Bangalore centre to train in packaging technology

Bangalore, Jan 14 (IANS) The Indian Institute of Packaging (IIP) is setting up a centre in Bangalore to provide training and consultancy in packaging technology to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) across Karnataka.

"The state-of-the-art centre, sixth of its kind across the country, is being set up at a cost of Rs.5 crore (Rs.50 million) with financial aid from the commerce ministry. It will have a training facility, a laboratory to test packaging material and finished packages and a quality monitoring unit," IIP director N.C. Saha told IANS in an interview.

Noting that the institute's presence in the state would provide a fillip to the packaging and allied units through innovative design and development, Shah said the project construction would begin in mid-February so that it could be completed in six months to initiate the training programme later this year.

"Karnataka's industrial prowess has convinced us to set up the centre in Bangalore, as there are 26 MSME product clusters, 132 industrial estates and eight growth centres across the state. Given the state's contribution to various primary sectors such as food processing, dairy, FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) and pharmaceuticals, such a centre in the state has become imperative," Shah asserted.

The centre will also host the national packaging expo 'Indpack' and a national conference on packaging in 2014.

"Packaging is influenced by consumer habits. Changing lifestyle and growing literacy have increased awareness about products and packaging. Besides product differentiation, better packaging results in protection and safe transportation of products, reduce loss and damage. It also enhances product value and helps to expand markets within and outside the country. Eco-friendly packaging has begun to make its presence felt," Shah pointed out.

Pegged at $24.6 billion and growing at 15 percent annually, the Indian packaging industry is projected to triple in size and growth over the next five years, as packaging is considered a crucial component of the overall product by manufacturers, traders, retailers and end-users.

"The new IIP centre will help packaging firms like ours to access the latest technology to ensure global scale standardisation in our processes. The centre will also play a crucial role in strengthening the local packaging industry's performance both within the country and in the export markets," observed Manjushree Technopack managing director Vimal Kedia.

According to state industry's principal secretary M.N. Vidyashankar, the setting up of the IIP centre in Bangalore is a testimony to the state's growing industrial importance and will accelerate the growth of packaging and allied industries in the state.

The centre will serve as a support to the primary customers of packaging, such as FMCG, dairy, beverages and pharmaceuticals," Vidyashankar noted.

The need for an apex body to guide and set standards for ensuring quality in packaging have led the central government and the industry to form the IIP in Mumbai during the mid-sixties and expand its presence across the country to regulate the industry's growth over the years.

The other five training centres are located in Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and New Delhi.

"We have been at the forefront of increasing awareness about the importance of packaging and expanding the export market by way of initiatives in innovative package design and development, and standardisation," Shah added.

As an autonomous body, the institute overlooks activities related to packaging like testing and quality certification, training and education, consultancy services on packaging standardisation, formulation of packaging specification and cost reduction.

The IIP is also associated with international bodies like the World Packaging Organization (WPO), Asian Packaging Federation (APF), International Trade Centre (ITC), Geneva and has been working for the overall growth and development of packaging globally./eom/600 words.

(Fakir Balaji can be contacted at fakir.b@ians.in)

- - Indo-Asian News Service

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