The draft National Telecom Policy 2011 is unlikely to boost telecom manufacturing in India.
At present, telecom manufacturing is a neglected area through India has around 800 million mobile users, the second largest in the world.
The government will chalk out unique strategies in order to spur the domestic telecom equipment manufacturing segment to meet the indigenous demands for becoming self-reliant in telecom/ICT equipment design and manufacturing, according to the draft National Telecom Policy 2011.
The draft policy is not talking about creating a comprehensive eco-system for setting up a manufacturing hub in India. One of the main reasons for less of interest in setting up manufacturing facilities in India is lack of a strong ICT component industry in the country.
The policy will encourage local companies to indigenous manufacturing of cost effective customer end terminals and devices including mobile devices, SIM cards with enhanced features etc.
Without incentives and imposing import related restrictions on telecom equipments, Indian producers will not be encouraged to invest in telecom manufacturing. Also, the present Indian manufacturers are yet to bring out quality products as compared with Nokia Siemens or Ericsson.
To ensure focused indigenous development in the telecom sector, the government will be focusing towards a definite policy direction by creating a suitable road-map to align technology, demand, standards and regulations, after considered evaluation of candidate technologies and the emerging trends.
We welcome the Government of India’s initiative to build a triad of policies that will drive the growth for the ICTE industry in India. We support the Government’s philosophy to encourage indigenous manufacturing of electronic products. The provisions of the Draft National Policy on Telecom that stipulate preferential status to Made in India hardware products is a welcome move by the Telecom Ministry,” said Ajjay Agarwal, chairman and managing director of MAXX Group.
As a player in the handset industry, we believe that local manufacturing of mobile handsets not only acts as a safeguard against possible barriers to cost-effectively importing handsets, but also ensures that domestic handset companies will be able to better serve Indian consumers, by reacting to changing trends and needs faster while ensuring that quality is maintained. India has both the skill-set and technology know-how to sustain indigenous manufacturing, thereby reducing the dependence on imports. With the support of the Government in terms of infrastructure, the ICTE ecosystem in India can be developed to further reinforce India’s growth trajectory,” Agarwal added.
The telecom ministry will focus on creating a fund to promote indigenous R&D, IPR creation, entrepreneurship, manufacturing, commercialising and deployment of telecom products and services.
Setting up funds for R&D is a welcome step. But the draft is silent about targets.
The government will take initiative to promote setting up of Telecommunications Standard Development Organisation (TSDO) as an autonomous body with strong participation of the industry, R&D centres, service providers, and academia to drive consensus regarding national requirements.
The government will prepare a roadmap for availability of additional spectrum every 5 years. This will assist operators and telecom equipment vendors to prepare their long-term investment plans in the Indian telecom sector.
The telecom ministry will work towards recognition of telecom as infrastructure sector for both wireline and wireless and extension of the benefits available to infrastructure sectors to telecom sector also, to realize true potential of ICT for development. This is expected to encourage telecom investments in both manufacturing and service sectors.
The government is also keen to finalize sector specific schemes and targets for promotion of green technologies in consultation with Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) and other stakeholders, according to the National Telecom Policy 2011.
The government’s plans to build national capacity in all areas – specifically security standards, security testing, interception and monitoring capabilities and manufacturing of critical telecom equipment will also boost telecom manufacturing in the country.
The draft NTP 2011 does not have target for manufacturing sector. India needs to build a strong ecosystem to boost manufacturing of telecom products.
By Baburajan K