Govt may share DRDO, CSIR research with electronics industry

Electronics hardware includes IT, telecom, consumer durables like televison sets, set-top-boxes and other gadgets.

Speaking at Electronics Expo here, Minister of State for Science and Technology Ashwani Kumar said, "The government is actively considering if research done by prominent government institutions, namely the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), can be shared with indigenous manufacturers for product development."

Domestic electronics production, which is under acute pressure from cheap imports, has the potential to contribute 20 per cent to the nation's gross domestic product (GDP) by 2020.

Industry estimates show that demand for electronics products in the country will touch USD 400 billion by 2020.

"With the existing rate of growth, the production of electronics hardware in the country is likely to grow to USD 104 billion by 2020, creating a demand and supply gap of USD 296 billion, which would have to be met through imports," he said.

The electronics hardware sector has the potential to contribute about 20 per cent to the GDP by 2020. It is "time for us to act now", Kumar said.

He cautioned that if efforts to increase indigenous production of electronics hardware are not made now, India's electronics hardware import bill will exceed that of oil.

"If we want to ensure that there is no perpetuity of trade deficit, then we have to focus on building indigenous capability in the electronics hardware sector," he said.

As part of the government's efforts to promote indigenous industry, he noted that the Department of Information Technology has submitted the report of an IT Task Force to the Planning Commission and his ministry was also actively involved in working on the recommendations given in the report.

The IT Task force report carried the recommendations of domestic industry trade bodies on steps necessary to promote the production of electronics hardware in the country.

Kumar cited the example of the telecom sector, which is growing at a very rapid pace, but value addition by domestic players is very low.

"While handset manufacturing has grown rapidly in India, it is dependent heavily on imports, with low value addition. Around 90 per cent of components and parts by value are imported," he said.

He mentioned that the government is actively considering giving preference to manufactured-in-India products under all government and PSU procurement tenders.

During his interaction with the media, he also said that getting investment to set-up a semiconductor wafer fabrication plant in the country was one of the top priorities for the government.

"We expect to conclude talks with global industry players within this year for investment in semiconductor," Kumar said.

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