“RATA focuses on highlighting commercial issues”
Established in 1949, Refrigeration & Air-Conditioning Trades Association Ltd (RATA) is one of the oldest association working for the development of air conditioning and refrigeration industry in India. Ajit Panicker, Secretary, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Trade Association (RATA) gives a glimpse of different aspects of RATA, trends, growth drivers, opportunities in the HVAC&R industry in an exclusive interaction with Supriya Oundhakar…
What is the role of Refrigeration and Air conditioning Trade Association (RATA) while giving support to the Indian refrigeration and air conditioning Sector?
Our primary focus is to bring all the members associated within the trade under one banner. We continue to engage with various MSMEs in this trade who are involved in manufacturing, trading, imports, service providers, sales and service dealers, retailers in the field of air conditioning and refrigeration. RATA focuses on highlighting the various commercial related issues that affect our trade with respective trade bodies. It also aims at bringing together various regional associations and societies together to help the trade grow. RATA also aims at ensuring that the technical capabilities or other success stories of our associated societies reach out to all the trade members.
Please brief us about RATA’s activities for promotion of the sector.
RATA focuses on mitigating challenges that the trade foresees for its members. The activities for the promotion of the industry conducted by RATA are as below:
VRF Mela: Most sales and service dealers have seen their sales dwindling with the advent of the organised large format retail markets and the online sales. These are two market developments which could make it difficult for the dealers to grow and sustain their business. RATA focuses on encouraging most of such affected members in moving up the value chain by offering more technical products like the VRF system for their customers. This would be a new area of opportunity for the sales and service dealers to be part of the growing product segment. VRF Mela is an activity being held in every town in order to introduce opportunities the VRF segment offers to its dealers. It explains the way to build and transform their business and how to prepare for this transition. The Mela also introduces them to potential companies and suppliers for the VRF business. Over the last few years a number of brands have launched their VRF products and we believe quite a few more will be available in the Indian market as this product segment gathers popularity. RATA can help bridge the need of the OEM for new dealers offering these VRF solutions. VRF Melas in Mumbai, Bangalore and Surat have received responses like never before and over the years at RATA we hope to connect OEMs with potential new VRF dealers.
RATA - ICICI Skills Academy: Manpower is a challenge faced by our trade members. RATA has associated with ICICI Skills Academy to help them manage air conditioning technician course and ensuring youngsters are skilled to make a beginning in the trade and ensuring they are offered jobs by our trade members. Last year RATA has helped over 200 such placements and we hope to increase these numbers exponentially in the coming years.
What are the growth drivers of Indian Refrigeration and Air conditioning sector?
Growing economy will continue to be the growth drivers with the new policies driven by the government. The HVAC industry should see remarkable growth as the new infrastructure projects has gained momentum.
What are the current trends in the sector?
We have witnessed a generic slowdown last year. It is mainly attributed to the tough economic conditions and could only be a stepping stone for the growth. The VRF segment has seen exponential growth and now it seems to be the most promising product segment in the HVAC trade.
What kind of opportunities do you look forward for the sector with the government’s roll out of 100 smart cities project and the government’s emphasis on smart urban transportation (particularly metro projects)?
Smart Cities and Metro projects will help to increase growth in the requirement of air conditioning projects. MSMEs stand to benefit by providing installation and services for these requirements. RATA is proposing to the government that registered MSMEs to be protected under their schemes and ensured their payments from these large corporate, thereby, maintaining their business cash flows.
Most trades have come together for ensuring their fair share in India’s growth thus benefitting their business. Unfortunately, our HVAC trade has been lagging behind in uniting for a common benefit. The achievements of our various societies have been remarkable in the field of training and imparting knowledge to the trade.
According to you, what are measures to be taken for improving energy efficiency and indoor air quality?
Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) Check testing should be actively pursued to ensure the current labeling systems’ adherence by OEMs. The invertors system should move towards mandatory labeling scheme. This would help customers in choosing the current product. Indoor Air Quality norms should be clearly defined and a conscious method needs to be introduced in implementing the system. Especially, in large applications guidelines for the same and testing for IAQ should be gradually enforced. The need of the hour is also to sensitise solution providers and the customers on the aspects of IAQ.
What are the solutions and services offered by the association keeping in mind rising global warming?
RATA is concerned about the issue of global warming and the role the Indian HVAC industry for reducing the same. RATA actively engages with the OZONE cell of the Government and helps in implementation of their programs especially helping the trade in adopting green refrigerants. RATA has conducted various training programs on green gases with the sole focus on encouraging trade members for moving towards equipment with green gases.
What are major areas where you are contributing to?
Our focus is on helping trade members in scaling up their business and adopting various changes. Digitization is a huge change affecting all businesses. At RATA, we are planning various programs in helping our trade members in digitization of their business. The IT revolution is leading to various changes in managing services for MSMEs. We believe faster adoption of such technology ensuring better profits and faster scalability for MSMEs in our trade.
Did your expectations fulfill for the sector from Union Budget 2017-18?
There wasn’t anything specific for the industry except the introduction of GST which would help smaller trade members to do business easily in other states and scale up their business.
What are your expectations from the government for the growth of the sector?
The government needs to recognize large presence of MSMEs in the HVAC trade and help in terms of low cost finance. We expects the government to ensure that large corporate do not harass MSMEs especially in terms of due payments.
What are your suggestions to the Indian HVAC&R trade members?
Most trades have come together for ensuring their fair share in India’s growth, thus benefitting their business. Unfortunately, our HVAC trade has been lagging behind in uniting for a common benefit. The achievements of our various societies have been remarkable in the field of training and imparting knowledge to the trade. It is necessary to build a platform where commercial issues and other challenges faced by MSMEs of the HVAC trade are addressed so that our trade is not deprived of a fair share in India’s growth.
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