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Coimbatore Wet Grinder

The Coimbatore wet grinder industry, which once thrived as an integral part of the city’s identity, is facing a grave crisis marked by declining sales and production challenges.

This topic of “Coimbatore Wet Grinder” is important from the perspective of the UPSC IAS Examination, which falls under General Studies Portion.

News

Declining Sales

  • Festival Season Downturn: Traditionally a peak season for kitchen equipment sales, the festival season now casts a bleak shadow over wet grinder manufacturers in Coimbatore.
  • Shrinking Manufacturer Count: Out of approximately 200 manufacturers that once operated, only 80-100 continue their business. A substantial number have been forced to shut their doors.
  • Government Intervention Impact: The decline in demand began over six years ago when the government initiated the distribution of free grinders to households, impacting sales negatively.
  • Changing Food Habits: Evolving food habits and lifestyles have led consumers to prefer purchasing pre-made idli/dosa batter over grinding at home, reducing the need for wet grinders.

Production Challenges

  • Demand for New Models: Dealers regularly request new grinder models, but introducing a fresh model entails a significant financial commitment of approximately ₹13 lakh for creating a die.
  • Financial Constraints: With dwindling sales, it has become financially challenging for manufacturers to release new models frequently, leading to stagnation.
  • Cluster Project Difficulties: Despite a cluster project by the Central government aimed at supporting wet grinder manufacturers, practical difficulties arise in using common facilities or engaging in joint marketing efforts.
  • GST and Supply Shortages: Manufacturers grapple with an 18% GST on grinders, further impacting profitability, while a shortage of grinding stones adds to their production woes.

Wet Grinder

What Is a Wet Grinder?

  • A wet grinder is a mechanized device used primarily for grinding food grains, particularly for South Indian cuisine.

Significance

  • Geographical Indication (GI) Tag: The Coimbatore wet grinder holds a prestigious Geographical Indication (GI) tag, acknowledging its unique identity and cultural importance.
  • Revolutionizing Home Cooking: Wet grinders have replaced manual methods of grinding food grains, offering a time-saving solution and introducing dietary diversity to households.
  • Contribution to Coimbatore: The wet grinder industry has played a pivotal role in establishing Coimbatore’s reputation as an industrial production hub, shaping its economic landscape.

Origin

  • Invented by P. Sabapathy: The wet grinder was invented in 1955 by P. Sabapathy, a high-school dropout from Coimbatore with a remarkable knack for innovation.
  • Local Innovators and Businessmen: Subsequent innovations and improvements by local inventors and businessmen like Krishnamurthy and Duraiswamy contributed to the evolution of wet grinder technology, resulting in the formation of a unique industrial cluster in Coimbatore.

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