Semicon industry summit stresses on local manufacture to reduce import of devices

Software hub Karnataka, which is aiming to become the no. 1 destination for electronics manufacturing, will push for having one of the two proposed national chip fabrication (‘fab’) projects in the State, Minister for Information Technology S.R. Patil said on Monday.

Addressing the two-day ninth Vision Summit of the India Electronics and Semiconductor Association (IESA) here, Mr. Patil said it had submitted its plan, to set up an electronic manufacturing cluster each in Bangalore and Mysore at a cost of Rs. 85 crore, to the Union government. Eight ESDM (electronic system design and manufacturing) companies had applied to the Information Technology Department for incentives.

“We are preparing the ground for setting up ESDM clusters in brownfield and greenfield across the State, and to take electronics manufacturing beyond Bangalore,” he said.

Mr. Patil spelt out Karnataka’s recent measures, including the ESDM Policy of October 2013, the first by a State, to attract high-end electronics product creation and manufacturing companies to the State. It aims to add 2.4 lakh jobs and generate 20 per cent of the country’s targeted electronics exports of $ 80 billion by 2020.

The two-day summit organised by the IESA, titled ‘From consumption to creation’, is focussing on enhancing hardware manufacturing in India.

Exhorting manufacturing companies to invest locally, Mr. Patil cautioned, “Our import bill of electronic goods — computers, chips and mobile phones — surpassed $ 30 billion [last] year. It is estimated to be $ 42 billion by next year if we don’t initiate sincere measures to boost domestic manufacturing. We must learn lessons from small countries such as South Korea, Taiwan and Israel.”

Speakers at the summit cautioned that India, a key consumer of electronic products, but lagging in manufacturing them, should quickly start making them locally and reduce the 60 to 65 per cent import of devices.

Suggested goal

IESA Chairman Sanjeev Keskar suggested setting a goal of 25 electronic products, making 50 per cent of products locally, and starting 50 fab-less semiconductor and product innovation companies within five years.

He suggested offering a mix of incentives to original foreign and Indian companies that create and make products right here; this would improve India’s global presence besides adding two million jobs in the next five years.

Speaking from Delhi, J. Satyanarayana, Secretary, DeitY (Department of Electronics and IT) said with an estimated demand of $400 billion, it was time for electronic independence from imports.

As part of this strategy, the department had approved a Rs. 1,846-crore plan to create infrastructure for 30 electronic manufacturing clusters across the country.

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