The industries play a major role in the national economy, by way of supplying raw materials to several basic industries such as steel, textiles, paper, synthetic fibres, rubber, plastics, paints, soaps and detergents, fertilizers, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, explosives etc.
There are two types of chemicals viz. (i) Heavy inorganic chemicals including sulphuric and nitric acid, alkali chemicals like soda ash, caustic soda, chlorine, calcium carbide, etc. (ii) Light chemicals including photographic material, drugs, paints etc.
The pesticide industry has developed substantially, contributing significantly towards India’s agriculture and health.
There are two public sector units in the chemical sector (i) Hindustan Organic Chemicals Ltd. and (ii) Hindustan Insecticides Ltd.
HOCL, the Hindustan Organic Chemicals Ltd. was set up in 1960 at Rasayani, Raigad district in Maharashtra. It has two units at Rasayani (Maharashtra) and Kochi (Kerala). The company has floated a subsidiary company called Hindustan Fluorocarbons Ltd. for manufacturing PTFE.
HIL, the Hindustan Insecticides Ltd. established in 1954, has three units at Delhi, Udyogmandal (Kerala) and Rasayani (Maharashtra). The company also has subsidiary company namely the Southern Pesticides Corporation Ltd. (Hyderabad) and a factory at Kowur.
HIL manufactures DDT, Malathion, Endosulfan and other insecticides. The Government of India has been liberal in issuing licences to companies for manufacturing chemicals except the dangerous and hazardous chemicals.
HIL manufactured over 15,000 tonnes of pesticides worth Rs. 132 crores. The Delhi unit of the HIL has been closed and re-located at Bhatinda in Punjab.