheet glass was manufactured in India and float glass was imported in limited quantities. The first float glass unit was set up in India in 1993. Between 1993 and 1996, the demand for float glass increased at 10-12% annually. The industry has a bright future in view of the low per capita consumption of only 0.4 kg in India compared to 2.5 kg in Indonesia and 3.5 kg in China. At present sheet and float glass both are exported to South Asia, South East Asia, South and East Africa.

Container ware:

There are 9 large factories having 54 fully automatic glass container forming machines. They cater to the demands of the pharmaceutical, dairy, beverage, food preserving, chemicals, dyes and cosmetics industries. Glass vials, small bottles and vacuum flasks are already available for export. The present installed capacity in automatic machine made bottle sector is 14.66 lakh tonnes.

Glass Shells:

The first glass shell factory was started in 1938 near Calcutta for an electric lamp manufacturing unit. As glass shells, glass tubes and .rods comprise about 90% of the raw materials required for lamp making, and the demand for these was continuously rising, several glass shell factories were started in Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Calcutta and Shikohabad. The present installed capacity is 40 crore of shells.

Vacuum Flask and Refills:

There are at present 8 manufacturing units in the country. Their installed capacity is 36 million pieces. The vacuum flask and refill units operate in small ovens and use mouth blowing technique. About 30% of the total production is exported to the US, the UK, Germany, etc.

Laboratory/Science Related Glassware:

The laboratory glassware including neutral glass, tubing, laboratory glassware and chemical components, etc. are produced in 6 units with an installed capacity of 40,000 tonnes for tubing. Small quantities of neutral tubes are imported. Neutral tubes are being replaced by plastics which have affected the demand.

Ceramic Industry:

The excavations of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa have revealed that ceramics were extensively used in India during the prehistoric times. The first ceramic factory in the country, however, was started at Patharghatta (Bihar) in 1860; Glazed tiles were for the first time produced in the country in the same year.

The discovery of China clay deposits at various places added a new dimension to the growth of the industry and a number of factories came up in Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, Kerala, Gujarat and Karnataka. The industry had a boom during World War II.

Clay, Feldspar, quartz and hydrated gypsum are the major raw materials of ceramics industry. Producing of tableware in the form of stone utensils, semiglass ware and earthenware and related items namely, dinner sets, tea sets, cups and plates, jars, etc. is reserved for the small scale industry. Ceramic industry produces a wide range of products, the outstanding being sanitary wares, porcelin wares, stoneware, enamel ware, tiles, crockery, insulators, etc.

These products are used for a variety of purposes such as generation and transmission of power, construction of modern buildings, engineering, electronics, etc. At present, there are above 160 units in the organised sector with an installed capacity of 21, 00, 00 mt manufacturing different items, this accounts for 2.5 per cent of world ceramic production.

The important centres are Kolkata, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Delhi, Wankaner, Thanagarh, Ranipet, Rupnarainpur, Jabalpur, Nazarbagh, Gwalior, Jaipur, etc. Indian ceramic products are some of the best so far as their quality, shape, design and colour are concerned and are easily accepted in the international market.

The main buyers of Indian ceramic goods are Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Sudan, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, etc. India also imports ceramic products from some European and Asian countries like China, Japan, U.K., Germany, the Netherlands, Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Dye Stuffs:

The Dyestuff sector is one of the important segments of chemical industry in India, having forward and backward linkages with a variety of sectors like textiles, leather, paper, plastics, printing inks and foodstuffs. The textile industry accounts for the largest consumption of dye stuffs at nearly 70%.

From being importers and distributors in the 1950s, it has now emerged as a very strong industry and major foreign exchange earner. India has emerged as a global supplier of dyestuff and dyes intermediates, particularly for reactive acid, vat and direct dyes. India accounts for 6 per cent of the global production of dyes.