Opportunities exist for setting up electronics manufacturing clusters along the Ernakulam-Palakkad industrial corridor. Kerala has the material and manpower for manufacturing silicon chips and a host of other electronic items there. The Union government will provide 50 per cent of the cost incurred for infrastructure at the clusters under the National Policy on Electronics 2012.

The State government would have to identify land for the setting up of clusters, said J. Satyanarayana, Secretary, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. He was inaugurating a workshop on opportunities in the Electronic Systems Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) sector in Kerala here on Tuesday. Domestic and foreign direct investment would be required for establishing a National Investment and Manufacturing Zone in the Ernakulam-Palakkad corridor.

Electronic security is as important as social security or food security. At the present rate, the country’s bill on import of electronics will exceed that of oil, threatening to widen the current account deficit. Infrastructure and incentives would be required to nurture manufacturing hubs in electronics, he said.

V. Somasundaran, Additional Chief Secretary (Industries and Commerce), Government of Kerala, said skilled manpower and natural gas supply initiative would be advantageous for the setting up of electronics manufacturing clusters.

Ajay Kumar, Joint Secretary, Department of Electronics and IT, Government of India, said the electronics industry assumed significance as a lot of applications in segments such as automotive and lighting were switching over to electronics technology. The low wage advantage of China has ceased and the cost of manufacturing there is bound to go up. Potential investors are looking at India as an alternative manufacturing hub. The country’s young talent pool and a national policy on electronics, conducive for growth of the industry, would facilitate the setting up of clusters. Each State could set up two to five clusters.

Madhavan Nambiar, chairman, Investment Promotion Board, stressed the need for funding research and development in the semi-conductor sector. Venture funding and public-private-participatory model of development could be brought in.

More In: Kerala | National | Kochi