Telecom Lead India: The National Telecom Policy 2012 has
framed several objectives to make the Indian telecom industry flourish by 2020.
One of the major objectives of this policy is to make India a global hub for
telecom equipment manufacturing.
The proposed objective seeks to promote innovation,
indigenous R&D and manufacturing to serve domestic and global markets, by
increasing skills and competencies.
In addition, the new policy recommends creating a corpus
to promote indigenous R&D, IPR creation, entrepreneurship, manufacturing,
commercialization and deployment of state-of-the-art telecom products and
services during the 12th five year plan period.
However, the question remains unanswered whether all
these objectives are achievable or not. With such regulatory uncertainty over
the industry, the idea of establishing a global hub of telecom equipment
manufacturing seems too flimsy.
Ashok K. Aggarwal, director general of the Indian Telecom
Equipment Manufacturers Association (TEMA) said that such rosy statements about
the manufacturing sector have also been made earlier in NTP 1994 and NTP 1999.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has also been candidly expressing his deep
concern about the stagnant manufacturing sector at various forums and an
express need to make India not only self-reliant, but also a great player in
the international market.
“TEMA feels that these flowery statements are only
clap traps and no useful purpose would be served unless and until Preferential
Market Access is provided to products developed and produced in India,” he
In India, telecom vendors import most of the telecom equipments
of their requirement, while very few percent of equipments get manufactured
domestically. As per estimations, India’s telecom equipment import bills are
soon going to reach the figure of Rs. 250,000 crore.
A booming domestic manufacturing sector not only save
precious foreign exchange but also help to earn foreign exchange through export
of telecom equipment to other nations.
Aggarwal says that once India attain the stature of a
global hub for telecom equipment supply, the telecom equipment manufacturing
sector would become vibrant and viable because of economies of scale besides
supplying world class products at most competitive prices.
If India implements focused approach in fulfilling the
proposed objectives, it will surely become self-reliant in coming years. Also,
self-reliance would also result in a significant contribution to the national
GDP and creation of large scale employment at various levels.
According to the TEMA, the telecom equipment market is
expected to grow to $40 billion by the year 2020, up from current level of $10
The market estimate is the testimony of the strong
potential for domestic market of equipment manufacturing.
Domestic manufacturing will strengthen telecom ecosystem
with low imports and build robust infrastructure alongside more employment
The director general of TEMA suggests following steps
that should be taken by the Indian authorities to make India a global hub for
telecom equipment manufacturing:
1) An appropriate mechanism
is required to support funding and promotion of domestic R&D, IPR creation
and Product development in a time bound manner.
2) Preferential market
access referred to in the NTP 2012 need to be objectively framed at the
earliest to ensure that real Indian Products start getting market
access to help us in finally achieving our cherished dream of making India a
global Telecom Equipment Manufacturing Hub by 2020.
3) The Government has to
put in place an industry friendly tax regime and remove obstacles in getting
statutory clearances required for setting up the industry.
Indian Telecom Equipment Manufacturers want India to focus on
Recently, Barack Obama, president of the U.S during the
union address pointed out the importance of creating a strong telecom
manufacturing base within America so as to beat the economic downturn by
creating more jobs and prosperity in the U.S.
According to TEMA’s communication, the statements made by
Obama during his address to the Nation has provided ample clues as to what
India needs to do to revitalize the economy, create jobs in the country and