Govt receives 37 proposals for setting up electronics clusters

The union government has received applications for setting up 37 electronics manufacturing clusters with a total investment of Rs1,846 crore, information technology IT secretary J Satyanarayana said on Monday.

"We have received 30 proposals for brownfield projects and seven for greenfield projects,'' he said at the Indian Electronics & Semiconductor Association's (IESA) vision summit in Bangalore.

Some of these applicants have received in-principle approval. One such in Electronics City in Bangalore will come up on a 1.16-acre land at an investment of approximately Rs85 crore. Karnataka IT minister S R Patil said two more have been proposed for Karnataka - one in Peenya in Bangalore and the other in Mysore.

The Centre's national policy on electronics proposes setting up of over 200 such clusters. The government will provide 50 per cent of the funds for establishing infrastructure and logistics facilities in these clusters.

Satyanarayana said another tender for the low-cost Aakash tablets had been called for, and he expected seven to eight manufacturers to put in bids. "Once we show success in one such product, it'll catch fire," he said.

India imports 65 per cent of its requirements of electronic goods and components, putting a strain on its external trade account; and this is expected to get worse as Indians consume more and more electronics. Hence the government is making major efforts to strengthen the domestic electronics manufacturing base.

The union government in 2012 also announced a modified special incentive package scheme (M-SIPS) for the electronics sector, providing for significant subsidies for investments in capital expenditure, reimbursement of CVD/excise duty for capital equipment and more. So far, Rs13,800 crore worth of proposals have been received under this scheme.

At the summit, IESA signed a memorandum of understanding with Germany-based exhibition organiser Messe Munchen International to launch an industry symposium focused on aerospace and defence electronics.

The first of these events, to be called Deftronics, will be held in Bangalore on September 23-24. IESA president P V G Menon noted that India's appetite for aerospace and defence products was fuelling the global industry, but the country's domestic contribution to this industry was very low.

British deputy high commissioner Ian Felton described Bangalore as a crucible of exciting R&D and called on Indian electronics companies to collaborate with UK to revitalize the domestic electronics sector.

The UK is one of the world's best semiconductor design hubs, with companies like ARM whose designs form the basic semiconductor architecture of most smartphones.