Why The Black And White View In Banning Ilmenite Exports?
Bureaucracy Today|June 1 - 31, 2017

Any picture depicting India would have hues of Holi and vibrant colours of the bazaar. So it is surprising that the ban of ilmenite exports has been done with a black and white view thereby robbing the Indian paint industry of its sheen.

Trevor Paul
When Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Swachh Bharat initiative, the paint industry rejoiced. Clean up and do what? After all, they would have surmised. If surroundings are clean and well painted the chances of it staying clean are a lot higher. Instead the Indian paint industry was hit hard by the sudden Government ban on ilmenite exports.

The Government obviously has viewed ilmenite as a resource that does not replenish and has not taken into account the massive revenue loss and India’s standing in the international arena and not to forget that it constitutes a severe setback to the Make in India initiative.

Post the ban on ilmenite exports, the Indian paint companies were forced to announce a steep price increase of all their products. While the big brands could afford to increase the prices and handle low demand the worst hit are the nearly 2,500 medium and small Indian paint companies.

There are around 300 to 400 ingredients that go into making decorative paints. Out of this, the major raw material, TiO2, a white pigment, constitutes about 12-35% and is derived from ilmenite. Continuing technological inventions and environmental regulations make the inventory even larger. While there are thousands and thousands of coating manufacturers around the globe, TiO2 producers are comparatively few in numbers.

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