Salt Industry In India

India is the third largest Salt producing Country in the World after China and USA with Global annual production being about 230 million tonnes. The growth and achievement of Salt Industry over the last 60 years has been spectacular. When India attained Independence in 1947, salt was being imported from the United Kingdom & Adens to meet its domestic requirement. But today it has not only achieved self-sufficiency in production of salt to meet its domestic requirement but also in a position of exporting surplus salt to foreign countries. The production of salt during 1947 was 1.9 million tones which has increased tenfold to record 22.18 million tones during 2011-12.

Salt Economics

The main sources of salt in India are

  • Sea brine

  • Lake brine

  • Sub-soil brine and

  • Rock salt deposits


Sea water is an inexhaustible source of salt. Salt production along the coast is limited by weather and soil conditions. The major salt producing centres are Marine Salt works along the coast of Gujarat (Jamnagar, Mithapur,Jhakhar, Chira, Bhavnagar, Rajula, Dahej, Gandhidham, Kandla, Maliya, Lavanpur), Tamil Nadu (Tuticorin, Vedaranyam, Covelong), Andhra Pradesh (Chinnaganjam, Iskapalli, Krishnapatnam, Kakinada & Naupada), Maharashtra(Bhandup, Bhayandar, Palghar), Orissa (Ganjam, Sumadi) and West Bengal (Contai)

Inland Salt Works in Rajasthan using lake brine and sub-soil brine viz. Sambhar Lake, Nawa, Rajas, Kuchhaman, Sujangarh and Phalodi Rock Salt Deposits at Mandi in the State of Himachal Pradesh.


There are about 11799 salt manufacturers engaged in production of Common salt in an extent of about 6.09 lakh acres in the Country. It is estimated that 87.6 per cent of the total number of salt manufacturers are small salt producers (having an individual extent of less than 10 acres for salt manufacture), 5.8% is large scale producers (having an individual extent of more than 100 acres) and 6.6 % is medium scale producers (having an individual extent between 10 and 100 acres) Average Annual Production of Salt in India is 215.80 lakh tones whereas ever high production of 240 lakh tones was recorded during 2009-10 followed by 221 lakh tonnes during 2012-13 (Upto 2/13). Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan are surplus Salt producing States accounting for about 96 per cent of the Countrys production. Gujarat contributes 76.7 per cent to the total production, followed by Tamil Nadu (11.16 %) and Rajasthan (9.86%). The rest 2.28% production comes from Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Karnataka, West Bengal, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Diu & Daman. On an average 62% of the total production is from Large salt producers followed by small scale producers (28%) and rest by medium scale producers. The average annual supplies of salt for human consumption is about 59 lakh tonnes and that for industrial consumption is about 107 lakh tones; 60% of the salt for human consumption moves by rail and 40 % by road. 88% of the salt for industrial consumption moves by road, 10 % by rail and 2% by coastal shipment to various industries; when the total indigenous supplies is taken, 72 per cent moves by road, 27% moves by rail and 1% by sea

India exports surplus production of salt to the tune of about 35 lakh tonnes on an average; During the year 2011-12, a record export of 38 lakh tonnes was achieved primarily due to surge of demand from China. Other major countries importing salt from India are Japan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, South Korea, North Korea, Malaysia, U.A.E., Vietnam, Quatar etc. Government of India has adopted the strategy of Universal Salt Iodisation and Consumption for elimination of Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDD) in the country under the National Iodine Deficiency Disorders Control Programme(NIDDCP). Iodine is supplemented in the diet through Iodised Salt for combating IDD. The Programme was started in 1962 initially confining to Goitre endemic areas but after 1984 it was implemented throughout the country. Thus as on date a significant progress has been made on Universal Salt Iodisation. The country produces about 62 lakh tones of Iodised salt and about 59.7akh tones of iodised salt is supplied for human consumption against the requirement of about 60.5 lakh tones for entire population. The country has created more than adequate salt iodisation capacity of over 175 lakh tones. Salt Industry is Labour intensive in the country. About 1.11 lakh labourers are employed daily in the Salt Industry on an average. Salt Commissioners Organisation has put in place a number of Labour Welfare Schemes ameliorating the working and living conditions of salt labourers.


