Paper Industry in India

Paper industry is one of the core industries. It is a unique product which helps in the preservation of information and propagation of noble ideas and thoughts. In fact, the paper industry has a vital role to play in the socio-economic development of the country. It has great social and cultural significance. The per capita consumption of paper is considered as a benchmark of a country’s modernization.

Paper making in India as a cottage industry was started during the Medieval Period, but the first paper mill was set up in 1832 at Serampore (West Bengal). It, however, resulted in a failure. Subsequently, the paper mill was set up at Ballyganj (Kolkata in 1870), Lucknow (1879), Titagarh (1881), Pune (1887), and Raniganj (1891).

At present, there are more than 700 paper mills producing 7.0 million tonnes of paper and paper-board and around 1.05 million tonnes of newsprint against an estimated operational capacity of 7.5 million tonnes of paper and paper-board and 1.44 million tonnes of newsprint (2009-2010). The projected demand for paper, paperboard and newsprint is expected to touch 8.3 million tonnes by the year 2010. The per capita consumption of paper, which is the benchmark of modernisation of any country, stands at 5.5 kg for India, which is far below the global average of 50 kg.

The paper industry was delicensed and decontrolled in 1997. FDI up to 100 per cent was permitted on the automatic route. The Indian paper industry employs three lakh persons directly and ten lakh persons indirectly.

The paper and newsprint industry is highly fragmented with the installed capacity ranging from 10 tonnes to 800 tonnes per day. Indian paper industry can broadly be classified into three segments:

  1. Large integrated mills using bamboo and wood.
  2. Medium mills using agri-residue and recycled fibre.
  3. Small mills using waste paper/recycled fibres.

All the three sectors are contributing equally in the production of paper, paper-board, and newsprint in the country. The turnover of the industry is about INR 16,000 crore and it contributes INR 2500 crore to the national exchequer.

Raw Material for Paper Industry

Paper industry is essentially a raw material based industry. The raw material for the paper industry is a soft wood, bamboo, grasses, bagasse, rags, and waste paper. In India bamboo alone constitutes about 70 per cent of the raw material for the paper industry. Besides cellulosic raw material obtained from wood, the paper industry needs chemicals like caustic soda, chlorine, soda-ash, sodium-sulphate, sulphuric acid, lime, and water. Bamboo is obtained from the states of Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, North-East India, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and West Bengal.

Paper Industry in different states of India

1. Andhra Pradesh: It is the leading producer of paper contributing about 18 per cent of the total production. There are 18 paper mills in the state. The paper mills of Balharshah, Bhadrachalam, Bodhan, Khammam, Kurnool, Rajahmundry, Sirpur, and Tirupati are important.

2. West Bengal: Contributing about 11 per cent of the total production, West Bengal is the third-largest producer of paper in the country. The main paper mills are located at Alambazaar, Bansberia, Baranagar, Chandrahati, Dum Dum, Ganganagar, Howrah, kankinara, Kolkata, Naihati, Raniganj, Sheoraphuli, Titagarh, and Tribeni. Availability of raw material from the northeast, availability of coal and water, and cheap labour has helped in the location of the paper industry in West Bengal.

3. Maharashtra: The state of Maharashtra with 35 paper mills contributes about 14 per cent of the total production. The paper industry is located in Chinchwad (Pune), Goregaon, Jalgaon, Kalyan, Kamptee, Khandala, Khopoli, Paravarnagar, Sangli, and Vikhroli. Sangli and Ballarpur are famous for newsprint. The industry uses a variety of raw materials like bamboo, bagasse, rags, rice bran, and imported pulp.

4. Odisha: With over 8 per cent of the total paper production of the country, Odisha is the fourth-largest producer of paper in the country. The state has six paper mills in the state. The paper mills of Brajranagar, Chowdwar, and Rayagada are most important. The abundance of raw material and availability of coal are the main advantages which helped in the location of this industry in these areas.

5. Karnataka: The state of Karnataka contributes about 7 per cent of the total production of paper in the country. Its major paper mills are at Bangalore, Bhadravati. Belagula, Dandeli, Mandya. Nanjanguda, and Ramanagaram.

6. Gujarat: Gujarat contributes about 7 per cent of the total production of paper in the country. Its paper mills are located at Barejadi, Bavla, Gondal, Kalol, Khadi, Songarh, Utran, Arvada, Valsad, and Vapi.

7. Madhya Pradesh: There are 12 paper mills in Madhya Pradesh. These are located at Amlai ( Shahdol ), Bhopal, Dhemka, Indore, Nepanagar, Ratlam, and Vidisha. Bamboo, salai – wood, eucalyptus, and Sabai grass are the main raw materials used in paper manufacturing.

8. Tamil Nadu: There are 16 paper mills in Tamil Nadu. The main paper mills are located at Chennai, Charanmahadevi, Pallipalayam, Tambaram, Salem, and Udamalpet. The main raw material is bamboo.

9. Uttar Pradesh: There are 48 paper mills in Uttar Pradesh contributing to about 5 per cent of the total paper production of the country. The main paper mills are located at Budaun, Jagadhri, Lal-Kuan, Lucknow, Mainpuri, Meerut, Modinagar, Naini (Allahabad), and Saharanpur. The raw materials used by these factories are bamboo, Sabai grass, conifer wood, eucalyptus, wheat barn-rags, and scrap paper.

10. Bihar: In Bihar, there are 6 paper mills, located at Baruni, Dalmianagar, Dumka, Patna, Rameshwarnagar, and Samastipur.

11. Kerala: The paper mills in Kerala are located at Ernakulam, Kozhikode, Punalur, and Rayanpuram.

In addition to these, there are important paper mills at Cachar, Guwahati, Jorhat and Nagaon (Assam), and Mokokchung in Nagaland.

Despite steady progress in paper production during the planned period, India is not self-sufficient in the paper requirement. India is importing a huge quantity of paper from Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Romania, Russia, Sweden, the UK, and the USA.

India also exports some quantity of printing paper to the South-East Asian and South-West Asian countries.

Problems of Paper Industry

Some of the important problems of the paper industry are :

  • Shortage of raw material;
  • Inadequate supply of chemicals;
  • Heavy investment;
  • Strikes and lockouts;
  • Tough competition with the foreign paper producers;
  • Obsolete machinery;
  • High cost of basic inputs; and
  • Quality and environmental concern.