Continuing its efforts towards sustainable development goals, the Indian cement industry is keen to reduce its carbon footprint by 45% by the year 2050.
Mahendra Singhi, President, Cement Manufacturers Association and MD and CEO, Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Limited, said that under its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives, the Indian cement industry has adopted more than 700 villages to improve education, healthcare, sanitation, water supply and green cover; created green belts around cement plants through forestry, financed 25 colleges and established 225 primary and secondary schools. “there is a huge perception gap, with many still thinking about the cement sector as unfriendly to the environment, whereas, the reality is that the cement sector is the most energy-efficient sector in the country and the world,” he added while speaking at the 15th Green Cementech 2019 summit.
Industry experts highlighted the importance of cement being second most used compound material in the world, after water. As per experts, sustainable cement production practices have saved more than one million tonne of coal over the years. They also emphasized over high GST slab for cement as a major impediment to growth.
For their efforts, JK Lakshmi Cement and Orient Cement were awarded GreenPro (Green Product) certification and ACC Bargargh Cement Works was awarded GreenCo (Green Company) Rating, at the event.
Slowdown in construction activity ahead of the general elections, labour shortage and delayed release of funds by the government will impact cement demand growth during the first quarter of 2019-20, which is expected to plunge to a seven-quarter low.
As per Crisil, weaken construction activities pushing demand growth down to 3-5% in the June quarter with states in the East (Bihar, Odisha) and South (AP & Telangana and Tamil Nadu) moving at growth of 2-4%. The growth was 9-10% in the January-March quarter.
Demand is expected to pick up in the second half of the fiscal with mainly institutional sector driving growth — 6-7.5% for the financial year, including construction of almost 25 lakh under construction units as of April 2019, under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban.
The ministry of rural development is also targetting 50 lakh housing units under the PMAYGramin this fiscal.
On May 29, 2019, the Indian rupee declined by 14 paise to close at 69.83 against the US dollar on account of persistent foreign fund outflows and a sell-off in domestic equities. However, easing crude oil prices cushioned the fall in rupee.
The rupee has depreciated by 32 paise in two sessions.