India Needs to Heavily Invest in R&D for Telecom Sector: DoT Official

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India is way behind the world when it comes to producing and manufacturing indigenous telecom equipment and products. Noting this, T K Paul, a member of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), said that India needs to focus less on the assembly department. Instead, research and development (R&D) for coming out with better and more efficient designed telecom products with indigenous software should be promoted.

Improve R&D Capabilities for Making India Atmanirbhar

As per a PTI report, T K Paul noted that India contributes only 0.15% in the telecom equipment and around 0.068% in the integrated circuits and components out of the total supply in the world. This is way too little for a country such as India, given it has all the capable engineers and people with creativity and innovation in mind.

Paul said that India is focusing just on assembly led manufacturing. While it is not wrong to do so, India should also invest in R&D capabilities and leverage indigenous software to increase its self-reliance.

For the unaware, the DoT has capped the R&D investment for the companies at 15% for calculating the incentives for eligible companies in the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme. The DoT has already started accepting applications for the scheme by the interested companies.

Paul noted that since India depends on other countries for components and fabrication, it won’t be able to become self-reliant until the time it starts investing in R&D for the telecom equipment and start local manufacturing of the indigenous products.

At present, 85% of India’s total demand for telecom equipment is met by importing it from other nations. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the global supply chain has taken a huge hit because of which countries that depend on other nations for equipment have been struggling to ramp up local production.

It has further resulted in the cost of electronic devices going higher than usual. If India wants to be Atmanirbhar, it needs to start investing more in R&D and come out with original equipment that can be manufactured locally at a low cost.

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