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RUBBER BOARD NEWS: Rubber Board develops Mobile App
(Last Updated: 07 Dec 2018)



Rubber Board develops Mobile App



The Rubber Board has developed a new Mobile App ‘Rubber Kisan’ for rubber growers. The application developed in association with National Informatics Centre (NIC) is available in Google Play Store. The daily price of natural rubber (NR), as well as weekly, monthly and yearly average price, is available in the App.

Apart from this, cultural practices to be adopted in rubber cultivation, information on the meetings and training programmes of the Board, news on rubber, addresses of Board’s offices etc. are also available in the App. The App can be downloaded from Google Play Store by typing ‘Rubber Kisan’.


Task Force on Rubber Sector Stakeholder consultations

The Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India has constituted a Task force on Rubber Sector (TFRS), vide OM F.No. 15/19/2016-Plant C dated 8 March 2018.

Chief Secretaries of Kerala and Tripura are the Chairman and Co-chairman of the Task Force. Executive Director of Rubber Board is the Member, Convenor. Other members of the Task Force are Joint Secretary and Director in the Department of Commerce, Joint Secretary in the DIPP and one each official from the state governments of Tripura and Kerala. Dr A. K. Krishnakumar, former Executive Director of IL&FS, Delhi is inducted into the Task Force as a technical expert.

The main mandate of the TFRS is to recommend short term solutions and long term strategies for mitigating the problems faced by rubber growers and suggest a policy on rubber taking into consideration the relevant provisions of the WTO Agreement and other trade commitments, general economic policy of Government of India, relevant Acts and Rules thereof, rubber industry value chain and welfare of stakeholders involved comprising growers, processors, end productmanufacturers, traders, workers and final consumers of rubber products.

The First Meeting of the Task Force was held at Thiruvananthapuram on 23 March 2018. One of the decisions in the meeting was to collect inputs from all stakeholders connected to rubber industry value chain. Stakeholders are requested to furnish views/comments/suggestions on the issues listed below.

Some of the issues already raised by stakeholders have been reflected as bullet points. They are only indicative and not exhaustive. Inputs may be sent by email to , and on or before 12th April,2018.

If stakeholders would like to furnish materials offline, the inputs can be sent to Member Convenor, Task Force on Rubber Sector, C/o Planning Division, Rubber Board Head Office, Kottayam, Kerala 686 002.

The materials can also be handed over to the Planning Division at Rubber Board Head Office during office hours.

2 1. Regulation on import of NR o At present, import duty on NR is 25% or Rs. 30 per kg whichever is lower. Import duty of dry forms of rubber cannot be enhanced beyond 25% as the bound rate is also 25%. But there is no legal binding on duty cap. o Relevance and effectivity of Port restrictions and mandatory quality inspection on rubber. o Import of cup-lump has been blocked from 2001 as cup-lump does not have BIS standards. The phytosanitary concerns regarding import of cup lump and the effect of the said import on the price of NR in the country. o Safeguard duty on rubber import. o Inversion in tax structure as import duty of rubber products is lower than that of NR. o Feasibility of Minimum Import Price in NR. 2. Budget constraints faced in Rubber sector o Fund constraints in rubber sector o Dovetailing of funds from other Ministries and Departments. o Modalities for generating additional resources to take up more plantation/replantation.

3. Production –consumption gap in Natural rubber o 41% of NR consumption in 2016-17 was met through import. o Block rubber is cheaper and consistent in technical properties but accounts only for 15% of the domestic production. More than 80% of import is from block rubber. o Sustainability in rubber sector by achieving at least 70% of consumption demand. o Action plan for focussed mass extension activity. o Modalities for improving the Rubber Production Incentive scheme in Kerala. o Manual for Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) in rubber for increasing productivity. o Insurance for rubber sector.

4. Increase in usage of rubber o Rubber products sector other than tyres, dominated by MSMEs has been facing several problems. o Increasing use of rubber in road rubberisation which is marginal at present due to competition from tyre crumb. o Setting up of more Rubber Parks in the country. o Export of NR depending upon domestic and international price trends.

