With the Centre imposing curbs on import of power tillers and its components, Punjab-based manufacturers foresee a huge business opportunity. They are of the view that since Punjab is a hub of agricultural machinery, there is an immense scope of manufacturing power tillers in the state if the government helps in the development of an engine.
Last week, the government imposed curbs on the import of power tillers and its components. These are mainly imported from China and account for over 30% market share in India.
“Import policy of power tillers and its components has been amended from free to restricted," the Directorate General of Foreign Trade said in a recent notification. Under the "restricted" category, the importer has to seek a licence and there is a cap on the import.
There are around 20 players in Punjab, including manufacturers, assemblers and component makers of power tillers.
“Punjab is a hub of farm machinery and making power tillers won’t be an issue. The only stumbling block is the development of an engine. If the government sets up an R&D centre at the Institute of Auto Parts and Hand Tools Technology, Ludhiana, it will be a game changer,” said US Ahuja, MD, New Swan Enterprises, Ludhiana, an assembler of power tillers.
At present, Indian power tillers are dearer by Rs 20,000 to Rs 40,000 than the imported ones. The indigenisation of the engine would bring down the cost, said Ahuja. The price of an imported tiller starts from Rs 30,000 and goes up to Rs 1.5 lakh.