Irga flays 3 more govt nominees on Rubber Board

Written by M Sarita Varma | Thiruvananthapuram | Updated: Jul 22 2009, 04:40am hrs
All stakeholders in the rubber supply chainprocessing industry, tyre manufacturers, plantation owners, small holding farmers, dealers and others are wary about the Centres move to expand the steering panel of Rubber Board with three more government officials.

Indian Rubber Growers Association (Irga) has protested against what it calls diluting the autonomy of the Board.

After the Cabinets vetting, the proposal to add three more government officials as directors to the 26-member Rubber Board has been put forward for Parliaments clearance.

Presently, there are 10 directors to represent the governments interest including the chairman. If the proposalwhich is part of the amendment to the Rubber Actis okayed, the strength of board of directors would swell to 29.

Expanding the board of directors is against democratic spirit and also against the recommendations made by Prabhu Committee, Irga has pointed out in a letter to commerce minister Anand Sharma on Monday.

Prabhu Committee, set up in 2000, to review the functioning of Commodity Boards, prescribes that the strength of board of directors should be restricted to 20. Practically , all boards consist of large number of government nominees.

In Clause 28, Prabhu Committee report specifically criticised the system and practice of government departments sending observers to participate in the meetings of boards, even at the expense of the Boards.

Major consumer industries like tyre makers too are also disturbed by the proposed higher regulatory interests in the board of directors. ATMA (Automotive Tyre Manufacturers Association) feels that consumer, producer and regulatory interests should be equally represented.

With just 2 directors now, the board is overtly tilted against the consuming industry, an ATMA spokesman told FE.

Tyre industry is also coming out with a detailed response on this soon. If country has notched phenomenal growth in rubber production in last 50 years, this has been because of the much-lauded stakeholders say in Rubber Board.

Adding more bureaucratic control would put brakes on efficiency, tampering with optimal stakeholder participation and also go against the new development perspective of PPP spirit,Sibi J Monipally, Irga general secretary and Rubber Board vice-chairman) said, in New Delhi, after meeting the the commerce minister. In an issue that threatens to brew up to a regulator intervention storm, the farmers outfit is also seeking support from ministers like AK Antony and Vayalar Ravi.

At this juncture, when Rubber Board has undertaken a herculean task of rubber replantation mission, this divisive controversy is a diversion that commodity board could do without.