The plastics industry in India: A catalyst for youth employment and economic growth

The plastic industry in India is delivering on the ambitious targets of the government of India plus driving growth. Hemant Minocha, the chairman of Plexconcil and Arvind Goenka who is the past chairman of Plexconcil - provide an insider's perspective into the gains made by the industry

25 Oct 2023 | By Aditya Ghosalkar

India’s plastics exports will notch USD 25-bn by 2027, with import substitution pegged at INR 37,500-cr, says Minocha

India, the world's fifth largest economy is witnessing a remarkable transformation in its job landscape fuelled by a burgeoning manufacturing sector. India’s plastic trade (imports + exports) itself has witnessed a huge growth in the past ten years, rising from USD 19 billion in 2013-14 to USD 37 billion in FY 2022-23. India’s plastics exports have contributed to this growth witnessing a CAGR of 4.8%. In FY 2022-23, India’s plastics stood at USD 12 billion with potential to reach USD 25 billion by 2027. With import substitution pegged at Rs 37,500 crores and vast emerging opportunities, this implies not only immense potential for employment generation, but greater entrepreneurship opportunities.

Present scenario

The Indian plastics industry presently comprises over 50,000 processors employing over five million people, and its estimated worth exceeds USD 40 billion. From 2023 to 2029, the industry is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 6.6%, resulting in job opportunities.
Added to this are a growing number of ancillary industries including machinery, technology, exporters, importers, recyclers and more who make up for an integral part of the entire value chain. For the youth of India, this growing and dynamic sector opens up millions of job opportunities across various professional domains, ranging from manufacturing and engineering to sales and marketing. Opportunities abound for diverse skill sets and educational backgrounds, offering a wide spectrum of career advancement options, ranging from entry-level positions to leadership roles.

Driving India's economic engine

The plastics sector is rapidly emerging as a pivotal economic driver, whose contribution has been steadily growing over the decades and thus bolstering India's burgeoning youth population with newfound opportunities. In 2021, this sector contributed 3.5 lakh crore (USD 43 billion) to the national GDP, and forecasts suggest this figure could ascend to an impressive 10 lakh crore (USD 120 billion) by 2030. Beyond the mere economic statistics, it is imperative to recognise the transformative impact this sector has on the lives of countless young Indians. Plastic applications are diverse and include important segments such as packaging, agriculture, healthcare, and automotive and much more, placing it at the forefront of industrial progress, and more than just a statistical contributor to the economy.

Growing importance of education in plastics

Education in polymers and plastics is gaining increasing prominence as the plastics industry continues to expand. Academic institutions and specialised training programs are recognising the growing demand for skilled professionals in this field. For example, The Central Institute of Plastics Engineering and Technology (CIPET) in India plays a pivotal role in providing training and education in the field of plastics. As a premier institute dedicated to nurturing talent and fostering innovation in the plastics and polymer industry. Its role is multifaceted and includes Skill Development Programmes, R&D in plastics and polymers technology, entrepreneurship development and facilitating industry-academic partnerships, internships, and placement opportunities for its students, ensuring that graduates are well-prepared to meet industry requirements.

Furthermore, colleges of eminence such as ICT (previously known as UDCT) Matunga and MIT-WPU Pune that run post-graduation courses in polymer science and the PlastIndia International University Vapi which is also taking shape are some of the other noteworthy institutions that have adopted comprehensive approach that encompasses education, research, industry collaboration, and sustainability, in advancing the country's plastics and polymer technology sector.

For the environmentally-conscious young individuals, the plastics industry in India holds a unique allure, given its ongoing commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility. Progressive strides in sustainable packaging materials, recycling technologies, and advancements in biodegradable polymers are ushering in a positive transformation within the sector. This sustainability orientation aligns with global environmental objectives and offers young entrepreneurs and startups a golden opportunity to disrupt the market with cutting-edge, eco-friendly products.

India's plastics sector transcends mere statistics; it is about transforming lives and nurturing hope among its youth. With its remarkable growth trajectory, diverse applications, and dedication to sustainability, this sector not only propels economic expansion but also furnishes young Indians with a ladder to professional success and skills development.

Latest Poll

The packaging industry is confused by recycling and sustainability rules in India. What is the biggest challenge?


The packaging industry is confused by recycling and sustainability rules in India. What is the biggest challenge?

Shortcomings in EPR policy



Inadequate infrastructure



Shortage of recycling firms



Lack of consumer awareness



Total Votes : 19


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