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India - An emerging Circular Economy innovation Market: Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog

Nov 26, 2021

  • Adopting Circular Economy to help improve resource efficiency, reduce social cost & provide new business opportunities

NEW DELHI, 26 November 2021: Mr Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog yesterday said that times have been very challenging since we met at FICCI Circular Economy Symposium 2019. By referring to Prime Ministers address on the importance of Circular Economy transition, he shared that NITI Aayog considers the transition to circular economy principles would help improve resource efficiency, impart competitiveness, reduce social cost and environmental challenges, provide new business opportunities, and help in achieving the Atmanirbhar vision of PM Modi.

Addressing the 'FICCI Circular Economy Symposium 2021', Mr Kant said that the collaborative efforts between the NITI Aayog and more than 200 stakeholders consisting of recyclers, academics, start-up, consultants, regulators, BIS officers and other domain experts & experts from FICCI, has been very enriching. It helped in identifying the gaps and challenges that need to be addressed immediately.

Mr Kant further stated that in India, regulations for different waste streams have been mainly having existence since 2016 but implementation of regulatory provisions has been partial. The informal sector has been also active in many areas and integration of informal sector in the new framework requires innovative ways.

He also mentioned that the regulations and EPR policies have not been implemented properly. That there is a need for market development through standards of secondary materials and procurement, need for innovation and technology support, a need for new business models offering solutions for the lifetime extension remanufacturing reuse etc. He added that there is a need also for resource efficiency in the supply chain reverse logistics collection separation and recycling of used material necessary to enable circular business models & innovative technologies are necessary for circular business models & the missing reverse logistic chains in multiple businesses.

Complimenting FICCI on the release of knowledge paper on 'Beyond Incrementalism: A pulse check on India's Circular transition', he stated that the key challenges highlighted in the paper are aligned with the action areas mentioned in the circular economy action plan by NITI Aayog.

Mr Ugo Astuto, EU Ambassador to India said that resource efficiency and Circular Economy are the central pillars for setting the ambition for green, digital and resilient model for economy growth. He also stated that resource extraction and processing of material, fuel, food contributes to about half of the world's total GHG emission and over 90% of biodiversity loss and water stress. The follow up of COP 26 would require a further strengthening of collaborative initiatives. He also highlighted that EU applying circularity principles has a potential to increase GPP and additional 0.5% by 2030 and while creating around 700 hundred thousand new jobs.

Mr Anirban Ghosh, Chair, FICCI National Circular Economy Committee & Chief Sustainability Officer, Mahindra Group began his address by saying that this is the decade of action for sustainability. He also appreciated the efforts being taken by NITI Aayog by constituting 11 CE committees & said that it is a necessary action towards creating a framework and that FICCI would be collaborating in future with these committees to accelerate the shift towards circular economy.

Mr Janardhanan Ramanujalu, Vice President, Regional Head - South Asia & Australia, SABIC said that post-consumer waste is of a lot of issue in every industry, be it plastic, steel, automotive, construction, electronics etc. These are the many issues that need to be solved and Circular Economy solutions are the ones which will help us get rid of these wastes. Quoting examples from SABIC and their practices chemical recycling concept is a reality and is very much possible and successful on the commercial end. We need many closed loop collaborations to achieve circularity, he added. 

The symposium also witnessed the virtual felicitation ceremony of the 2nd edition of The Indian Circular Economy Awards 2021. Ultratech Cement Limited & TATA Steel Limited were declared the joint winners in the large category. GRP Limited & Luthra Group LLP were declared as the winner and runner-up, respectively, in the Small & Medium category. In the start-up category, Padcare Labs were announced as the winners and Recykal as the runner up. Birla Institute of Management Technology were recognised as the winners of the Not-for profit category, whereas Society for Child Development, received the runner-up award.

Highlights of FICCI-Accenture report 'Beyond Incrementalism: A pulse check on India's Circular transition':


  • 97% organizations surveyed understand the link between company's financial and sustainability performance.
  • Adoption of material-related CE business models, namely Circular Inputs and Resource Recovery is quite prevalent.
  • Product-related CE business models such as Product use Extension, Product-as-a-service, and Sharing Platforms have some catching up to do
  • Brand value and Reputation ranked 1 in key drivers of circularity within the organization in near term, it is expected that the policymakers will be playing a much more significant role


Five accelerators which will enable India's Circular Economy (CE) journey:


  • Establish a national CE framework
  • Strengthen the CE ecosystem
  • Accelerate technology adoption
  • Supercharge the operating model
  • Invest in creating a market demand


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