Schneider Electric India is a French multinational corporation that focuses on energy management and automation solutions. The company is expanding its electrical retail business in eastern India. BE’s Shiwani Kumar spoke to Ramesh Jha, Regional Sales Head, Schneider Electric India, regarding his plans for the company and on possible oppurtunities that lie in recent government initiatives. Q. How much have you invested in eastern India?A. The retail market for low voltage electronic products in eastern India is pegged at around `500 crore. We have plans to acquire a bigger market share in the `5000 crore market for low voltage electrical products like MCBs, RCBs, distribution boards, switches, and sockets across India.Q. What is the aim of your mobile van campaign ‘Switch on India’?A. The main aim of this initiative is to reach the end customers across eastern India. Through this campaign, we aim to showcase our green low-voltage products and engage with local electricians and retailers to generate awareness and efficiency. The vans will display our products. A total of eight such vans will travel across different electrical markets and cover around 100 cities over the next month. The mobile van campaign emphasises our commitment towards a green India and towards spreading alertness regarding safety, standardisation and sustainable solutions for the end users.Q. How do plan to figure in the various developmental processes in the country? A. We are associated with the ‘Smart City Mission’ and ‘Digital India’ initiatives of the government. We are executing a training programme under which we have trained more than 50,000 electricians. We also plan to open training centres in 500 districts across the country and set up a centre of excellence focused on solar power. We have also partnered with the department of skill development and entrepreneurship to address the deficit of skilled manpower in India’s power sector. The company will also support 100 basic electrician labs under PMKVY.Q. What challenges did you face in expanding business in eastern India?A. Our primary challenge is to educate our consumers, partners, and electricians on the products. In the case of products such as switches, sockets and distribution boards, adhering to quality and safety standards is essential. We want to educate our customers to go for products which are safe and reliable.Q. How will the Goods and Services Tax (GST) affect your market?A. The GST is an initiative that will take us closer to a uniform tax regime in India. But we have to wait and see how it affects our sector. Our company is fully prepared for the post-GST regime. We do not see a lot of operational challenges in selling our products and everything else is dependent on the market.Q. How is electronic retail business performing in India? A. Electrical business in India has seen growth. Some say that it has been around 4-5% and some say it has grown by 8-9%. We focus on providing good safe and reliable products. We have seen good potential in eastern India and we will continue to focus on the region.