NITI Aayog pushes mandatory use of 25% recycled material in infra projects

Kant said there is a need to set up a nodal ministry for the material recycling industry for better regulation and growth.
Niti Aayog will recommend to the government that it mandate the use of recycled materials up to 25 per cent in large infrastructure projects, in line with the global move to promote the use of secondary products.

Speaking in a webinar organised by the Material Recycling Association of India (MRAI) on Wednesday, Amitabh Kant, chief executive officer of Niti Aayog, said: “We will recommend to the government that it should make 25 per cent use of recycled products — metals, plastics and paper — in large infrastructure projects to promote secondary products across India.”

Currently, secondary products hardly find space in large infrastructure projects because of a strong presence of primary products, which are available for the same price as secondary products. Recycled materials do not lose any physical or chemical properties and compete with primary products. Using recycled products by up to 25 per cent may reduce raw material cost of the project by at least 10-15 per cent.

Kant said there is a need to set up a nodal ministry for the material recycling industry for better regulation and growth. “The recycling industry does not get proper attention because of the absence of a parent ministry. Recycling being a wealth creator, we will extend all possible support from various ministries to the betterment of the recycling industry in India,” he added.

“Realising the value of recycling, over the last 50 years, China has become the biggest producer of metals, plastic, paper and other valuable materials and truly ‘atmanirbhar’ by importing duty-free scrap as raw material from all over the world. Now, it is our turn, but for that the recycling industry needs policy support,” said Sanjay Mehta, president, MRAI.

Unlike rest of the countries where import duty on scrap stands ‘nil’ to promote recycling, India levies 2.5 per cent customs duty on it. By contrast, finished products from Asian countries are imported at ‘zero’ duty under the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA), thus, causing an inverse duty structure for secondary producers in the country.

“The industry has been waiting for a national recycling policy for two years, and the developmental work in the industry has stopped. Promoting recycling industry would reduce our dependence on finite, non-renewable virgin natural resources, which can be saved for the future generations,” said Mehta.

Surendra Patawari, member at the World Economic Forum’s Global Plastic Action Partnership and president of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industry, believes that the recycling industry needs urgent government attention.

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