The country may have missed the bus on setting up semiconductor chip manufacturing fabrication units, but it is now trying to make up for the loss by focussing on analogue and solar fabrication units, says Aruna Sharma, secretary, department of electronics and information technology.
In her first interview after taking charge of the department, Sharma talks to ET about her vision for 'Digital India' and the push on electronics manufacturing.
How do you plan to take the 'Digital India' project forward?
I would like to present Digital India through different perspectives; one is an ordinary citizen's perspective. Our responsibility is to increase the digital 'Seva' points.
The idea is that there are almost 200-300 services that an ordinary citizen needs from the government, so a 'kendra' should be in a position to provide those services. Its location should be within 5-km radius.
Currently, some are operational, some are not, so we are working to make sure that everything becomes operational and deliver the entire bouquet of services. Next perspective is that of youth employment. There is a lot of scope for BPOs.
For the North-East, we have already cleared the incentive scheme and for rest of country, the process has begun. Another perspective is with respect to the software industry. The need is to encourage research and have IPRs. Software for exports and better governance through tech is the future.
What is the progress on electronics manufacturing?
Unfortunately our manufacturers have become traders, because it was easier to import and distribute. Slowly, we have to bring in a change. The government has very good incentive schemes. Under the MSIPS policy, hand-holding is by assistance of nearly 25%. The response is very encouraging. In MSIPS, around 80 proposals are already cleared and another 70 are in the pipeline.
In electronics development fund, four cases are already operational and six more are in the pipeline. Expansion in mobile and other electronic goods manufacturing is now our focus. We have success stories in LED and mobile manufacture. Auto sector and medical electronics is the next zone with great potential for growth.
Do we need a new policy on fabrication to invite more companies?
Whenever there is a solid proposal, we immediately take it up after ensuring the requisite procedure is followed, because the policy is already in place. We have to encourage fab manufacturing. It is also important for the sector to think of chip manufacture in not just digital but also for analogue and solar. There is also a case to focus on PCB manufacturing.