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VIEWPOINT | Cement

Partnering in India’s
Infrastructure Transformation

The cement sector is set to grow exponentially, particularly in the emerging economies
where infrastructure development and construction are on the rise. India is no
exception. The cement industry’s sustainable innovations are enabling sustainable
environment, economies and livelihoods. Five out of the top 10 global cement
companies ranked in the low-carbon transition league are from India. In fact, the
lowest carbon footprint cement producer in the world selected for the top rank is from
India, Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Ltd. By UJJWAL BATRIA

T
he world is looking at Indian economy with Huge opportunity
optimism. The Union Budget 2019 focused on For the cement industry this is a huge opportunity to
the nation’s growth and brought a positive contribute to nation building in a truly concrete form, as no
sentiment to the overall economy. There is a modern construction activity can happen without the use of
renewed focus on time-bound infrastructure cement in one form or another. India is one of the world’s
growth. Infrastructure sector spans over a broad compass, fastest-growing economies and is the world’s second largest
which includes power, bridges, dams, roads and urban producer of cement after China. The cement sector is set to
infrastructure development. As per the World Bank’s grow exponentially, particularly in the emerging economies
Logistics Performance Index (LPI) in 2018, India ranked 44th where infrastructure development and construction are on
out of 167 countries in infrastructure development. the rise. This is attributed to a rapidly growing population,
The market size broadly stands at $25.05 billion with the which is moving from the rural to the urban landscape,
logistics sector in India growing at a compound annual fuelled by an improved lifestyle and a rising middle class.
growth rate (CAGR) of 10.5 per cent annually and is expected The major consumers of cement include public infrastructure
to reach $215 billion in 2020. There is an investment at 20 per cent and industrial development at 15 per cent.
requirement worth Rs 50 trillion ($777.73 billion) in Apart from those, the housing and real estate sector are also
infrastructure by 2022 to have sustainable development in the biggest demand drivers of cement, accounting for about
the country. 65 per cent of the total consumption in India.
76 | Infrastructure Today | Annual Issue www.InfrastructureToday.co.in
VIEWPOINT | Cement

As the second largest producer of cement cent as per a report on PMGSY. A cost
in the world, the Indian cement industry has analysis carried out under the PMGSY for
grown over 50 per cent in installed capacity cement concrete roads vs bitumen roads,
since 2012 to about 502 million tonnes (MT) focussed on the initial maintenance, lifecycle
per annum (MTPA) currently, representing costs for one-kilometre stretch of both types
around 10 per cent of global installed capacity. of roads. The results showed that though
Production stands at 298 MTPA and the initial cost of cement concrete roads is
consumption at 296 MTPA, providing an over 28 per cent more than bitumen roads, the
200 MT opportunity for growth. It contributes lifecycle and maintenance cost for cement
as a major employment generator, providing concrete roads is 19 per cent lower
jobs to more than a million people, directly or compared to bitumen roads. Moreover, the
indirectly. This is perhaps the only core sector use of 30 per cent fly ash as a replacement
in which the private sector produces 90 per for cement in concrete can reduce the cost
cent of the products. The industry supports by further 20 per cent as well as lower the
key national development agendas of the lifecycle and maintenance cost by 27 per
government: Make in India for the cent.
manufacturing sector and Smart Cities for
infrastructure development. The development of 98 smart Low carbon footprint
cities is expected to provide a major boost to the sector. The The industry’s sustainable innovations are enabling
Government of India announced setting up of an Affordable sustainable environment, economies and livelihoods. Five
Housing Fund of Rs 250 billion ($3.86 billion) under the out of the top 10 global cement companies ranked in the low
National Housing Bank (NHB) which will be utilised for carbon transition league are from India. In fact, the lowest
easing credit to homebuyers. The move is expected to boost carbon footprint cement producer in the world selected for
demand for cement from the housing segment. the top rank is from India, Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Ltd. In
recent years, the Indian cement industry has made significant
Strong impetus investments towards ensuring a greener future, as well as
Construction of national highways in India increased by enhanced use of Alternative Fuel and Raw Materials (AFR),
20 per cent in 2017-18 fiscal on year-on-year basis. Waste Heat Recovery (WHR) technology, and pioneered
Additionally, this year’s budget gave a strong impetus to the consumption of waste materials such as fly ash and slag
development of cement and allied industries. Prime Minister generated by other industries.
Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) Phase III, new government About 99 per cent of Indian cement plants are based on
medical colleges and hospitals, redevelopment of 600 dry cement manufacturing technology. This implies that it is
railways  stations and suburban railway infrastructure and a zero-wastewater industry with increased captive power
renewal of 26,000 km of railway lines are all major steps that generation capacities to the extent of 60 per cent of
will lead to demand generation and capacity utilisation in a requirement and even 100 per cent in some cases. The use
big way. India’s national highways network is also expected of alternate fuels by cement plants such as pet coke, lignite,
to cover 50,000 kilometres in 2019 itself. husk, municipal waste, biomass, etc., has increased
International investments in the infrastructure growth sustainability, maximised AFR usage and achieved 15 per
are on the rise with India and Japan joining hands for cent Thermal Substitution Rate (TSR). The commitment to
infrastructure development in India’s north-eastern states. sustainability is evident from CO2 emission levels that
The India-Japan Coordination Forum for Development of reduced by about 36 per cent from 1.12 per tonne of cement
North East will undertake strategic infrastructure projects produced in 1996 to 0.579 per tonne of cement in 2014-15
in the region. These are all opportunities for the cement against a world average of 0.612 per tonne of cement
industry. The sector is primarily led by regulatory impetus produced.
provided by the government to projects such as Housing With the demand for infrastructure rising, the industry is
for All by 2022, Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana-Gramin committed to becoming an enabler to a rising India’s story
(PMAY-G), PMGSY, concrete roads, smart cities, Swachh and believes that it can contribute to India’s growth and
Bharat, construction of hospitals and educational development through collaboration, investment, innovation
institutions, canal lining projects and cold chain storage and sustainable citizenship.
projects.
Beyond the demand opening for the industry directly
through public projects, the cement sector contributes to Ujjwal Batria is Chief Operating Officer,
the exchequer through innovative technology Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Ltd.
advancements. The use of cement, instead of bitumen, for
the construction of all new road projects has proven to be
more durable and cheaper to maintain in the long run.
Usage of cement can bring down the cost of maintenance
for the road significantly, to the tune of about 20-25 per
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