In the view of Jimmy Mistry, Chairman & Managing Director, Della, “the key challenge for any designer is “to balance form and functionality”. He adds, “The size of our bathrooms and washrooms is always compared.” So, people pick up global images, where bathroom sizes are way larger than what we see in India right now. The same goes for fixtures like shower heads. Another major challenge is slowdown in housing construction. However, as Sanghvi says, “The latest Budget with a boost to affordable housing will certainly herald a brighter future.”
Another point to consider is that ceramic tiles, once considered a luxury, are now a basic construction element. In fact, they are cheaper and more environment-friendly than marble and granite. “This transition requires consideration in terms of taxation as it will further help initiatives like Swachh Bharat and affordable housing,” avers Dinesh Vyas, Marketing Head, H&R Johnson.
Further, transportation, packaging, poor material handling and road conditions result in much wastage, coupled with factory production wastage. “The industry has to evolve to better processes,” says Subrata Basu, Vice President-Design, Nitco. Also, the industry struggles with spiralling price cutting and no consensus to improve work conditions. He adds, “The industry body has to support and drive better work practices and skilled workforce for this sector to thrive.”
To conclude, Kamlesh Patel, Chairman and Managing Director, Asian Granito India, shares his recommendations for industry growth:
We expect the Government to continue its special thrust on the rural economy, social-sector reforms, infrastructure and housing. It should adopt softer interest rates for now and roll out a bigger tax benefit for individual and corporates aiming to increase the investment-capex cycle, boosting demand and GDP growth.
While the Indian ceramic industry will aim to be green and environment-complaint, it wants the Government to ensure maximum compliance for GST and strict implementation of the e-way bill.
As tiles are an essential commodity for housing and sanitation, we request the Government to lower the GST to 12 per cent from the current 18 per cent. Power and fuel (largely gas) costs account for 20-25 per cent of revenues for the industry and we would like the Government to rationalise this by lowering duties.
We welcome the Budget proposals for the growth of the tile and marble business. The proposed increase in basic customs duty on tile and ceramic products to 15 per cent from the existing 10 per cent will safeguard the domestic industry from cheap imports and strengthen it further!