Federation of Indian Granite and Stone Industry (FIGSI) , an association to promote the Natural Stones of India domestically and internationally, has presented a charter and discussed on ‘Challenges and opportunities of Dimensional Stone Industry’ with the Govt. of Karnataka in the presence of government officials from the department of Mines, Revenue and Environment.
The body had organized a seminar for the same on 24th November, 2021 at ITC Windsor. This interactive session was organized to find solutions to issues to bring back the industry on the growth path.
Hon’ble Minister for Mines and Geology, Achar Halappa Basappa said, ” Karnataka is endowed with rich Mineral Resources and blessed with different kind of world famous granite stones. Jet Black Granite, Himalayan Blue, Likal Pink, Green Granite, Gray Granite and Multicolour granite are important rocks which are used for decorative purpose all over the world.”
“I am hopeful that this seminar will be helpful in resolving the difficulties faced by the Granite Industry and this Industry will create more employment opportunities and play a vital role in enhancing the State’s revenue. If there is a need to resolve any issues in procedural aspects, Government will take necessary steps to simplify the procedures and ease difficulties, if any to avoid unnecessary delay, ” added Mr. Achar Halappa Basappa.
“India is the second largest deposit of Natural Stones in the world with 15% of the world Natural Stone reserves which is about 46.23 billion cubic meters. India also stands in 4th position in the Natural Stone trade in the world. The total number of people employed in the Natural Stone trade in India is about 1.5 million. Considering all these benefits from the Natural Stone Industry. FIGSI seeks support from the state government to promote and give fillip to the stone industry,” said Ishwinder Singh, President, Federation of Indian Granite and Stone Industry.
Due to constant effort of FIGSI, there has been huge development in mining and processing sector. Today stone industry is exporting about 80% in the form of finished goods after value addition. Now the Indian Industry has acquired the state of the Art of Technology which is at par with other countries and our products are well accepted all over the world and are being used in many big projects. India is exporting to more than 90 countries across the globe.
Addressing the officials, S. Krishna Prasad, General Secretar, FIGSI said , “The need of the hour is to allow free import of Granite also under OGL to mitigate the problem of shortage of raw material. Due to the closure of most of the quarries in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka as per the State Government policy decisions, the processing units are importing marble under OGL and EOU’S are importing both marble and granite blocks to overcome the shortage of supplies.”
The FIGSI also sought simplification of the environment clearance certificate procedure. “Environmental protection is now mandatory for every quarrying activity since we have to obtain an Environmental clearance certificate and have to follow the conditions laid down in the E/C. We request the government to simplify the procedure to obtain environment clearance,” added Ishwinder Singh.
The following points were discussed with the state government in association with the state federation FKGQSI . The processing sector has developed very well in the last 10 years. The processing units have been setup in almost all the districts where quarrying activities takes place, since it is easy to procure the raw material. Today, India is exporting more than 80% of the stone products in value added form to more than 90 countries all over the world.
POLICY SUPPORT FROM GOVERNMENT WHICH THE INDUSTRY REQUIRES
Long term quarry lease ranging from 30-50 years with guaranteed renewals instead of auctioning the quarries.Royalties to be reduced to match with global rates of 3 to 4 %Grant of quarry leases in a time bound manner within 90-120 days.Import of granite blocks to be brought under OGL. (open general license)Reduce GST to 5% on blocks & 12% on slabs & Tiles.Royalty collection to be outsourced to avoid illegal transport of blocks.Environment clearance condition to be simplified.Recovery percentage for saleable blocks to be rationalized.
Competition from other countries like China, Turkey, Brazil, Iran etc.
Competition from other similar products like quartz, ceramic, porcelain, glass etc.
With policy support, the industry can grow 10-15% annually.
Increase exports by 15-20%.Investment can go up to Rs.1 lakh crores from Present Rs.50,000 crores
Provide employment to additional 15 lakh skilled and semiskilled people in rural & semi urban areas.
Over a period of time natural stone will prove that they are superior compared to other competitive products.
Few visionaries of the stone industry, taking note of the potential of the Natural stone industry of India domestically and internationally joined together and formed the association way back in 1983 to promote the Natural Stones of India. From 1-4-2014 the Association was renamed as Federation of Indian Granite and Stone Industry (FIGSI).The sole object of the Association is to promote stones of India across the globe and also to resolve many domestic problems faced by the mining industry. FIGSI has more than 1300 members from all the sector of the Natural Stone Industry of India whether it is Granite, Marble, Slate, Sandstone Quartzite etc., Machinery, Abrasives, Tools and all the segment of the Industry directly and indirectly connected with the Natural Industry from all over India are our members. FIGSI works as a bridge between the Industry and the state and Central Governments.
FIGSI has played a significant role in framing the Granite Conservation and Development Rules (GCDR-1999) by Ministry of Mines Government of India for promotion of Granite industry in the country. Each state was following their own rules and FIGSI felt the necessity to bring uniform rules in the country. GCDR 1999 was the first step to bring the uniform policy for the granite industry in the country. It is unfortunate that in spite of FIGSI’s effort to bring uniform policy many states are still not following the GCDR rules, due to which the growth of the granite industry has been slow. Now the government is in the process of amending the GCDR with latest modification.