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Incense Stick Exports Cross Rs 400 Crore Mark

In India, the incense stick makers range from Tribal Welfare Mission under the Khadi and Village Industries Commission to Auroville in Puducherry and from small factories to FMCG giant ITC

Photo Credit : Shutterstock


Despite the challenge of cheaper products from China, Taiwan and other South East Asian countries, India has managed to export over Rs 400 crore worth of incense sticks in 2016-17, which is almost 10 per cent of the global incense market in the world. The exports of incense sticks have also witnessed a jump of over 30 per cent from five years ago period. This is significant because the Made in India incense are competing with cheaper products from China and Taiwan among other South East Asian countries.

India accounts for over 70 per cent consumption of the world incense sticks market that is currently pegged at Rs 3,000 crore as part of the organized industry. According to Anshul Agarwal, Director of Mysore Deep Perfumery House (MDPH), the incense sticks industry in India is generating over Rs 400 crore through exports. Currently, India is exporting incense to USA, UK, UAE, Belgium, Brazil and Argentina among several other countries.

Agarwal, who was in town to launch ‘Manthan Dhoop’ a new variant of incense, said it operates 30 depots and employs around 400 people selling incense worth over Rs 250 crore annually through 2,700-plus distributors.

In India, the incense stick makers range from Tribal Welfare Mission under the Khadi and Village Industries Commission to Auroville in Puducherry and from small factories to FMCG giant ITC. NR Group from South and ITC from East are the other big players in this sector.

 Agarwal said India is a major exporter of incense sticks, an organized sector which accounts for Rs 2500 to 3000 crore, out of which, MDPH has a market share of 12 per cent. According to Agarwal, MDPH has grown at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 15 to 20 per cent in the past five years.

Talking about laborers and their wages in MDPH where women constitute 70 per cent of the workforce, Agarwal said that Agarbatti is a less capital intensive business and the laborers receive Rs 7000 plus per month and their minimum wages gets increased every 6 months based on the Madhya Pradesh (MP) government policy for workers in the incense sticks sector.

 He added, “Because of the comfort and convenience that this sector offers, women prefer to work in the incense sticks and dhoop industry in India.” When asked about investment plans, Agarwal explained that they have no investment plans at present because it is a manual work led business and machinery is cheap. Also, he revealed that the company would like to expand internationally on the basis of their revenue that gets generated.

The brand ambassador of Manthan dhoop, Actor Alok Nath, at the launch of Manthan Dhoop said that despite staying in the same house, families are drifting away from each other and thus he believes in the product’s tagline, ‘Manthan Zaroori Hai’.

GST Issue Sorted
In the month of May, All India Agarbatti Manufacturers Association (AIAMA) met revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia and demanded to lower of GST rate on incense sticks from 12 per cent to zero or 5 per cent. AIAMA had pleaded before the government stating that it was one of the oldest products to be exported from India and “symbolised all that is truly Indian” that has no match worldwide. Also, the association said that if put under 12 per cent GST rate, incense sticks will undergo significant cost escalation thereby disturbing the daily rituals of millions of families.Post representation, the GST Council in its meeting in early June revised the GST rates on incense sticks to 5 per cent from 12 per cent thereby bringing in a much-needed relief.

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