The Consumer Electronics and TV Manufacturers Association (CETMA) has initiated fresh talks with the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development to propel rural financing of televisions sets and further fuel demand in rural areas.
"We have reinitiated talks with Nabard to consider televisions as part of their portfolio," said Mr K.S. Raman, former President of CETMA, adding that it will take some time to materialise.
This initiative had been on the agenda for the last two years, but it did not materialise on the grounds that such loans would not add value to a farmer's life. But with increased awareness among the rural-folk and the concomitant rise in demand for TV sets, the association is reviving its plea to the rural development bank.
The industry body also plans to go ahead with its proposed `delinquency fund' to woo banks to offer interest-free loans. The fund is the manufacturers' guarantee to finance companies against loan offered to rural customers.
"For zero per cent finance schemes, television manufacturers are already paying some part of the interest. The delinquency fund will provide guarantee to default payments," Mr Raman said.
The association members met here to address various trade-related issues between dealers and manufacturers. The dealers complained about disparity in schemes and incentive for different dealers.
The consumer-specific complaints taken up by the dealers also included the difficulty of extended warranty and delay in customer offers.
"When companies offering five-years warranty shut shop, it is the dealers who have to face the customer wrath. We have advised the manufacturers to offer only one-year warranties on their products," said Mr Raman.
CETMA is also pleading for reduction in duty on input components of television. As per the Free Trade Agreement with Thailand, imported TV sets from Thailand, which currently invite 12.5 per cent customs duty, will be brought down to zero by September 1, 2006. However, manufacturers, who source TV components from various countries, have to pay 20 per cent duty for input components as per the general import duty rates.
"The Government has to reconsider its policy and remove the inverted rate pyramid, involving lesser duty on end-products and higher duty on components. If this continues, the domestic manufacturing sector will suffer, resulting in unemployment," said Mr Raman.