Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious “Make in India” campaign has energised the domestic electronics system design and manufacturing...
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious “Make in India” campaign has energised the domestic electronics system design and manufacturing (ESDM) industry that hopes to capitalise on various policy initiatives and reduce dependance on imports. In an interview with PP Thimmaya, India Electronics & Semiconductor Association (IESA) president MN Vidyashankar said the green shoots in electronic manufacturing will be visible 2015 onwards. Excerpts:
How has the ESDM industry fared in 2014?
The year 2014 was a good one for the swector as many of the policies were put in place by the government. Now, it is the responsibility of the industry to take it forward. On the Electronic Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme (MSIPS), about 45% of the applications were from the members of IESA. Once these projects are cleared, green shoots in manufacturing will likely emerge in the first half of 2015. In the Electronics Manufacturing Cluster (EMC) scheme, there are 11 such clusters planned and are in different stages of progress. In Karnataka, there are four, three in Maharashtra, two in Kerala and one each in Jharkhand and Odisha. Some of these are in advanced stages. States like Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh, too, have shown interest in the scheme. We expect manufacturing to take off in a big way through the MSIPs and EMC schemes. The biggest initiative will be the Delhi Electropreneur Park. The year 2015 should see a lot of development in prototyping in the electronics space.
How is IESA enabling the growth of the industry?
The year 2014 was a good one for IESA primarily for two reasons. In terms of showcasing the strength and capability in the ESDM space, earlier we had vision summit in February. But now, we cover two other big events, Deftronics and tying up with CEBIT, creating more opportunities for the members. Electronics comprises around 65-70% of the nation’s defence budget and Deftronics has been very good for us in the sense that it gave us information on the capability of defence production in the private sector. The ministry of defence took several decisions following our meeting. One of them was, if there is a capability in the private sector, the defence PSUs will not produce. Secondly, there was the formation of a small working group which would chalk out the short, medium and long-term plans on production and how it can be dovetailed with defence requirements. There is also a move to create a separate policy on defence electronics. We see a huge scope for the private sector in the manufacturing space. We expect a lot of spinoffs from the two events.
How is the ESDM sector connecting with the startup community?
We are trying to develop the country’s biggest cluster for startups in Bangalore. We are trying to promote around 100 startups and as of now we have got 30 applications mainly in the internet-of-things (IoT) space. We will make it as congenial as possible for startups to begin their operations and through in the first 18 months. We are looking at a 360-degree intervention. It is not just an incubation centre but also how do we take it into prototyping, production and going to market. There will also be a mentorship community and some of the leading names in this industry have come forward to be part of this programme.
How do you see the policy environment today?
Today, we hear all the right noises on the manufacturing sector in India. What is left now is to narrow down the gap between commitment and action on the ground. Many of the global players have evinced interest. Land availability is the biggest challenge in launching operations. We have identified available land parcels across the country and are trying to see where we can fit them.
In what area of electronics manufacturing, can India make a mark?
It has to be IoT. Various studies indicate that by 2020, there will be 50-billion devices connected to internet, creating a $19-trillion industry. IoT is ESDM intensive. If one looks at all the components, electronics takes the biggest pie. In my view, IoT can be effective in the country be it health, education or delivery of public services. Today, there is no first mover advantage or entry barrier in this segment, it is a greenfield area. If we can make a dent with IoT, we could do more than any other country.