It is understood that the ATMA (Automative Tyre Manufacturers Association) is planning to approach the ministry of commerce this week with the plea that consuming industry is underrepresented on the board of directors of the Rubber Board. Consuming industry has just two directors, while small-holdings growers, large estate owners, rubber dealers and other stakeholders are amply represented, Rajiv Budhiraja, director-general of ATMA, told FE.
Surprisingly, rubber farmers, who have been fighting the tyre industry tooth and nail on the issue of zero-duty rubber imports, do not mind more industry representation. We would, in fact, fully endorse the tyre industry in seeking more director-representatives on the board. After all, in business, raw material producers and consuming industry are mutually valuable, says Siby Monipilly, general secretary, IRGA (Indian Rubber Growers Association).
Meanwhile, all stakeholders--growers, dealers and industry--are dead against of expanding the board just to include more government nominees. The Prabhu Committee report, on the functioning of the commodity boards, not only draws flak at the practice of filling the boards with government nominees, but also stipulates that total number of directors be restricted to 20.
The Bill on Amendment to Rubber Act proposes that the present 26-member board of directors of the Rubber Board be expanded to 29, adding more government nominees. Including the chairman, there are ten government representatives at present.
This week, ATMA intends to inform the government of its dissent to the move to dilute stakeholder-run management that contributed to the Commodity Boards much-lauded efficiency, says Budhiraja.
The Bill, which was introduced in the Lok Sabha on July 28, includes creation of a rubber development fund, removing regulations like registration of estates and licence for planting and replanting of rubber.