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NITI Aayog Likely to Discuss Issues Facing Electronics Sector

NITI aayog

New Delhi: The premier policy body NITI Aayog is likely to take up issues faced by the electronics industry with officials from ministries of telecom, IT, commerce and finance on Monday in an attempt to fast-track its growth.

This is part of efforts by the government’s think-tank to iron out those issues and brainstorm with stakeholders — ministries and the industry — on exploring ways to attract investments and boosting local manufacturing of electronic items.

Bolstering domestic electronics manufacturing and attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) are one of the core components of the government’s ambitious Make in India programme.

“NITI Aayog has called a meeting of officials from the stakeholder ministries like telecom, IT, commerce and finance to deliberate on issues and concerns that have been raised by the industry in its discussions with the Aayog,” sources said.

Besides, the officials will also deliberate on ways to boost local manufacturing in electronics and attract more FDI, they added.

The move assumes significance as India — counted among the fastest growing markets for smartphones, TVs as well as other electronic items — imports products and components worth over USD 100 billion, which is expected to jump four-fold to $400 billion by 2020.

“India stands at a crucial juncture in terms of growth electronics is seeing. Increasing convergence of information, communication and entertainment has given a new impetus to demand for such hardware. Aayog through the meeting will try to identify core areas that need renewed vigour,” they said.

As per government and industry estimates, electronics has the potential to generate around 28 million jobs and raise as much as $100 billion in investments to set up semiconductor units, component manufacturing facilities, assembly plants, logistics hubs in the next decade.

Confirming the development, a senior government official said the meeting will discuss various initiatives that are being offered by the government as well as those which are needed to boost the sector.

“The meeting will also cover issues such as reviewing tax incentives and policy measures. Deliberations on providing more incentives like viability gap funding, regulatory clearances and ease of doing business will also come up,” he added.

A senior Communications and IT Ministry official said these discussions will help Aayog chalk out a list of initiatives and policy measure after they are throughly discussed, which will then be submitted to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

“Once everything is finalised, PMO will vet it and then this can be included in the Budget for the 2016-17 fiscal or the government can modify or create a new programme that will target electronic manufacturing and attract investments,” the official added.

In July this year, the government extended the ‘Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme’ (MSIPS) by 5 years and also expanded its scope to cover 15 new product categories.

The government has also made it easier for companies to receive incentives under the MSIPS scheme.

In August, it said proposals worth about Rs. 1.10 lakh crore have been received in the last 12 months from various firms for electronics manufacturing in India under MSIPS.

Players such as Airbus, Phillips, Thomson, Samsung, LG, Foxconn and Flextronics have evinced interest in setting up manufacturing facilities in the country.

In June this year, Japan’s SoftBank announced investment of $20 billion in setting up solar power projects in India in partnership with telecom giant Bharti Enterprises and Taiwan’s Foxconn.

The Japan-headquartered telecommunications and Internet giant, which had previously committed to invest $10 billion in India over a decade, said the three firms will set up 20 gigawatt of renewable energy projects in India.

In August, Taiwan’s Foxconn, the trade name for Hon Hai Precision Industry, signed a pact with Maharashtra to invest $5 billion over 5 years in a new electronic manufacturing facility in the state.

Considered the world’s largest contract manufacturer of electronic products, Foxconn counts Apple, BlackBerry, Xiaomi and Amazon among clients and is looking for local partners for the planned facility in the western state.

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