By EB Bureau
The government has taken up a series of policy initiatives and programmes in the field of ICT (information and communication technologies) to implement the agenda of the Eleventh Plan. Speaking at the inaugural session of the ELCINA-EFY CEO Summit, Dr Ashwani Kumar, Minister of State for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences said, “The challenge is to make our development inclusive, sustainable and enduring, to create a leading global position in the area of electronics and IT hardware manufacturing.”
The minister also inaugurated the three-day Electronics For You Expo 2011, north India’s mega electronics exhibition, which concluded successfully on February 19, 2011. The minister informed the audience that a task force constituted by the Department of Information Technology, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, has suggested several measures for the rapid growth of the electronics industry and has charted out a roadmap for the industry in the medium and long term. The government has identified five major initiatives from this report, which include setting up the National Electronics Mission; setting up the Electronics Development Fund; creating policies for preferential access to Indian electronic goods for all government procurements; setting up semiconductor wafer fabs; and encouraging the manufacture of specific high priority electronic product lines in India by providing capital grants and the creation of electronics manufacturing clusters.
“The demand for electronics hardware is poised for exponential growth on account of many aspects, namely, sustained GDP growth of 8 per cent, leading to growth in per capita income and consequently, higher spending on electronics, etc,” the minister said.
Looking at the long term development in this sector, Ashwani Kumar said, “The electronics hardware sector has the potential to contribute about 20 per cent of India’s GDP by 2010. It is time for us to create a conducive policy framework for the establishment of the electronics manufacturing industry, covering the entire spectrum starting from components to sub-assemblies and integrated chips.
“Electronics has penetrated all facets of our economic and social life and it is hard to imagine a product or service without its share of electronics. Hence, it is imperative that we develop and sustain hardware manufacturing activities in the country to meet our strategic and defence needs and also to ensure the competitive edge of our economy,” he said.
While handset manufacturing has grown rapidly in India, it is heavily dependent on imports and has low value addition. Also, it lacks a value chain of components and parts. Around 90 per cent of components/parts by value are imported. “Clearly, we need to catch up. There is also a need to nurture the establishment of electronics manufacturing clusters and develop them into centres of excellence, while encouraging the setting up of new clusters,” he added.