New Delhi: The government sees iconic companies like Apple and large consumer goods makers like Samsung as big players in electronics who can change the face of manufacturing in India, Minister of State for IT and Telecom Sanjay Shamrao Dhotre has said. "Apple and Samsung are very big players, they can change scenarios for private sector manufacturing, they can be role models for other companies to manufacture in India", Dhotre told IANS in an exclusive interview.
On Monday, IT and Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad held a day-long round table with the CEOs of many global companies, including Apple and Samsung, to get feedback on their concerns and how those could be addressed to make India a top electronics manufacturing hub. Revenue Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey and Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant also attended the meeting.
Cupertino-based smartphone maker Apple Inc, was specially mentioned and nudged by Prasad to expand their presence in India. "Apple has started manufacturing phones in India including components. They have started making iPhones in India and also components both for exports. But this is just a tip of the iceberg. I want a robust presence of Apple in India. A super robust presence of Samsung in India. Apple is also on board as far as the India story in concerned," Prasad told media here after the meeting. The global IT and telecom CEOs raised issues of tariffs, taxes, single window clearance and component manufacturing, among others, with the Minister.
"The round table meeting was to only hear from them because many of their problems are similar-- tax structure, tariffs , state level problems. Revenue secretary and Niti Aayog CEO were there and we all will sit together and resolve everything. Incentives or otherwise, there are some probles on the duty and the tax structure. And the revenue secretary has assured of looking into the issues", Dhotre said. Responding to a query on policies to boost electronics production, Dhotre said: "We are amending the policies in this regard. All the companies are very enthusiastic to invest and increase their presence in India. We will come out the new set up incentives in the next three to four months".
The Minister also said that with the kind of policies and steps the ministry is taking, "we will certainly achieve the 400 billion dollar target by 2025". The National Electronics Policy, 2019 targets a turnover of $400 billion for the electronics system design and manufacturing (ESDM) sector by 2025. Apple has started to export iPhones to some European markets from India. Its contract manufacturer Wistron Corp's Indian arm is now exporting smart phones from their Bengaluru facility. Bringing in new norms for FDI in single-brand retail, the government has recently allowed all procurement made in India by a single-brand retailer for that brand to be counted towards local sourcing, irrespective of whether the goods procured are sold in India or exported - which was a major relief for companies like Apple Inc. The new norms also allow firms to open online shops before setting up a physical store, which too helps Apple in regard to its India plans.
According to IT Ministry officials, as a fallout of the US-China trade tensions, it is believed that Apple's suppliers and partners like Foxconn or Wistron are being nudged to gradually shift their production out of China. Apple Inc last week launched the newest iPhone 11 starting at $699, as well as new gaming and content streaming subscription services, at aggressive monthly tariffs as the California-based company looks to create new revenue streams amidst falling phone sales globally.