Says Arun Gupta, MD, NTL Group in conversation with R Srinivasan.
The lighting industry in the country is in a very interesting phase right now, says Arun Gupta, MD, NTL Group.
Your views on a report that domestic LED manufacturing may reach 3.6 billion USD by 2020.
Indian manufacturing has evolved over time starting from initial industrialisation to the phase of global competitiveness, Domestic manufacturing in several verticals are manufacturing products according to global standards and are competing with the best in the segment. Today, LED lighting segment is opening up with a wide range of
opportunities for players in India, who are witnessing immense growth. The spurt in growth from energy efficient programme, increasing awareness levels and different schemes to motivate domestic players are playing a key role in shaping the industry. The industry is bound to grow at 50% CAGR and will be the next big thing in the coming years. The consistent favourable policy by the Government of India is one of the major factors for rapid development of the lighting industry in India which in turn is instrumental in motivating people to enter into manufacturing which was until now a neglected area. The Make in India is a very encouraging initiative, launched by the Prime Minister to motivate domestic manufacturing, it is also playing an important role in transforming India into a global design and manufacturing hub,
What are the opportunities and challenges for the LEDs and lighting industry in India?
The lighting industry in the country is in a very interesting phase right now. The rising disposable incomes, focus of the government on smart city projects, development of industrial corridors and replacing traditional sources of lighting with energy efficient LEDs, the opportunities are immense. The government planned projects are further expected to increase the focus on efficient source of lighting in the country. Favourable government initiatives and policies such as state and national level programmes that offer LED lighting products at subsidised rates is contributing in a huge way towards increasing adoption of LED in the country. With increasing awareness, both residential and commercial sector are adopting this technology.
Street lights is another segment which throws immense opportunity as both the Centre and state are willing to go the extra mile to replace existing lights with LEDs.
The biggest challenge comes from the government itself in its EESL programme and the industry is hoping that the government will eventually get out of direct distribution. The manufacturers have been forced to lower prices due to huge volumes and cut-throat competition. Consumers know about the pricing for EESL and want the same price points from the traditional distribution model. This has led to an unbalanced situation for manufacturers. Mushrooming of low quality production units, Chinese imports are another issue – more from the perspective of issues related to sub-standard quality and costing rather than anything else.
We also need to reduce our dependency on imported chips and micro chips as they still have to be imported at high cost resulting in several constraints in bringing the cost down.
Since NTL Lemnis is a major partner to govt initiatives to make mass adoption of LED bulbs possible, are the current awareness levels up to the mark?
We are very proud to be a part of this revolution. We have till now supplied more than 15 million bulbs and are one of the leading supplier to EESL. The transition has been virtually seamless from CFL to LEDs due to return on investment, long life, energy efficiency and with no environment hazard. The availability of LEDs and government focus to promote it nationally has caught on fast and consumers are getting much more than they bargained for.
The awareness level seems to be high in the urban population where people are ready to switch to a new technology but it will take time to reach every nook and corner of the country, however keeping EESL efficiency in promoting LEDs in farflung areas of the country, the tide has started to turn in the right direction.
Does the sector, like other power segments face an issue with imported equipment?
In the LED lamps segment, our biggest issue is the low quality of imported LED products. These low quality imported LED products damage the consumer’s perception of LED products, as they fail to perform on various parameters, like product life, light output, etc.
The Indian lighting industry has been growing at nearly 17-18% annually over the past few years. Comment on the way ahead for the LEDs and lighting sector in India.
The technology which was initially used to change incandescent bulbs is quickly replacing all kinds of sources of light. Currently the LED lighting market in India is Rs 4000 crores and is expected to reach Rs 21,000 crores by 2020. The industry is likely to grow at a CAGR of 50% in the next 5 years. The demand is likely to be increased majorly in outdoor (street and road) lighting. Consumer segment is also starting to gain momentum and consumer in general is getting aware of benefits that can accrue through adoption of this technology. The increased focus of the government to provide sustainable lighting solutions especially in the lamp category are further expected to fuel the adoption of LEDs at the grass-root level. Also, the industry is witnessing great demand in commercial projects and offices, which is further expected to add to growth in the coming days.