Earthmoving and construction equipment maker JCB India on Sunday said the COVID-19 pandemic has been an "unprecendented" experience in its 40-year journey in India, and much is at stake for the industry in the second half of 2020.
There has been some revival of construction activity, but demand is largely muted, a top official of the company said.
"This has been an extremely challenging period, as nobody could have planned for a down cycle as severe as what we witnessed. For JCB India as well, it has been an unprecedented experience in our 40 years in India," Newly- appointed Deputy CEO and Managing Director Deepak Shetty told PTI.
According to industry reports, the construction equipment industry was down by almost 40 per cent in the first half of the calendar year as compared to the corresponding period in 2019.
"We are seeing a revival of construction activity in the country. Some infrastructure projects are restarting, but the expected demand hasn't kicked in yet. The second half of the calendar year will play an important role," he said.
Shetty also hoped for infrastructure-related development to take place in the rural belts, where it has significant presence.
He said programme's like the Centre's Rs 111-crore National Infrastructure Pipeline must continue in future for a multiplier effect.
The National Infrastructure Pipeline aims to invest Rs 111 lakh crore by 2025 in a range of projects across sectors.
JCB India has factories in Delhi-NCR, Pune and Jaipur, and all of them are operating at 30-85 per cent capacity, he said. Work on another unit at Vadodara is underway, company officials said.
Asked about JCB's stand on the government's 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' vision, Shetty said its 'backhoe loader' machine is indigenised to almost 97 per cent by value.
"This machine is exported to many countries around the world. And, we are further committed to increasing the localisation levels across our product lines and working relentlessly to reduce imports," he said.
JCB India sold around 37,000 'Made in India' machines in 2019.
The company also said it is digitally equipped for the post-COVID era with machines that connect with users on a real-time basis for better asset management and increased productivity.