Salt is a Central subject in the Constitution of India and appears as item No.58 of the Union List of the 7 th Schedule, which reads:

  • Manufacture, Supply and Distribution of Salt by Union Agencies; and

  • Regulation and control of manufacture, supply and distribution of salt by other agencies.

Central Government is responsible for controlling all aspects of the Salt Industry. Salt Commissioners Organisation, an attached Office under the Ministry of Commerce & Industry (Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion), Government of India, is entrusted with the above task.

Government of India has delicensed Salt Industry by deleting provisions relating to Salt in the Central Excise & Salt Act, 1944 vide Finance Bill of 1996-97. In line with Government of Indias Policy of Liberalisation and simplification of Procedures, the Salt Cess Rules, 1964, have been amended vide Notification No.GSR 639(E) dated 04.09.2001. Salt Commissioners Organisation plays a facilitating role in overall growth and development of Salt Industry in the country.

Top 5 Largest Salt Production States of India:

India is the third largest producer of salt in the world, Major salt producing states of India are Gujarat, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Odisha.


Gujarat is the largest salt producer state of India and third largest in the world. The state contributes 76 percent to the total salt production in India, Kharaghoda,Bhavnagar, Porbandar and Rann of Kutch of Gujarat are major salt produced districts.

Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu is second largest producers of salt in India after Gujarat. The state contributes 12 percent, Thoothukudi, Ramanathapuram, Ngapattinam, Viluppuram and Kancheepuram are the major salt produced districts.


Rajasthan is third largest salt producing State in India and contributes 8 percent of salt production. Sambhar Salt Lake is the source of most of Rajasthans salt and Indias largest saline lake as well as recognized wetland of international importance.


Maharashtra is one of the four leading salt producers state of India. Salt manufactured by solar evaporation of sea water around the coast of Maharashtra.

Andhra Pradesh

Andhra Pradesh coastline producers 2.28 percent of salt along with Orissa, Karnataka,West Bengal,Diu Daman and Goa. Nellore to Srikakulam are marine salt industry in Andhra Pradesh.Sanikatta is the oldest salt manufacturing village in Karnataka State and Ganjam is the place for salt manufacturing in Odisha.

A look at salt production in India:

Gujarat is the largest salt producer of India, accounting for about 70 percent of the total 27 million tonnes produced annually.

India is the worlds third-largest producer of salt, after the US and China. The country produces about 27 million tonnes of the product that is synonymous with loyalty, inspiring many Hindi film dialogues and advertisement campaigns. The major salt producing states in India are Gujarat, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. Gujarat produces about 70 percent of the total salt, followed by Tamil Nadu and Gujarat.

In 2014-15, the total salt production stood at 268.87 lakh (26.88 million) tonnes from approximately 6.16 lakh acres of land, according to an update by the Indian government on August 7, 2015.

The total human consumption of salt in India is about 59 lakh tonnes annually, with the rest about 107 lakh tonnes consumed by industries, according to Tata Chemicals, one of India's corporate salt producers. The products identification with loyalty led to many famous Hindi film dialogues; the one that many movie buffs would recall is the conversation between the villain and one of his henchmen in the 1975-blockbuster Sholay ("Sardar, maine toh aapka namak khaya hai"). Salt's tryst with the independence movement is also legendary in India, when Mahatma Gandhi took out a protest in 1930 against the ban imposed by the British on production and distribution of salt by Indians. The act of defiance, led by Gandhi, started from his ashram at Sabarmati in Ahmedabad on March 12, 1930 and ended at Dandi, near Surat on April 6 when he and his followers picked up salt from the shore, symbolically conveying their protest against the British ban.

Tata Chemicals sold vacuum and iodised salt worth Rs. 1,248 crore in 2015-16, according to its FY2016 annual report. The company claims to have a market share of 68.5 percent in the National Branded Salt segment, citing Nielsen retail Audit March 2016.

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