Centre calls for thrust to local electronics units

Centre calls for thrust to local electronics units

Union Minister of State for Commerce Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday said there was an urgent need to encourage local electronics units and local production of electronic goods since electronics was expected to be the largest import item in the country.

Speaking at a two day-summit on electronics and semi-conductors organised by the India Electronics and Semi-conductors Association (IESA), the minister said: “Today, after oil and gold, electronics is the third largest import item in the country. Imports stand at nearly at 80 per cent and may overtake oil and gold. There is clearly a demand-and-supply imbalance,” Sitharaman said.

The minister said there was a need to encourage local manufacturing of electronics goods. “I will work on the National Manufacturing Policy to induce growth of manufacturing in the country. It is surprising that manufacturing contributes around 12 per cent to the national GDP, while IT and ITES contribute 50 per cent. This is another gap that needs to be addressed. Employment within manufacturing should also grow.”

The minister said the government had allocated $10 billion to set up two semi-conductor manufacturing units and it was up to the industry to take advantage of the funds and set up local units.

The vision is to ensure that local manufacturing units meet domestic demand first and then think of exports. State Agriculture Minister Krishna Byre Gowda said his ministry was using technology to improve agriculture productivity. “There are155 markets in the State. We have used information technology to integrate all these markets so that information flow across the State is uniform. If a farmer gets information that his produce is getting a higher price in a particular region, he can sell his produce there. If he doesn’t have this information, he will be forced to sell it in his region only, where prices may be low. Today, we have a market that is uniform and transparent,” Gowda said.

Former IT&BT secretary M N Vidyashankar said the footfall for this year’s IESA summit was higher than last year.

A fund of Rs 30,000 crore has been allocated towards encouragement of startups across the country including Karnataka. There is also a Rs 1.5 crore funding for new startups.

“Funding as such is not much of an issue these days. What we need are ideas that are scaleable to the next level. Such ideas will definitely find a market and a funder,” he said.

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