The chemical industry of India is a major contributor to the Indian economy, contributing 7% of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). India's chemical industry ranks as sixth largest in world, and third in Asia. The value of the chemical industry in India was estimated at 100 billion dollars in 2019. The chemical industry of India generates employment for five million people.
The Indian chemical industry produces 80,000 different chemical products. India was also the third largest producer of plastic in 2019. As of September 2019, the alkali chemical industry produced 71% of all chemicals produced in India.
India's chemical industry accounts about 14% of production in Indian industries.
The Indian chemical industry mainly produces basic types of chemicals as well as knowledge type chemicals and specialty type chemicals as of 2018. In India, Gujarat was the largest state contributor to the chemical industry of India in 2018. India also produces products related to petrochemicals, fertilizers, paints, varnishes, glass, perfumes, toiletries, pharmaceuticals, etc.
The India chemical industry is divided into six sub-segments. These sub-segments are Basic Organic Chemicals, Specialty Chemicals, Chlor-alkali, Pesticides, Dyestuff, and alcohol-based chemicals. India is a major producer of basic organic chemicals.
In India, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) was established in 1942 with the aim of providing scientific and industrial research to maximize the scientific, economic, and environmental benefits to the people of India.
The Indian Chemical Manufacture association, now called Indian Chemical Association (ICC) was founded in 1938 in by P. C. Ray, Rajmitra B. D. Amin and other Industries to promote the national chemical industry of India.
In India, the first pharmaceutical company set up was Bengal Chemicals and Pharmaceutical. Bengal Chemicals and Pharmaceutical was set up by P.C Ray, professor of chemistry at Calcutta University. After 9 years of settlement of this company, one more company called Alembic Chemical works at Baroda (Now as Vadodara) in Gujarat was set up.
Before World War II, foreign companies had the domain in the drug industry of India. After World War II, foreign company domain in drugs decreased and more Indian drug companies were established. During this time, the Indian government established five drug companies. The two of them are Hindustan Antibiotics Limited and Indian Drugs and Pharmaceutical companies.
After India got independence from the British Raj in 1947, India established many units of basic chemicals, dyes, textiles and fertilizers. In 1964, a downstream plant was established in Mumbai.
In the 1980s and 1990s, the petroleum industry of India had grown faster with the development of the gas cracker, along with related downstream industries for polymers, synthetic fibers, aromatic and other chemicals. In early 1980, the IPCL had established a plant-based on a cracker in Gujarat and Maharashtra.
India has been suppressed by inadequate supply and high import duties in the petroleum industry, which led to private industry entry into the petroleum industry. Reliance industries have set up many parts in PatalGanga (Maharashtra), Jamnagar (Gujarat), Hazira (Gujarat). This led to an increased role of Reliance industries in the petroleum industry. This has led to the entry of Reliance industries into the polyester business, such as purified terephthalic acid, and polyethylene terephthalate resin. These new materials are used to make polyester fibre, bottle and filamentation.
The organic chemicals industry is one of the most significant sectors of the chemical industry in the world. It plays a vital role in providing inputs for other industries of paints, adhesives, pharmaceuticals, dyestuffs and intermediates, leather chemicals, pesticides, etc. Methanol, acetic acid, formaldehyde, pyridine, phenol, alkylamines, ethyl acetate, and acetic anhydride are major basic organic chemicals that are produced in India.
Six major chemicals are produced in India: methanol, aniline, alkylamines, and its derivatives formaldehyde, acetic acid, and phenol contributing to nearly 2/3 of Indian basis organic chemical industry.
The chlor-Alkali is an industrial process for the electrolysis of sodium chloride solutions. In India chlor-alkali industry mainly consists of the production of three inorganic chemicals. The mainly three inorganic chemicals that are produced in the form of this industry are caustic soda (NaOH), chlorine (Cl
2) and soda ash (Na
3). Hydrogen is also produced in this industry in small amounts. The chlor-alkali industry inputs are mainly used in soaps and detergents, pulp and paper, textiles, aluminium processing industry for caustic soda and for soda ash in glass, silicate production etc apart from soaps and detergents. In the financial year 2019–2020 of chlor-alkali industry of India over four million metric tons of alkali chemicals were produced. The products that are produced in this industry are soda ash, caustic soda, and liquid chlorine.