MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari inaugurates incense stick manufacturing unit in Assam
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday inaugurated a major bamboo agarbatti manufacturing unit in Assam. Set up at a cost of Rs 10 crore, the agarbatti stick (incense stick) unit will provide direct employment to 350 people while creating indirect employment for over 300 people.
"Setting up of these units in Assam assumes great significance in wake of the Modi government's decision of restriction on import of raw agarbatti from China and Vietnam and also a hike in import duty on round bamboo sticks for agarbatti. The two decisions were taken essentially to curb the huge import of agarbatti and bamboo sticks from the two countries that had crippled the Indian agarbatti industries," an official statement read.
Referring to efforts made by Gadkari and Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) Chairman Vinai Saxena, the MSME ministry's statement said that as a result, hundreds of closed agarbatti manufacturing units in India were revived in the past one-and-a-half years, creating nearly three lakh new jobs.
Apart from making agarbatti sticks, the unit named 'Keshari Bio Products LLP' at Bajali district in Assam utilises a huge quantity of waste bamboo in making bio-fuel and various other products.
Gadkari said the new bamboo stick unit in Assam would go a long way in strengthening the local agarbatti industry, which had a huge potential for local employment creation.
"This is the most appropriate example of 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat' which aims at creating local employment and sustainable livelihood," the minister said.
Saxena said the import restriction on raw agarbatti and hike in import duty on bamboo agarbatti sticks created huge employment opportunity in India and these new units aim at capitalising on the opportunity.
"The agarbatti industry is a key vertical of India's village industry, which employs more than 10 lakh artisans. With new agarbatti and bamboo stick making units coming up, nearly three lakh new jobs have been created in this segment in the last one-and-a-half years," Saxena said.
He added that the new agarbatti stick making unit will also strengthen the huge bamboo-based industry in Assam.
Currently, the consumption of incense sticks in India is pegged at a whopping 1,490 tonnes per day but only 760 tonnes per day is locally produced.
Hence, the huge gap between the demand and supply resulted in heavy import of raw agarbatti. Consequently, the import of raw agarbatti increased from just two per cent in 2009 to 80 per cent in 2019.