Centre urges PSUs, Indian pvt cos to adopt GSFC’s Atmanirbhar model
Oct. 13, 2020
Taking a lead in responding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s clarion call of building an Atmanirbhar Bharat, state-owned Gujarat State Fertilizer and Chemicals (GSFC) has planned to invest Rs 1,500-2,000 crore for rolling out as many as 21 products where India has a strong dependency on imports, especially from China. The strategy is to make products that are in line with the current manufacturing facilities. It has been welcomed by the central ministry that has directed other central PSUs to follow this model and even urged private manufacturers to do so.
The ministry of chemicals and fertilizers has urged Indian manufacturers in the sector to augment their own research and development department and explore the possibilities of manufacturing import substitutes.
Lauding GSFC’s initiative, Amitabh Kant, CEO, Niti Aayog, government of India, said it will chart a new paradigm, especially for
the chemicals sector in India. He said that discussions have been held by the ministry of chemicals and fertilizers with companies and all industry associations. The GSFC’s Aatma Nirbhar model is likely to be replicated by other public sector as well as private sector undertakings.
Mansukh Mandaviya, minister of state for chemicals and fertilizers said they have identified as many as 59 products where Indian companies can gain a stronghold by augmenting capacities.
“GSFC’s model for ‘Aatma Nirbhar’ where it aims to focus on 21 products is something that other Indian companies can follow,”according to Mandaviya.
GSFC achieved a total income of Rs 7,730 crore for the year ended March 31, 2020. For the Q1 of FY 2020-21, the company
recently announced that it has earned total income of Rs 1,614 crore as against Rs 1,708 crore in the corresponding period of
the previous financial year. The company has cited the severe economic impact of Covid-19 pandemic, closure of the plant for
three weeks during lockdown 1.0 and lower prices of their products for the reduction in income.
GSFC had in May this year set up a research and development wing to identify products that are aligned to their business.
“Inspired by the Prime Minister’s vision of Atma Nirbhar Bharat, the R&D and market research departments of the company have been strengthened. We have identified 8 new industrial chemicals, 11 pharma and biotech intermediate products and 2 fertilizers for production,” said Arvind Agarwal, chairman and managing director of GSFC.
The decision was taken at the GSFC’s 58th Annual General Meeting earlier this week. This unique initiative will result in
substantial import substitution; thereby saving precious foreign exchange, according to Agarwal. At a time when companies are
taking a conservative approach, cancelling or postponing proposed expansion plans, GSFC has chalked out fresh expansion
“We have decided to invest Rs 1,500-2,000 crore over the next three years. This will be towards developing the 21 products
where India is dependent on foreign countries for more than half of its requirements,” said Agarwal. The new investment will be
over and above the Rs 700 crore capital expenditure that was earlier approved by the company’s board this year.
GSFC recently started production of calcium nitrate and is currently the only producer of the chemical in the country. It is one of
the 21 products under GSFC’s Aatma Nirbhar initiative.
“It is a very promising product and the market size for it in 2019-20 was Rs 225 crore. This product was being imported,
especially from China. We aim to fulfil 50% of India’s requirement for calcium nitrate in a short period,” said Agarwal.
Earlier on August 31, the company restarted its methanol plant at Vadodara. The factory was shut for six years due to nonviability. It is currently operating at 90% capacity.
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