As the countdown to the Union Budget 2020-21 has begun, KE Ranganathan, managing director of Roca Bathroom Products Pvt Ltd is hoping that the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will rationalise the Goods and Services Tax (GST) rates for the domestic bath fittings industry. “We would urge the centre to rationalise GST to 5% from the existing 18% to pare down the cost and encourage personal hygiene,” he says, adding that as a part of the Swachh Bharat Mission, it is important to make hygiene product and other sanitaryware products such as faucets and fitting to be available at an affordable rate to people for improved penetration of toilets in the country.
On the macro, Ranganathan says that he is “eager to see how our Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman provides the much-needed boost and growth impetus to our economy to be able to achieve the $5-trillion mark.” He adds: “We are expecting a growth-oriented and people-friendly budget to stimulate consumption and demand in the ecosystem. Focus on rural development and sectors that are labour-intensive such as construction, infrastructure development and irrigation, and to improve earnings of the consumer should be among the top priorities.”
Another sector, he points out, that is critical for the economy and GDP growth is real estate, and support needs to be provided to access low-cost capital for faster project completion and interventions to bring in more buyers in the market. “We know there is a demand for 40 million houses given the current population of houses vis-a-vis people. The challenge is to get genuine builders and buyers to enter the market and do the transaction. RERA is in the right direction,” he quips.