CONNECTING THE ENTIRE STONE INDUSTRY OF THE WORLD
STONA 2014 – the 11th International Granites and Stone fair aims to project the Indian Stone Industry before the entire world. It show cases the numerous varieties of Indian Stone whether it is Granite, Marble, slate, Quartizite etc. Even the Machinery, tools, abrasives, chemicals and all other items connected directly or indirectly with the Stone Industry will be on display.
WHAT IS STONA.
During 1987 few visionaries and senior members of the Industry felt the necessity of having a Stone fair to project the Indian stone all over the world. This was the first ever Stone fair held in entire Asia. The export of Indian Granite was about Rs. 50 crores at that time, consisting mainly of Dimensional Blocks. Now after 10 editions of the STONA fairs, the stone industry has grown and our exports has crossed Rs.9000 crores by end of 2013. This shows how the Stona International fair is helping the industry grow rapidly.
Exhibitions and trade fairs helps every country to project their own products so that the consumers will be in a position to decide what they require according to their Taste and Choice.
Present STONA 2014
STONA 2014 is a B2 B international Exhibition held in the Bangalore International exhibition Centre, Bangalore from 12th to 15th February 2014. STONA is a well established brand name in the International community all over the world.
The fair focuses on the wide range of Stone products from all over India, Granite, Marble, Slate, Sandstone, quartzite etc will be exhibited in the form of Slabs, tiles, monuments,
Artefacts, coble stone, garden items etc. Apart from the above all the machinery and tools and abrasives, are also displayed. Exhibitors from All over India and abroad are participating in the fair.
The STONA 2014 fair is held with a stall area of 22,000 sq mts with around 600 exhibitors from all over the world.
We are having country pavilion from China, Turkey and Italy and other overseas exhibitors from Vietnam, Spain, Russia, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine etc.
Exhibitors from all over India are also participating in the fair.
Latest Technology in processing and mining machine, tools and abrasives, CNC machines will be on display.
Promotions of the fair: AIGSA has promoted the STONA 2014 fair all over the world by deputing delegations to various Stone fairs across the world. The delegation has participated in the stone fairs held at China, USA, Germany, Russia, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Turkey, Malaysia, Tanzania etc. The delegation has interacted with the Industry in all the fairs and invited them to visit STONA fair.
Further, a Special delegation was deputed to African countries to interact with various buyers and Associations and they were invited to visit STONA 2014. This has yielded very good result and a big delegation is expected from this region.
Government Participation: In STONA 2014, we are having participation from State Government Departments like GSI, IBM, MML, GMDC, APMDC, TAMIN etc along with the majority of department of Mines and Geology from various State Governments are taking part in the STONA 2014.
Visitors Profile: The fair will be attended by leading players in the Stone Industry and related to Stone Industry from India and abroad. It may be buyers, builders, Architects, Traders, interior decorators, and end users. This will be a platform where in each and every item related to stone industry will be on display under one roof.
In the course of the fair we will be conducting two seminars:
Geology and Mining: This seminar is to focus on the quarrying and mining industry of India. Geologist and government department people from IBM, GSI NIRM, and department of Mines and geology from all the states will be participating and presenting their paper. Even issues pertaining to Environment, ecology, mines safety etc will be deliberated in the Seminar.
Architect Seminar: This seminar is held for the benefit of the budding architect to educate them about the use of the Dimensional stones in construction activity and various other applications. The seminar will be addressed by renowned architects from India and abroad. We will be inviting the students from many leading Engineering colleges to attend the seminar to get themselves updated about the development in the use of natural stones.
Other Attraction of Fair: One of the main attraction of the fair is Shilp Gram, the artisans Skill Development promotion programme of the AIGSA. To encourage the rural artisans who are not getting proper exposure, the Association is inviting them by providing all the facility like Free stall, stay, ticket, transport of material etc and they perform the live demo of their skill in front of the visitors. We are happy to inform that many of the artisans who got exposure in the earlier stona fairs are now entrepreneurs and exporters by themselves.
