Relevance of Pumps in the Growth of Indian Economy

In India the manufacture of pumps has by now a history of nearly a hundred years. Pumps are the basic equipment for every sphere of the national economy. Indian pump industry has in its own growth, contributed immensely to the economic growth of the country.

GDP of a country and of India in particular is made up of contributions from

  • Agriculture
  • Industry
  • Infrastructure, utilities and services.

In the context of agricultural sector, it is pertinent to note that much of the credit of India’s self-sufficiency in food does credit also to Indian Pump Industry.

In the context of the sector of infrastructure, utilities and services, it may be noted that Indian pumps have been servicing the needs of urban water supply wholly indigenously since decades. Even large irrigation and water supply project of gigantic scales are being executed wholly indigenously by Indian Pump Industry.

In the context of industrial sector, capabilities and contributions can be cited simply by the fact that almost all pumps in very critical services as in nuclear power generation are designed and made within Indian pump industry.

Size And Composition of Indian Pump Industry

It is estimated that the production of pumps in the country is presently of the order of Rs. 3500 crores, (US$ 750 million), contributed by over one million pumps per year, produced by some 800 odd manufacturers of large, medium and small scales. The pump manufacturers are able to meet most of the domestic market demand and they also export pumps worth Rs. 610 crores in 2004-05.

Market Analysis by Usage of Pumps

General distribution of usage of pumps can be considered to be as follows.

No Sector %By Value
1 Agriculture
2 Fossil fuels - oil and gas
3 Power - thermal
4 Power - nuclear
5 Public Water supply and sanitation
6 Petrochemicals
7 Petroleum refining
8 Rural and domestic water supply
9 Metals and mining
10 Pharmaceuticals
11 Fertilisers, insecticides, pesticides
12 Coal
13 Health, hygiene & cosmetics products
14 Construction
15 Soaps, detergents and hygiene products
16 Fire-fighting
17Sugar, beverages, dairies, food products
18 Textiles
19 Paper & Pulp
20 Paints, Dyes and dyestuffs
22 Others, including marine services, packaged systems such as lubrication systems, petrol-dispensing, etc.
Total 100

Market-Potential And Market Trends

As can be seen, market potential and growth in demand for pumps depends on the growth in sectors using pumps. Market demand in different sectors is itself influenced by various related factors. For example, in India demand for pumps for agriculture is substantially influenced by vagaries of monsoon. Projects like equitable distribution of water from regions of abundance of water to regions deficient in water or projects for interlinking of rivers would cause a big boost in demand for pumps for such infrastructural activity.

The pattern of demand will be different in different countries. For example, in desert regions, the demand for pumps for agriculture will be minimal. Information and study of the demand pattern in different countries will be necessary for an exporter. Information on nature and state of economy in different countries can be studied from the website of World Bank. Some basic data has been compiled in this book in a separate chapter.

Pumps And Market-Styles

Among “machineries”, pumps are said to be produced and used in largest numbers, second only to electric motors. Pumps are both power-driven and manually operated.

The market for Pumps operates in various fashions –

  • Bare-shaft pumps to be assembled by the trader or end-user with motor or driver from his stock
  • Pump complete with driver, either as a monoset or mounted and aligned on a base plate and maybe, also complete with switch-gear and controller, etc.
  • Pump complete with driver, either as a monoset or mounted and aligned on a base plate and maybe, also complete with switch-gear and controller, etc.
  • Kits and/or components for the trader or buyer to assemble them into a pump later. People can be outsourcing kits or components for their manufacture of pumps.

There is another way of looking at Market styles and Pump types.

  • Pumps for agriculture and domestic usage are primarily sold thorugh dealers and stockists.
  • Pumps for industrial purposes may be sold through agents, dealers and stockists. But pumps for offensive services would often need special materials of construction and would be made against orders. Even enquiries from pumps from the industrial sector would be often elaborate and would merit detailed technical scrutiny. Manufacturers would get involved right through.
  • Requirements for pumps in the industrial sectors would be either for replacement or for new project. There is a good requirement also for replacement spares. These may be catered to by dealers and stockists.
  • Because pumps in industrial sector are generally run for long, continuous periods, the users would also need after-sales service support from the manufacturers. For marketing pumps for indutrial sector in the global markets, pump-manufacturers may need to establish their own service centres or or have competent representatives.
  • Requirements for pumps for large projects would also be handled by the manufacturers directly.

Role of Indian Pump Industry in the Sector of Agriculture

When India achieved independence, electricity was available only sparsely. Agricultural pumps in those times were prominently engine-driven. Even today, engine-driven pumps come handy to farmers, in situations of vagaries of power-supply and in remote places, where electricity has not yet reached.

With spread of electricity, electric pumpsets, especially of monoset variety (IS-9079) became popular. Propelled by commissioning of major irrigation projects, growth in agriculture soon made the country self-sufficient in food.