5. Recognise status of NR as an agricultural product o NR is not included in the Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) of WTO and hence tariff policy is in line with the relevant provisions of non-agricultural products. o There is no classification of products into agricultural and non-agricultural within India. 3 o Benefits of national level agriculture development schemes are not currently extended to NR sector.

6. Processing of rubber o While sheet rubber accounts for nearly 70% of production, block rubber accounts for 47% of consumption and more than 80% of import. o Promotion of Group processing centres and block rubber processing units for increase in production and decrease in cost of production.

7. GST related issues o Earlier, VAT rate of most of the inputs used in rubber cultivation and processing (copper sulphate, plastic collection cup, cup hanger, tapping knife etc) was 5% but the GST rate is 18%. o VAT rate of rubber wood was 5% but GST rate is 18%. o RPS as village level clusters of growers facilitating group activities among them in collection of inputs, pooling/sale of produce, processing of rubber for better quality and consistency etc used to operate without VAT registration. RPS come under the GST regime if turnover is above Rs 20 Lakh. o GST of several non-tyre products has been fixed at 18% whereas the VAT rate was 5%.

8. Trading of rubber o Share of grower forums in rubber trading is only 12% of the total. o Necessity of online trading or auction system in NR trading. o Inconsistent NR market arrivals due to intra-year price fluctuations, stockholding and seasonality in production cause uncertainties.

9. Utilisation of rubber wood o Restrictions on felling rubber trees in some states under forest legislations. o Commercial utilisation of rubber wood. o Improving the Farmgate price of rubber wood which is lower due to the role of intermediaries.

10. Rubber policy o Necessity of a National Rubber Policy. o Components to be included for a sustainable and globally competitive Natural Rubber industry. *******



Minister K.J. Alphons Kannanthanam holds talks with rubber growers
Kottayam 11 November 2017

Sri. K.J. Alphons Kannanthanam, Hon’ble Minister for Tourism, Govt. of India, addressed a meeting of representatives of rubber growers and grower organizations in Kerala at Rubber Research Institute of India (RRII), Kottayam. He held discussions with them on various issues related to rubber.

Sri. A Ajith Kumar, Executive Director, Rubber Board; Sri. N Rajagopal, Secretary in Charge, Rubber Board and Dr. James Jacob, Director of Research, RRII were present in the meeting. Representatives of various rubber grower organizations like Rubber Producers’ Societies, United Planters’ Association of Southern India, Association of Planters Kerala, National Federation of Rubber Producers’ Societies, Rubber Karshaka Samrakshana Samithi, Rubber Board members and senior officers of the Board participated in the deliberations.


Hiring comes to a halt at commodity boards



Workforce at Rubber Board, Coffee Board and Tea Board to come down


The Centre has put a freeze on recruitments in a number of commodity boards, including rubber, tea and coffee to “cut down on flab” and bring the staff strength down to a minimum level.

Recruitments can take place only under exceptional circumstances, with the permission of the Commerce Ministry to fill up specialised posts, a government official told BusinessLine.

“The idea is to bring down the numbers by not filling up vacancies when workers retire. The Commerce Ministry has sent letters to certain commodity boards, including the Rubber Board, Tea Board and the Coffee Board, prescribing that no future recruitment should take place without prior approval of the Ministry,” a government official said.

The official pointed out that the number of employees in each of these boards is more than what is required, and there is no justification in maintaining it at such high levels.

For instance, the Rubber Board has a sanctioned strength of 1,937 (with current employee strength at 1,572) against just 126 in Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority and 250 in Marine Products Exports Development Authority.

The Tea Board has 727 employees, while the Coffee Board has around 700, the official added.

“Since many commodity boards were employed in the production process at one point of time, they had employed a large number of field functionaries, including extension workers and tappers. With the change in profile of work, such workers are not required any more,” he said.

