Working on ways to scrutinise equipment imports from neighbouring countries: Vaishnaw | The Financial Express

Working on ways to scrutinise equipment imports from neighbouring countries: Vaishnaw

“From my assessment and interaction, the industry is quite confident that they are getting good traction and India should become a technology exporter in the coming years in a very sure and certain way,” Vaishnaw said.

Working on ways to scrutinise equipment imports from neighbouring countries: Vaishnaw
The telecom equipment makers have urged the government to increase vigilance at the customs.

The government will come up with a methodology to check imports from neighbouring countries related to infiltration of telecom equipment, communications minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said on Saturday.

“We have discussed the matter (checking equipment coming from neighbouring countries) with officials from the customs department, finance ministry, and other government departments. We will work on ways to check the issues in a methodical way,” Vaishnaw said on the sidelines of the CEOs’ roundtable conference on PLI scheme for telecom products.

The comments from the minister assume significance as equipment makers in India expressed concerns over infiltration of equipment coming from neighbouring countries, especially China. The telecom equipment makers have urged the government to increase vigilance at the customs.

At a time when the government has banned the use of non-trusted telecom gear for communication networks, issues related to infiltration not only pose a concern over national security but also takes the business away from trusted domestic companies that are selling products to telecom companies, a senior executive of a telecom equipment company said.

Also Read: Govt to tighten scrutiny of imports; sets up 4-5 task forces to boost telecom manufacturing

“We have evidence that the product comes from China to India and is labeled as Made in India brand. Those companies are registered with the GEM’s portal (government e-marketplace) and from there the supplies are made to the entities across the country,” said another industry executive, who was part of the CEOs’ roundtable conference, on condition of anonymity.

The conference was attended by top representatives of 42 companies including Nokia, Samsung, Jabil, HFCL and Tejas Networks, among others, who got approval from the government for PLI and DLI (design-linked incentive) schemes for telecom products. Besides, representative of telecom companies and other government officials from different ministries were also part of the interaction.

In a bid to boost the manufacturing of telecom equipment, the government also took some decisions including setting up four to five taskforces for developing the component ecosystem in the country, developing some chipsets (used in radio equipments) and bringing them into production, developing highly-skilled designers and workers in the telecom sector, and for simplifying testing and certification of equipment.

“From my assessment and interaction, the industry is quite confident that they are getting good traction and India should become a technology exporter in the coming years in a very sure and certain way,” Vaishnaw said.

Given that the country is looking to fastrack the 5G deployment and take a lead in upcoming 6G technology, it is necessary for the local manufacturing of equipment to pick up pace and that can only happen with timely incentives from the government as well as efforts from the companies, another industry executive said.

“In order to facilitate market support for PLI participants, especially MSMEs, the government has also created a taskforce which will aggregate the demands from industries such as railways, defence, power, and the requirements will be passed on to them,” Vaishnaw said.

In February 2021, the government had introduced the PLI scheme for manufacturing of telecom and networking equipment with an outlay of Rs 12,195 crore over a five-year period. The government in June this year approved 31 companies, including Dixon Technologies, Nokia India and Foxconn, to manufacture telecom equipment under the scheme.

Further, the government amended the existing scheme to include design-led manufacturers into it. The existing companies under the PLI scheme for telecom and networking products were allowed to add more products and apply under the design-led incentive scheme with an additional incentive of 1% over the existing incentive rates.

For the design-linked scheme, the government has kept aside Rs 4,000 crore as incentives out of the total outlay of Rs 12,195 crore.

As per the changes, the companies were given an option to choose FY22 or FY23 as the first year of incentive, while the duration of the scheme remains five years.

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First published on: 04-12-2022 at 05:15 IST