Mr. Mukherjee was speaking at the inauguration of 66th Annual Indian Chemical Engineering Congress at the Institute of Chemical Technology.

President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday stressed the need for increasing expenditure on and development in the chemical industry sector, which “has deep linkages’ with the rest of the economy.

At present, the R&D expenditure was less than 0.5 per cent of the industry’s revenues. “A significant scale-up in spending to the global benchmark of 4 per cent is necessary,” he said speaking at the inauguration of the 66th Annual Indian Chemical Engineering Congress at the Institute of Chemical Technology here.

“The deep linkages that the chemical industry has with the rest of the economy provide sufficient elbow room for this crucial yet understated sector, to effect major transformations.”

Explaining the relationship between the agricultural sector and the chemical industry, Mr. Mukherjee said use of fertilizers and pesticides had for long demonstrated the capability to enhance farm yield and production.

“Though the Green Revolution brought about considerable rise in food production, the disproportionate use of chemical fertilizers eventually led to a decline in productivity,” he stated. He said India must expand its production levels significantly to meet the needs of the growing population.

“This underlines the need to improve farm productivity. At the same time, it highlights the need to promote balanced use of fertilizers and pesticides.”

Advocating the need to create greater awareness of the chemical industry, Mr. Mukherjee said honouring Professor C.N.R. Rao with the Bharat Ratna would spur greater interest in chemical science and technology.

The 66th annual session of the Indian Institute of Chemical Engineers will be held till December 30.

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