Kishangarh, Ajmer: Undeniably, R K Marble, the leading marble conglomerate of the country, has come a long way from their humble beginnings of selling marbles from a small cabin. Today, with a strength of over 3500 people working for them, R K Marble has carved their own name in stone.
The growth of the company has been a constant source of wonder and applause. Their exemplarity becomes explicit when we see the number of marble companies that have mushroomed since the start of the company in May 1989, in tall expectations of reiterating the success story of R K Marble.
The stronghold of the company over their financial grounds has been nothing short of inspirational for budding entrepreneurs. Much credit can be given to the team backed by R K Marble’s Director of Finance, Subhash Agrawal and his own, quite unprecedented visionary approach towards economic matters.
Mr. Agrawal defined the success of any company as, “A company is only successful if it has the financial stability to combat against all the struggles that may befall them. The struggles so mentioned, cover the probable losses in land, labour, capital or entrepreneurship. Financial stability of any institution is defined as its ability to resist economic shocks with an extraordinary propensity to function smoothly. Despite the hiccups in their path, R K had achieved this sort of incredible success, early on. But the journey hasn’t exactly been a cakewalk, neither for my predecessors nor for me.”
We understood the subtle inclinations of Mr. Agrawal and hence, we asked him how he thinks demonetization has influenced the marble sector as a whole and R K Marble with it. To this Mr. Agrawal replies, “While demonetization was launched as a fairytale effort to undercut black economy, counterfeiting and freezing the terror financing, the implementation of the event that, changed the economic landscape of our country, could have been more systematic and smoother as contrasted with how abrupt it was. Even if we view demonetization against the backdrop of other economic gains, it undoubtedly led to a widespread instability. The economy came to a screeching halt as the expenditures discontinued and the manufacturing took the worst hit, coming to an all-time low.”
When the schemes that aim to shape and revolutionize the economic structure of the country are launched, a state of unease amongst the entrepreneurs, and often outspoken dissent, is seen. Many opposed the changes in the prevalent system of levying taxes on goods and services in the form of GST.
We asked Mr. Agrawal how tectonically did the aftermath of the launching of GST on July 1, 2017, influence the marble sector. Mr. Agrawal replies, “GST singularly brought home the instability to the marble sector. Previously, the two types of taxes were levied on the marble sector i.e. Excise Duty at INR 60 per square meter and the Value Added Tax, levied as specific rate of duty. Subject to the quality of marble, VAT varied from INR 9 per sqft for imported marble, to INR 1.50 per sqft for domestic marble. Effectively, this rate approximated to 8% on imported marble and 14% on domestic marble, whereas GST on marbles rose as high as 28%. The tax eventually affected the end-user and put R K Marble’s dedication to bring cost-effective marble solutions to every one of our customers in a limbo. It was clear that, GST was unfortunately influencing the buying power of our customers”.
The strike that was launched in opposition to this tax slab, consequently affected sales and operation. But finally, the government relented and reduced the GST on polished marble to 18% after which the strike was rescinded and the marble industry returned back to the track.”
R K Marble, the largest of the many marble companies at the marble hub of Asia, Kishangarh, has led the marble industry since decades.
After over one and half year of launching of demonetization and over six months of GST being in place, Mr. Agrawal replies to the prospect of growth in the marble industry in the future, “Indian economy has managed to beat these odds. The economic reforms should help the end-user. So long as this happens, the economy will flourish. The market is blooming once again after repeated amendments in GST, and though the previous pace of the economy had been slow, it was definitely in a forward direction. We expect these baby steps to flourish as significant laps, eventually. The marble industry has bounced back with rigor and vigor.”