Growth in agriculture so much overtook the growth in irrigation, that surface waters were no more adequate. That set the trend for exploring ground waters. This prompted growth in manufacture of jet pumps (IS-12225) and bore well submersible motor pumps (IS-8034).

Hand pumps (IS-9301) and jet pumps were competing with submersible motor pumps until ground water tables had not depleted very low.

Now submersible pumps have caught so much fancy with farmers and with pump-users in general, that people prefer to use them even where water level is not deep. The appealing features are freedom from rigors of priming the pump at every instance of loss of prime and security against theft. Such fancy for submersible pumps prompted the development of also the Open Well Submersible Pumps (IS-14220).

Role of Indian Standards

The mention above, of numbers of IS standards for different types of agricultural pumps should in itself become a point to note.

Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), formerly Indian Standards Institution (ISI), has had a Technical Committee for pumps almost since its inception. As of 2005, 42 Indian Standards have been developed. More information on this is detailed in the chapter on Pump Standards.

However, it is important to note, especially in the context of agricultural pumps, that Indian Standards have addressed issues of national concern. Growth in agriculture and growth in use of agricultural pumps started putting heavy strain on power and fuel.

Norms for minimum efficiency were incorporated first time in 1979 in Indian standards on agricultural pumps. This aspect is so unique that even today no International standard specifies norms for minimum efficiency. Only in Hydraulic Institute standards, there is a monogram on “Estimating efficiency of centrifugal pumps”. The monogram is primarily a guideline and is not a norm for mandatory compliance.

Apart from developing standards BIS operates scheme for licensing use of ISI mark. Since years, tenders of Government departments have been specifying pumps to have ISI mark. This inherently means compliance with the norms for minimum efficiency. As of 2005 there were more than 200 manufacturers across the country having license to use ISI mark for bore well submersible pumps as per IS-8034 alone.

Importance of pumping system to be proper, so that the consumption of power will be optimal, was realized long time back. It was in 1979 that IS-10804 standard for “Recommended Agricultural Pumping System” was developed. Although the title of the standard read as “Recommended”, NABARD made it mandatory for its refinance of loans afforded to farmers for the pumps.

It is interesting to note that HI also now emphasizes the importance of pumping systems to be optimal for good performance of pumps. At their website www.pumps.org they now provide for free download “Pumping System Improvement Modeling” (PSIM) Tool.

Realizing that a system component such as a foot-valve can cause unwarranted frictional loss and in turn offend optimal performance of the pump, IS-10805, the standard on foot-valves was developed. BIS operates ISI-mark licensing scheme also for foot-valves as per IS-10805.

The norms for minimum efficiency have also been periodically upgraded, so much so, that even as minimum norms, the values are close to 95% of internationally recognized “chart” efficiencies.

Technology UpgradationAcross the Industry

It is notable that meeting the norms of minimum efficiency has been greatly facilitated, especially for the small scale sector, by research institute such as Small Industries Testing and Research Centre (Si’Tarc) in Coimbatore, set up by members of Southern India Engineering Manufacturers Association (SIEMA). SIEMA got funding support for Si’Tarc from IDBI, “Project Uptech” of State Bank of India and later on from UNIDO.

Si’Tarc developed energy-efficient designs for pumps meeting norms of Indian Standards, taking into consideration the limitations of basic manufacturing facilities of small scale sector. The designs were made available to the industry at a very nominal cost.

In general, the commendable contribution of Indian Pump indusrty in the growth of agricultural sector in the country can be carried by the industry to many developing countries.

Indigenous R & D

Apart from world-renowned technologies having been absorbed through technical collaborations, which were widely prevalent prior to globalisation of Indian economy, Indian pump industry always exhibited an urge also for indigenous R&D. Near self-sufficiency in pumps for nuclear power is the most shining evidence of this urge. 

Ministry of Science and Technology also lent good motivation to such enterprise by according CSIR registration/recognition to R&D setups of many Indian pump companies.

When CFD software and techniques were not developed, capital-intensive techniques such as scale-modeling, wind-tunnel validation, high-speed photography of insipient cavitations, seismic qualification, etc. were all employed by Indian pump industry.

One can broadly consider pump-technologies into three strata of intensity and complexity

  • Technology appropriate for pumps for agriculture and domestic sector
  • Technology appropriate for pumps for industrial and public services of urban water supply and sanitation
  • Technology appropriate for pumps for
    • a. power-generation, especially for Nuclear power such as
      • primary coolant pumps of Heavy Water circuits
      • liquid sodium coolant pumps for Fast Breeder Reactors
    • b. transfer at large flow-rates as for
      • cooling water circulation in thermal power generation
      • transfer from water-rich areas to water-starving areas across hundreds of kilometers

Indian pump industry has a proud record of indigenous R&D in all three strata of technological intensities – for mass-produced pumps as for agriculture, for gigantic pumps as for interlinking rivers and for pumps for critical services as in nuclear power generation.