By Richa Chakravarty
The government aims to make India an electronics hub by achieving a turnover of US$ 400 billion for the sector by 2020, along with creating employment for 28 million more people. With such mammoth plans under consideration, the government has proactively launched various schemes that range from offering financial support to taking steps to boost indigenous manufacturing.
Designed to infuse greater vitality and give an impetus to the domestic industry in terms of output, employment, exports and instilling technology awareness, various policies and schemes are being introduced from time to time. Various government departments like the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY), National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC), etc, have several schemes for manufacturers and traders.
India’s electronics industry is still at a nascent stage where a lot of handholding and initiatives from the government is required for the industry to flourish. Hence, the government’s effort to launch new schemes with the aim to boost the industry is commendable. However, the industry is unaware of these schemes or the benefits they offer. Despite a number of schemes listed on government websites of different departments, their popularity seems to be negligible. Is this because the government lacks the ability to promote them adequately? Or is it because the industry is not interested in availing the benefits offered by these schemes as the process is cumbersome and lengthy? Let’s analyse some of the reasons why the intended beneficiaries are not enjoying the advantages of the schemes offered.
Reasons for lack of awareness
The objective of such schemes is to improve trade conditions, promote innovation and R&D, reduce manufacturing costs and provide financial assistance. However, all the efforts made by the government are pointless if these benefits go unnoticed by the industry. Here are some of the reasons why industry remains in the dark about these policies and schemes.
Inept promotion: One of the major reasons for the inadequate adoption of the schemes introduced by the government is lack of promotional activities. While the details of the schemes are available on government websites, it is equally important to promote them through various other mediums. Traders and manufacturers who are registered members of trade associations have easy accessibility to relevant information about these schemes, but others have to individually surf through various government websites for relevant information.
Incomplete information: Some of the government websites do list out various schemes, but the complete information is not available. Hence, it is difficult to get all the details regarding the eligibility criteria to avail the benefits, the amount of financial assistance provided by the government (sometimes the percentages and figures given are difficult to understand), the details regarding the submission of online forms, etc. The language used on these government websites is also very complex and does not convey the information in a direct and easy to understand manner.
Difficulties in approaching the right source: As every scheme is headed by different government officials, and no one other than the designated person is allowed to pass on information, even getting to meet the right person in order to learn about the details of the schemes becomes a long and difficult process. Sometimes, one has to meet officials at several levels before getting access to the right person. In short, even accessing basic information is not a smooth process.
Slow process: Though there are various schemes targeting individual traders and manufacturers, the process of availing these benefits is very slow. For those interested, it is advisable to approach the government through an association or a group. Raising concerns or issues collectively seems to elicit a faster response from the bureaucracy than the individual approach.
While the intention of the government to propel the sector forward is appreciable, there are several gaps that need to be bridged. Hence, the government should promote these schemes on a wider scale and make it more approachable for anybody in the industry, particularly the SMEs.