Stakeholders come together to celebrate paper on 1 August

The second edition of Paper Day, envisioned as an annual event to promote the cause of paper, and organised by the Federation of Paper Trader’s Association of India (FPTA), was held on 1 August 2019 in New Delhi. The event was attended by all stakeholders associated with the paper industry, including paper manufacturers, paper traders and others.

02 Aug 2019 | By Dibyajyoti Sarma

The event was attended by stakeholders, paper manufacturers and traders

The FPTA has chosen 1 August to commemorate as Paper Day because on this day in 1940, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru inaugurated the Handmade Paper Institute in Pune, in a bid to revive and preserve the rich heritage of handmade paper-making in India. Consequently, the first copies of the Constitution of India were printed on paper manufactured at the institute.

Keeping with this theme, speakers at the Paper Day celebration reiterated the importance of paper and its myriad uses (as one speaker suggested, paper has more than 14,ooo different usage.). The stress was also on the benefits of using paper, as it is environment-friendly, recyclable and bio-degradable.

The speakers also spoke about the need to bust the popular myth that paper manufacturing is harmful to the environment. Instead of cutting down the forest cover, the speakers said, the Indian paper industry has contributed immensely to increase it, through its agro-forestry initiative, while also increasing job opportunities for farmers.  

While paper manufacturing in India has its set of challenges — such as lack of the availability of local fibre; water usage; environmental pressures and public perception — the industry as a whole is expectant of a bright future, as per capital consumption of paper in India is significantly low comparatively low, compared to the global average. Also, the government’s push to reduce the use of single-use plastic should help the cause of paper.

Speaking on the occasion, chief guest for the event, Dr Ashwani Mahajan, national co-conventor, Swadeshi Jagaran Manch, stressed on promoting the capacity of local manufacturing instead of relying on imports. He also said that it’s time all stakeholders come together to protect the interest of domestic industries.

On the subject of paper, Mahajan said, “Despite all these talks about digital versus paper, paper will survive, no questions about it.”

The guest of honour for the event, Praveen Khandelwal, national general secretary, CAIT, urged traders to come onboard with the government push towards digital transactions, including following GST norms and online transactions.

He also urged paper traders to create sector specific white papers to present their grievances before the government.

Giving a brief overview of the history of paper manufacturing, keynote speaker for the event, JP Narain, CEO, Century Pulp and Paper, said that there is a projected demand and supply gap in paper consumption in the country. The demand is only set to rise with the rise of the FMCG sector and the need for alternatives to plastic. This is a huge opportunity for local paper mills, he said.

Earlier, welcoming the gathering, Satyapal Gupta, convenor of Paper Day, announced that from the next year onwards, the Paper Day event will be celebrated in different cities on rotation basis. “Paper Day is for all stakeholders to come together and give back,” he said. “Success comes only though partnership.”

Nearly 50% of the country’s paper is recycled, and RC Rastogi, president, IRPMA, said the sector has tremendous potential as these papers are recyclable, bio-degradable and compostable. “Now, with the rising tide again the use of plastic, paper can be viable alternative if we can find an alternative to poly-coating used in items like paper cups,” he said. “It’s a challenge and the industry will have to come up with a solution.”

On the occasion, PS Patwari, president, INMA, tackled the debate of digital vs paper and AS Mehta, president, IPMA talked about the concept of green-washing and the need for the paper fraternity to fight back to bust the myth about paper being harmful to the environment.

The Paper Day event also saw the release of a mini booklet on paper compiled by DK Singhal.

The event started with the performance of the Paper Day anthem, ‘Ek tukda kagaz ka…’ by the students of a local school.

According to FPTA, the occasion was marked across the country with the federation members visiting different school spreading awareness about paper and also organising events like drawing competition and essay writing competition among school children.