About Organisers: AIGSA was formed in 1983 by few seniors and visionaries like Sri. R. Veeramani, Sri. Vinay Poddar, Sri. Y.R. Shah, Sri. S. Subbarao, Sri. Munavar Basha and others. The sole object of the Association was to promote stones of India across the globe and also to resolve many domestic problems faced by the quarrying industry. It was not an easy task for them, since the quarrying industry which was an unorganised sector faced many problems and challenges which were hurdles for the growth of the mining industry.
32 years has passed AIGSA has grown from strength to strength with the co-operation and support of its members. During this 32 years, AIGSA has achieved many land marks.
AIGSA is having membership 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.
Initially, the industry was exporting rough dimensional blocks to Japan, Italy and other countries. Many of the countries in the world were not aware that Granite is available in India since the Indian blocks were processed in Italy and exported as Italian products.
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.
Our Association works as a bridge between the Industry and the state and Central Government and the Association has been recognised by the Government and Association has been nominated in various committees constituted by the Central Government. We are in Granite Development Council, Planning commission, National Board of MSME etc.
Due to constant effort of AIGSA, there has been huge development in quarrying and processing sector. Today we are exporting 70% – 80% of finished goods after value addition.
AIGSA 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. Earlier to GCDR 1999, each state was following their own rules and AIGSA felt 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 AIGSA’s effort to bring a uniform policy many states are still not following the GCDR rules, due to which the growth of the granite industry has been slow.
AIGSA has lined up many programmes for the development of the STONE industry within the country.
a) Establishment of training institute
b) Artisans park and Artisans training programme
c) Testing laboratory
d) Research Centre
e) Exhibition and trade centre.
Keeping this in view it was felt by the members that name of the Association has to be changed to Federation to get better recognition nationally and internationally for the stone industry of India. Accordingly All India Granites and Stone Association is being renamed as Federation of Indian Granite and Stone Industry from April 2014.
PRESENT STATUS OF THE INDUSTRY:
India is a treasure trove of Natural stones. Industry has seen many ups and downs, in the past sometimes for its growth and sometimes for its downfall. As everyone says “The show must go on” and on that hope the industry is progressing step by step.
Unfortunately, we have lost many golden opportunities to be the largest exporter of the world. Probably India has the largest granite deposit in the world.
India accounts for 20% of the total reserves in Marble, Granite, Sandstone and Slate. Approximately India possesses 1690 million cubic meters of deposit, comprising of more than 160 shades. Presently only 3% of the available raw material is being exploited with potential for much more to be explored.
India leads in production of natural stone in the world with 32,342 million tons (27.91% share) followed by China with 31,000 million tons (23.48% share) but India falls back when it comes to export. China, Brazil and Italy who are the leaders in the stone industry are following a liberal policy which has helped them to reach to the No.1, 2 and 3 positions respectively in the finished goods.
If we follow a free trade policy, India has abundant talent and capabilities to reach to 3rd position in the export of finished goods.
Our neighbouring country China, imported raw material worth of value USD 2259.84 million and exported finished goods worth of USD 4134.87 million after value addition. This clearly shows that China has utilized the opportunity following a free trade policy at the right time when there was a vacuum in the world market for processing for the finished goods. When China was making the policy for free trade India was busy making the restrictive policies due to which we lost our market share to countries like Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia and other Asian countries.
Past is past, and still if we do not learn a lesson from our own mistake, very soon we will become an importing country from an exporting country. Today our export is only USD 150 million against China export which is USD 4137.87 million. This shows that China is exporting approximately 27 times more than India.
There are many other factors involved in their rapid growth in the natural stone industry since over a decade and half. China has started processing natural stone since 2000 whereas India had the traditional background in this field but lost to China due to many other factors like infrastructure, finance, power, and transport, etc.
Rajasthan is the traditional producer of marble since decades but could not utilize this opportunity and lost to China because of our restrictive policy which benefits only a few at the cost of the country.
Initially our export of natural stone was Rs. 50 crore, when we launched our first edition of Stona in 1987. Today with our 11th edition we have reached to the export figure of Rs 9000 crore by the end of 2013. We had expected much more export but with the closure of many quarrying activities and due to restrictive policy we could not achieve our expected targets of Rs. 12000 Crore.