In case of Rubber Board, the Commerce Ministry wants to reduce the sanctioned strength of manpower to about 900-1,000. For the Tea Board, it is looking at capping the number at 400. “The Coffee Board has been asked to work out the numbers and get back to us. The idea is to bring down the numbers to the minimum threshold level, which is necessary to carry out operations,” the official said.



 03-07-2017 >>> Licensing requirements and filing of monthly/annual returns will continue as per the prevailing schedule. Use of Form-N for interstate transport of rubber will also continue. Cess has been repealed (Click here to read the Circular) and will not be levied on rubber purchases made on or after 01.07.2017. >>> Revised Licence Fee includes the GST.



Repealing of Cess on Rubber - Filing of Returns

Circular - Filing of Returns


Field coagulum trading of rubber
Kottayam 30 June 2017

Taxes on various products are fixed on the basis of respective HSN Codes. It is to be noted that the crop collected as tree lace, shell scrap etc. just before tapping is termed as field coagulum. But sometimes it is misquoted as scrap rubber. Scrap rubber is the waste of vulcanized rubber products. Field coagulum is included in HSN Code 4001 whereas scrap rubber is included in HSN Code 4004.

As per GST, tax applicable for products included in HSN Code 4001 is five per cent and that for HSN Code 4004 is 18 per cent. So, care should be taken in the transaction of filed coagulum and the name field coagulum and HSN Code 4001 should be mentioned.


Rubber output surged 23% in 2016-17


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Natural rubber (NR) production in India increased by 23 per cent during the last fiscal year (2016-17), said A Ajith Kumar, Chairman and Executive Director, Rubber Board. He was delivering the presidential address in the 174th meeting of the Rubber Board, at Kottayam on Friday. Production of NR increased from 562,000 tonnes in 2015-16 to 691,000 tonnes in 2016-17.

NR consumption during the same period increased from 994,415 tonnes to 1,043,075 tonnes, rising 4.9 per cent. Over the same period productivity increased from 1,437 kg per hectare to 1,563 kg per hectare.

Import of NR, which had been increasing consistently from 2008-09, reached 458,374 tonnes in 2015-16. But in 2016-17, import of NR declined for the first time by 7 per cent to 426,434 tonnes. Exports stood at 20,920 tonnes inn 2016-17. The stock at the end of March 2017 was 2,64,000 tonnes, he informed the Board.

Production in the April-May 2017 period is provisionally estimated to be 85,000 tonnes and consumption at 1,70,525 tonnes. Production and consumption of NR for the current fiscal year is projected at 8,00,000 tonnes and 10,70,000 tonnes, respectively, with a deficit of 270,000 tonnes.

World production and consumption of NR in 2016, according to a report from the International Rubber Study Group (IRSG), is 12.40 mt and 12.60 mt respectively. They forecast world production and consumption of NR for 2017 at 12.93 and 12.88 mt, respectively.

Gobal production up

World NR production and consumption during the first quarter of 2017 increased by 7.2 per cent and 4.9 per cent respectively. Generally, bearish sentiments weigh on the NR market in the near future but there are positive indications suggesting an increase in consumption, mainly on the basis of hopeful growth projections.

The Rubber Board had taken several measures to increase rubber production during the recent past.

Steps were taken to harvest untapped areas. Specific targets given at Regional Office and Field Office levels to improve production and productivity. A mass contact programme was conducted in the traditional rubber belt to popularize low frequency tapping.

(BL date 10/7/2017)

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Cess on rubber repealed

KOTTAYAM: The levy of cesson natural rubber (NR) produced in India has been dispensed with, with effect from July 1, 2017. The Section 12 of The Rubber Act 1947 for the imposition of cess on rubber has been repealed as per the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Act 2017.




The licensing system will continue as per the prevailing provisions of the Rubber Act 1947 and it is obligatory on the part of the licensees to file monthly and annual returns as per the present schedule. The manufacturers need not file return in form M for the period from July 1, 2017 onwards. However, the present system of using N form for interstate transport of rubber will be continued as such.


