India’s TV makers aim to become self-reliant but over-dependence on China still a bane | Interview

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Updated: Aug 08, 2020 12:03 PM

If we talk about 15 years back,  the trade with China was not even $2 billion and now it is over $100 billion. Things have changed accumulatively, and technology has moved out of our country.

 

kodak, TV, make in india, atma nirbhar bharatWith the Atmanirbhar Bharat mission, the value addition of 10-15% by TV companies may rise to 40-50%.

Even as the local TV manufacturers step up to align with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Atma Nirbhara Bharat mission, the unavailability of components and the infrastructure to make them is a major roadblock. “Our country has no alternatives or factories of raw materials, and relies solely on China,” said Avneet Singh Marwah, Director and CEO, Super Plastronics Pvt Ltd, a Kodak brand licensee, to Financial Express Online. However, the new policy changes made by the government have been positive and we have started seeing queries on setting up plants related to new components and panel display, he added. Speaking about the difficulty faced by the local manufacturers in entering the market, he further said that we have entered the era of a new India where millennials and people above the age group of 35 years want to go for affordable brands.

Here are excerpts from the interview.

How do you see the manufacturing space post-lockdown and how can the manufacturing firms align their businesses with the Atmanirbhar Bharat mission?

With the lockdown, many companies and our leaders realized that if India will not be self-sufficient it will be very difficult for our future. If we talk about 15 years back,  the trade with China was not even 2 billion dollars and now it is more than 100 billion dollars. Things have changed accumulatively, and technology has moved out of our country which we have all realized. I have been very vocal about these topics for the past 5-7 years that India needs to build more raw material factories since we are dependent on other countries for the same. We do not even have alternatives and to create one, the government needs to put in place lucrative policies in manufacturing.

Are resources in India sufficient for TV manufacturing?

As mentioned earlier, our country has no alternatives and raw materials factories in terms of TV parts and relies solely on China. The new policy changes made by the government have been positive. We have started seeing queries on new components and panel display factories have started discussing setting up plants in India.

How is Kodak aligning with the Prime Minister’s Atmanirbhar Bharat mission?

The call for atmanirbharta or self-reliance is a great initiative by our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. We at Super Plastronics Private Limited are completely aligned to this vision as we have been making TVs in India for the last 30 years starting from CRT TVs to LED TVs. All Kodak televisions are completely made in India. With the Atmanirbhar Bharat mission, we are hoping that the value addition of 10-15% by TV companies increases to 40-50%. With the policy change, some companies are now willing to invest in India for components manufacturing as well. If in the future, there is any company planning to invest in panel display it will become a huge advantage for our country and its eco-system.

While major players are already in the market (Samsung, LG, SONY), how much space can Kodak create?

From the last two decades, it has only been the top 3 brands that captured 80% of the market share but times have changed now. We have entered the era of a new India where millennials and people above the age group of 35 years want to go for affordable brands. The prime reason is that the same technology at better or great specs is being offered at an affordable price and we have proved this with our new Kodak CA and XPRO series.

Are you satisfied with the recent relief measures for the manufacturing industry?

A power move has been taken by the government to license the CBUs. With this, we can easily start assembling TVs in India. More creation of jobs and more manufacturing units will exist, as without more assembling units you cannot have backward integration. It’s an ecosystem that needs to be followed step by step for which the government needs to make a long-term strategy for it to last.

We can see that the government has started acting against value addition for FTA and most of these components were coming from China itself, and to save customs duties, the FTA countries were exporting TV sets. We have seen the government act on the same before as well. This change will also help to stop misdeclaration of custom duty, in ports like Mudra and Calcutta where maximum misdeclaration for TV and TV parts takes place. This is creating a parallel economy and due to this, the gray market has been flourishing for an awfully long time. If the government needs to increase its revenue, it must take some serious action as in the last five years there has been a huge revenue loss of more than 3 billion dollars.

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