Till 1990, India was exporting rough blocks. With the revolution in the industry since 1990 India moved from exporting rough blocks to the finished goods by way of value addition. Industry faced many challenges in its development. In between 1992 to 1998 processing
industry received a big jolt and many processing units collapsed due to the fall in demand in the global market but slowly picked up since 1998 and since then we have never looked back in our development process. Now the industry is facing tough challenges and our journey is becoming more difficult day by day and again the growth process has come to a standstill.
Today, we have more than 20000 processing units across the country, employing more than 15 lakh people. We started our journey of processing rough blocks with the block cutters and with development in technology we have installed many gang saws, latest polishing machines, resin lines, CNC machines, and tile plants. We are proud to say that many of our processing units have installed latest wire saw machine for processing granite blocks. We have moved with time in adopting the latest technology in processing the raw material. But due to the restrictive policy the growth has become slow as these machines require huge investment and raw material. Our present EXIM policies are restricting the development of the industry.
Shortage of Raw material
Industry is facing acute shortage of the raw material with the growth in the processing sector. There are many factors contributing to the shortage of the raw material which includes;
- Stoppage of Quarrying activities due to declaration of eco-sensitive zones around National Parks and Wild life Sanctuaries, declaration of revenue land as Reserve Forest land without considering the ongoing activities.
- Non renewal of the quarry leases.
- Delay in granting fresh leases.
- Very few leases were granted in the last 20 years.
- Restrictive EXIM policy.
If the industry has to cope-up with the growing demand, the government has to liberalize all the norms for the development of the industry.
Mineral resources play a very vital role in the economic development of the country and hence its distribution should be well planned. The growth of the GDP of the country mainly depends on the mineral resources. In recent past we have seen when the mineral activities was at the peak the GDP of the country was 8.5% but with the fall of the mining activities the GDP has also fallen to 4.5%.
Now it is necessary for the policy makers to formulate a uniform policy for the development of the mineral resources and hence we request that a ‘mineral zone’ should be formed for the healthy growth of the mining industry.
We have seen in the last decade the area for mining activities has been reducing year after year due to many restrictions like declaration of eco-sensitive zones around National Parks and Wild life Sanctuaries, declaration of revenue land as Reserve Forest without considering the ongoing activities.
The time has come to create a mineral zone where the natural resources are available freely to the industry without any restrictions. Under mineral zone, mining
• activity should be allowed freely without the interference of other departments like revenue, forest, ecology, environment etc. While major mineral leases are being granted over thousands of acres inside reserve forest area, minor mineral leases are not being granted in forest areas and even the earlier worked areas have not been renewed.
Many activities are taking place around the forest area like agricultural activities, development of villages state roads, national highways and other commercial activities like resorts and hotels. In such area quarrying activities should also be allowed without any hindrance.
• A single window system should be created for clearing the application on first cum first serve basis with a time frame.
• Auction system is not a substitute to the allotment of the mining/quarrying leases against our traditional system of first cum first serve basis. Auction system will cost very heavy to the Indian industry because the one who bids highest amount has to recover its money in short time and this will result in higher cost of the raw material for the industry. In auction system, only the corporates can participate, but in first cum first serve basis a common man can also start quarrying activities in the village where the mineral resources are available by making a simple application.
We are still in an infant stage and we have to progress rapidly with the growth and development taking place around us in all other fields. Unfortunately our policies are becoming hurdles for the speedy growth in the quarrying sector.
Few more important steps that we have to take are to create a uniform policy for the marble and granite development.
• Granite to be declared as a “major mineral”.
• Import of granite and marble should be brought under OGL to fulfill the gap between demand and supply of the rough dimensional block and increase the export by value addition.
• DTA sale of marble slabs should be allowed to the 100% EOU’s. We cannot permit import of finished goods under OGL and restrict the 100% EOU’s from DTA sale.
• One of the concerns of the Government is to maintain current account deficit, but if we permit the import of finished goods the country loses USD 60 per Sqm whereas, if we import rough dimensional blocks we have to pay USD 23 per Sqm. In order to improve the current account deficit it is necessary that we have to permit the import of rough block rather than permitting finished goods under OGL.
If all our above recommendations are considered favourably the industry will develop four fold in the coming years and our export will gradually improve from Rs. 9000 crores to Rs. 12000 crores.
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