An app to help rubber growers get their soil nutrition just right



It’s the first of its kind in the world


There was once a time when the rubber farmer had to collect separate samples of top and bottom soils from representative locations in his holding and get it tested in laboratories to know their nutrient status, so that he could apply the correct dose of fertilizer.

All this, and the associated hassles and expenses, will become history with the introduction of a mobile app-based online manurial recommendation developed by the Rubber Research Institute of India (RRII), the first of its kind for rubber farmers anywhere in the world and the first for any crop in India.

The app will tell the farmer the current nutrient status as well as the quantity of fertiliser to be applied in his holding, irrespective of his location, through a satellite-based system.

This was announced by A Ajith Kumar, Chairman and Executive Director of the Rubber Board, at a press conference in Kottayam.

Christened the Rubber Soil Information System or RubSIS, the powerful Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tool for agricultural extension was formally launched by Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of Commerce and Industry, in New Delhi.

The Android App of this system has now been made ready, for use on smartphones.

RubSIS brings soil data to the fingertips of rubber growers and recommends the optimum mix and quantities of chemical fertilisers that their holdings require.

It applies satellite-based remote sensing, Geographical Information System (GIS) and fertility mapping of rubber-growing soils to develop an online web-based fertiliser recommendation for rubber growers.

RubSIS combines principles of geospatial technology with soil science, agronomy and ICT for the benefit of rubber growers.

RubSIS enables a grower to access the status of 13 fertility parameters of his/her rubber holding instantly and at no cost. It gives location-specific and need-based recommendation for use of chemical fertilisers in one holding, according to the age of the rubber plants and the extent of the holding.

At a time when rubber prices are low, it is crucial that cost of production too is kept low even as productivity is sustained.

RubSIS ensures that expensive chemical fertilisers are applied only if required, based on the existing fertility of the soil.

Avoiding indiscriminate and excessive use of chemical fertilisers not only saves money for the grower, but also helps avoid air and water pollution and soil degradation.

RubSIS is literally taking modern technology to the fingertips of growers or rather “from pixels to farmers”. RubSIS empowers the rubber grower to take an informed and need-based decision regarding fertiliser application.

Salient features of RubSIS

Adoption of RubSIS recommendations will result in optimal use of fertilisers, lowering cost of cultivation, maximising productivity and ultimately in enhancing farmers’ income.

It will also help reduce soil degradation and environmental pollution.

RubSIS combines principles of soil science, agronomy, geospatial technology and ICT, has been conceived entirely by the Rubber Research Institute of India (RRII) and developed in collaboration with the National Remote Sensing Centre, ISRO (for mapping rubber plantations using satellite-based remote sensing techniques), the National Bureau of Soil Survey & Land Use Planning, ICAR (for soil fertility analysis) and the Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management–Kerala (for software development).

This is an example of inter-institutional collaboration for effective convergence of expertise and efficient use of resources available at various institutions.

Currently, RubSIS is available for all rubber-growing regions in South India (from Kanyakumari to Maharashtra). An app for the North-Eastern states will be ready in 2018.

(This article was published on June 23, 2017)


Book on India’s tariff policies on rubber and rubber products
Kottayam, 14 February 2017
The Rubber Board published a book on India’s tariff policies on rubber and rubber products. The book titled ‘India’s tariff policies on rubber and rubber products under regional trade agreements’ compiled by Joby Joseph, T. Siju and Tharian George K. of Rubber Research Institute of India (RRII) was released by Mr. A. Ajith Kumar IAS, Executive Director, Rubber Board.

India’s external trade policies have undergone important changes during the past two decades after the signing of the WTO Agreement and the regional trade agreements (RTAs) with varied implications on different sectors of the economy. The book is a compendium of product wise classification of tariffs on rubber and rubber products under different regional trade agreements. From the book, reader could easily understand the tariff policies pursued by India for different rubber products and the time schedule of duty reduction, if any, under different agreements. In essence, this book is a valuable reference material for all concerned with India’s rubber sector. The book published by the Rubber Research Institute of India is priced Rs.600/- per copy and is available from RRII library.