The National Telecom Policy 2012 has framed several objectives to make the Indian telecom industry flourish by 2020. One of the major objectives of this policy is to make India a global hub for telecom equipment manufacturing.
The proposed objective seeks to promote innovation, indigenous R&D and manufacturing to serve domestic and global markets, by increasing skills and competencies.
In addition, the new policy recommends creating a corpus to promote indigenous R&D, IPR creation, entrepreneurship, manufacturing, commercialization and deployment of state of the art telecom products and services during the 12th five year plan period.
However, the question remains unanswered whether all these objectives are achievable or not. With such regulatory uncertainty over the industry, the idea of establishing a global hub of telecom equipment manufacturing seems too flimsy.
Ashok K. Aggarwal, director general of the Indian Telecom Equipment Manufacturers Association (TEMA) said that such rosy statements about the manufacturing sector have also been made earlier in NTP 1994 and NTP 1999. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has also been candidly expressing his deep concern about the stagnant manufacturing sector at various forums and an express need to make India not only self-reliant, but also a great player in the international market.
“TEMA feels that these flowery statements are only clap traps and no useful purpose would be served unless and until Preferential Market Access is provided to products developed and produced in India,” he added.
In India, telecom vendors import most of the telecom equipments of their requirement, while very few percent of equipments get manufactured domestically. As per estimations, India’s telecom equipment import bills are soon going to reach the figure of Rs 2500 billion.
If India implements focused approach in fulfilling the proposed objectives, it will surely become self-reliant in coming years. Also, it would result in a significant contribution to the national GDP and creation of large scale employment at various levels.