On May 7, 2020, Ministry of MSME (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Coir Board and IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) Madras for setting up a Centre of Excellence (CoE) to boost the use of Coir applications (exclusively or in combination with other natural fibres).Key Points:
i.The MSME Ministry also added that the Coir Board will also provide Rs 5 crores in financial assistance initially for two years for setting up and operating the Centre of Excellence.
ii.CoE: The centre of Excellence (CoE) will support the development of relevant technology and improve production and processing standards through specific projects and monitor research projects. It also supports the creation of intellectual property rights and technology transfer.
iii.CGT: The institute had validated the research studies conducted by the Coir Board and other agencies on Coir Geo-Textiles (CGT) and recommended that CGT can be used to prevent soil erosion in slopes/embankments, river embankments, mine slope dumps stabilization etc.
iv.Uses of CGT: CGT are permeable natural fibres made from Coconut husk and are used in road construction, for checking soil erosion, riverbank protection etc.
v.So far, the board has identified 27 areas of research and development for the needs of the Coir industry to be led by the Centre of Excellence. There are additional 10 in-house projects of IIT Madras in machinery development and road projects.
vi.India’s coir and coir products export during the FY(financial year) 2020 was reportedly worth Rs 2,272 crore while Kerala accounts for around 80-90 per cent of the exports.
vii.Meanwhile, the government had recently announced plans to set-up an import substitution policy to ‘replace foreign imports’ and boost domestic manufacturing in the wake of the current economic scenario due to Covid-19.
viii.MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari in a webinar also added that there is a need to focus on import substitution to replace foreign imports with domestic production.
About Coir Board:
The Coir Board is a statutory body established by the Government of India under the Coir Industry Act 1953 (No. 45 of 1953) for the promotion and development of the coir (coconut fibre) industry in India. It functions under the Ministry of MSME.
Headquarters– New Delhi.
Union Minister– Nitin Jairam Gadkari (Constituency- Nagpur, Maharashtra).
Minister of State (MoS)– Pratap Chandra Sarangi (Constituency- Balasore, Odisha).