It’s divine intervention that’s helping India even as China struggles to dominate the incense stick market globally, says Arjun Ranga, Managing Director of N Ranga Rao and Sons, manufacturer of agarbathi brand Cycle Pure. BusinesLine caught up with Ranga to discuss the latest offerings for the festival season and the status of puja samagri market. Excerpts:

What is the size of the puja samargi ( agarbati , dhoopbatti , loban , puja oil etc) market and what kind of growth do you expect for your company as well as the entire industry?

The puja products market is about ₹10,000 crore. Cycle Pure Agarbathies has a strong presence in Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Odisha and West Bengal, and we wish to amplify our presence in some of our other priority markets as well.

At present puja products attract 5 per cent GST. Is that affecting the market in any way?

The Centre’s move to reduce GST on puja products from 12 to 5 per cent was a fair one. The pre-GST net tax was relatively similar. However, after GST, we’ve been receiving a sizeable input credit, which is beneficial for all the stakeholders in the puja products market.

Is there any threat to your industry from Chinese products? How do you plan to tackle that?

In the global market, India has always held pole position when it comes to quality. As far as the agarbathi sector is concerned, China continues to be a supplier of raw material, and has always struggled to dominate the finished products segment.

What about competition from the unorganised sector?

The unorganised players in the country don’t pose a threat to the organised sector. They don’t standardise their products, which translates into a lack of consistency in fragrance and quality. We place strong emphasis on stringent standardisation, quality-check and delivery processes, which ensure consistency in delivering value to our customers.

Is there a strategy in place for this festival season?

As one of the leading puja products players in the market, the festival season has consistently brought us great results. Our latest efforts for the season include the launch of the Om Shanti Pure puja oil. We recently renewed our carbon neutral certification. We have also been donating Akhand Jyoti 6-feet-long agarbathies to enhance the festival celebrations.

How are you going about with brand promotion in this largely unorganised market?

For brand promotion, we maintain consistency in delivering constant value to our customers. Our new festival offers have led to a considerable increase in traffic on our website . Our mobile app Pure Prayer equips our consumers to book a purohit , access information on various rituals and watch livestreams from popular temples across the country.