According to a report in the Economic Times, the new trade association brings together soft drinks manufacturers, bottlers and other suppliers to represent the industry and create a singe point of interaction with the Indian government.
The Indian Soft Drinks Manufacturers Association (ISDMA), which represented Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, will be merged into the new organsiation.
Explaining why there was a need to found a new trade body, IBA’s secretary general Arvind Varma said: “Non-alcoholic beverages are on a growth trajectory but so far there has not been a comprehensive organisation representing the industry.”
IBA is being set up along the lines of other major beverage trade bodies like the American Beverage Association and the British Soft Drinks Association. It will be tasked with lobbying government on behalf of the industry on issues like taxation, industry guidelines and regulations.
VAT is likely to be high on the agenda, as the Delhi government increased rates in the capital city on soft drinks from 12.5 per cent to 20 per cent last year.
IBA will also defend the beverage industry from allegations leveled at it from health activists and environmental campaigners.
In India, water scarcity is one of the key environmental issues facing the likes of Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, which have both been accused of water mismanagement. At the end of last year for example, 2,000 villagers marched on the Coca-Cola bottling plant in Mehdiganj in northern India calling for it to be closed, accusing the company of over-extracting water and depleting the local water tables.
So far, the Economic Times said Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Dubar, Tetra Pak, Red Bull, Pearl Drinks, Bengal Beverages, and Jain Irrigation Systems have all joined IBA, and 30-40 others are set to join in due course.