Anant Goenka, Chairman, Automotive Tyre Manufacturers' Association (ATMA), whose members control nearly 90 per cent of the industry capacity in the country, described Interim Budget 2019 as growth-oriented, with the kind of sharp focus on infrastructure that could throw open growth opportunities for the tyre sector.
Finance Minister Piyush Goyal allotted a sum of Rs 19,000 crore to the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), under which the construction of rural roads has tripled, and has become a game changer.
"With India poised to become a $5 trillion economy in the next five years, the country will need next-generation infrastructure in terms og roads, railways, seaports, airports, and urban transport, as rightly stated by the Finance Minister," Goenka said. "The fact that India is the fastest highway developer in the world with 27 km of highways built each day needs to be applauded. Tyres being an integral part of transport and growth ecosystem will be both a beneficiary and driver of this growth story."
"Another aspect of the Budget that is most relevant for the Tyre Industry is the focus on improving connectivity and infrastructure development in North East. India is highly deficient in natural rubber production and North East holds immense potential to meet this shortfall," Goenka explained. "However efficient transport of rubber from the North East to consuming centres in other parts of the country has been an issue. An increase in allocation for infra development in North East will certainly help."
Goenka believes inverted duty structure has been a bane of the Indian tyre industry, but notes that over the last couple of years, constructive steps have been taken by the government to partially address the issue. He says the industry is hopeful of getting further relief and believes anti-manufacturing policies such as inverted duty structure will be completely addressed in future.