30 Apr 2016 13:04 IST

Our top priority is accelerating design-led electronics manufacturing: IESA chief

We are looking to spur innovations in IoT solutions, says Krishnamoorthy

The India Electronics and Semiconductor Association (IESA) announced its new Executive Council for 2016-17 on Friday. BusinessLine caught up with the new Chairman of IESA, K Krishnamoorthy, who is Managing Director, Rambus Chip Technologies (I) Pvt Ltd, to find out what it would take for India to become one of the top electronics manufacturing destinations in the world; when the country’s first Defence Electronics Policy will be announced and his immediate priorities for the Indian ESDM (Electronic System Design & Manufacturing) industry.

What are the priority areas you will immediately address as Chairman of IESA?

The top priority area is to accelerate design-led electronics manufacturing in the country. This is because we are very import dependent with over 80 per cent of components such as microprocessors, microcontrollers, display devices and over 60 per cent of products such as high-end TVs and high-end phones still being imported. All of manufacturing contributes to 17 per cent of the country’s GDP, of which approximately 2 per cent is being contributed by ESDM.

The government is targeting to increase overall contribution of manufacturing to 25 per cent of GDP by 2020. We want to step up ESDM to be able to contribute significantly to that target. The demand for electronics is increasing every year across market segments like defence and aerospace, consumer electronics, automotive, healthcare, education, telecom etc; with domestic demand for electronics estimated to grow from $100 billion in 2015-16 to $400 billion by early 2020s.

How do you propose to accelerate electronics manufacturing?

The key thrust areas in manufacturing will be aerospace & Defence, consumer electronics and industrial electronics. In the area of development, we are looking to spur innovations in IoT solutions. Another key area is to enable ESDM start-ups through skills development and in creating start-up clusters which are plug n play facilities like the Electropreneur Park in Delhi, in every State. Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha have shown interest and we will assist DeitY (Dept of Electronics & Information Technology) in setting up Electropreneur Parks in one of these three States as soon as approvals come in this year.

When is the country’s first Defence Electronics Policy drafted by IESA along with Nasscom and presented to the Centre last year, expected to be announced?

The Defence Electronics Policy, aimed at reducing the country’s dependence on defence electronics imports by promoting indigenous manufacturing capabilities, is still being whetted by the Defence Ministry. We expect the government to announce it this quarter (April-June).

What would it take for India to be among the top electronics manufacturing destinations in the world?

The top manufacturing hubs in the world are Germany, which is known for its technology; Japan which is known for its quality and China which has mastered scale. For India to be acknowledged as a top electronics manufacturing destination, it must have all three – we are already good at technology which is evident from the fact that almost every electronics giant in the world has set up design, engineering and development centres in India. Quality can be ensured with education and training and we can achieve scale by taking manufacturing to rural India which has the space and the manpower who can be trained with minimum investment.

When will the chip fabrication project see the light of day?

As I understand, it is still in the discussion stage. One of the approved consortium members has withdrawn from the project recently and now, only one player remains.

The integrated chip fabrication project is limited by the huge capital outlay required. We need to take a fresh look at what is required – whether to set up a Fab in India or whether we should secure Fab capacity from outside India, where it can be manufactured more cost effectively.

We have a fully functional Fab in SCL Chandigarh under the Department of Space which can be up-scaled to start with, for strategic needs.

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