Mumbai–India’s first Central Institute of Chemical Engineering and Technology is being planned to be set up in the country’s commercial capital here, Chemicals and Fertilizer Minister Ananth Kumar said on Thursday.

“The government is planning to set up Central Institutes of Chemical Engineering and Technology at different locations where the chemical industry has significant presence. The first such institute will come up in Mumbai,” Ananth Kumar said at the inauguration of the three-day India Chem 2016 expo here being organised by his ministry jointly with industry chamber FICCI.

Noting that the Indian chemical industry, which employs nearly 2 million people, requires 8.5 lakh skilled technicians, the minister said that current infrastructure to impart skill training is inadequate.

“The Indian chemical industry is expected to grow at 9 per cent per annum to become a $226 billion sector driven by growth in end-use industries and government initiatives,” he said.

“India’s long coastline, large refining capacity and a satisfactory R&D capacity are the strengths for the growth of the chemical industry, but ease of doing business needs to improve further,” he said.

Ananth Kumar also said imports from China and Southeast Asia continue to dominate, as raw material cost and availability pose challenges for domestic businesses.

Iran is the partner country at this ninth edition of what is billed as India’s largest chemicals and petrochemicals event.

A host of other countries such as China, Japan, Turkey, Singapore, Vietnam, Britain, South Korea, Belgium and Taiwan are participating in India Chem 2016.

Gujarat, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh are taking part as partner states in the event, which is “expected to attract big ticket investments from foreign shores to boost India’s chemical industry”, the government said.

Iran’s participation here assumes significance following the signing earlier this year between India, Iran and Afghanistan of the Chabahar trilateral transit and trade corridor deal that will ensure easy movement of goods between the three countries, bypassing Pakistan. (IANS)