Govt. Needs To Clear Schemes For Better Manufacturing: MAIT

Anwar Shirpurwala
Executive Director, MAIT

Manufacturers’ Association for Information Technology or popularly known by its acronym MAIT is recognized by both government and the Industry for its role in the growth and development of the IT Hardware industry in India. In a candid conversation with Channel Times, Anwar Shirpurwala, Executive Director, MAIT speaks at length on the present state of Indian manufacturing sector, expectations from government, collaboration for big government programs.

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What are the trends in IT manufacturing market?

The IT market is moving very fast unexpectedly. The manufacturing sector under MAIT caters to a complex chain spread over various organizations and across various product lines. Most technology vendors do not have one product (though PC could be prime product) but a varied portfolio of product offerings. Lot of things are happening in the ICT industry:

Phone Manufacturing: There is a good progress as per phone manufacturing is concern. To some estimates theses are through offline sources where 15 million units have been manufactured.

Consumer premise equipments and IP Surveillance: it is a good progress however some tweaks are still required which government is working on. Once the schemes are fully covered and implement, we will see a lot of manufacturing on consumer premise equipments such as switches, routers, USB, dongles and things like that.

PC Market: In PC side desktop assembly has always happen. Though it has reduced over period of time considering overall decline in the market. ” We are pushing for the duty differential scheme for laptops and notebooks; once that scheme is implemented and government approves it, we will see lot of manufacturing of PCs starting back in India.

How MAIT is helping government stakeholders in implementing Digital India?

MAIT have been strong advocates of manufacturing in India since last three decades. Digital India has been there in form of push for e-governance, computerization etc.. MAIT has contributed in not only making policies, but also talking to our members, companies, our counterparts outside India on various manufacturing related aspects. It is a continuous dialogue for effective development of the ecosystem development.

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There was serious issue regarding Government procurement when Digital India program was announced. The procurement was dipping since few years for various reasons. We are pushing for government procurement reforms. On the central level, model RFP version 2.0 is created with a template and toolkits that are used by procurers for RFPs. We are working with 15 state governments and we are writing IT procurement procedures for them. This is the basic strong foundation needed to ensure the successful roll out of various programs.

What is the rationale behind ‘Digital India Action Group’?

In MAIT we have made a Digital India action group. It helps to speed fast the implementation for all the solutions of the government. The idea is how you can help supplement the government in terms of on ground action and the implementation of a company’s good solutions to be part of Digital India. MAIT showcases those solutions to make people aware of the technology. If the solution is not available in the market, we have a competent think-tank of industry experts and domain stalwarts to source that solution. There are lot of readymade solutions available in MAIT through Digital India action group. We approach the Government and tell them that these are the solutions available for the stakeholders to implement; that’s one of the ways to help stake holders to speed fast implementation.

What is the expectation from the financial year 2016?

As far as IT manufacturing industry is concerned, few schemes have come which are not complete. For better outcome it is essential that schemes need to be complete. For example: In consumer premise equipment, the duty differential scheme has been announced for a product but a very important part of the product is not covered which is the populated printed circuit board (PCB). Unless you do not cover populated PCB, manufacturing it will not happen. Manufacturing for the namesake by sticking 2 or 3 parts is not the manufacturing we are looking at. MAIT’s expectation is very clear in the coming months, the government needs to correct and complete the schemes which will result better manufacturing in financial year 2016. We are not seeing any clear indication of GST that way but we are hopeful by the commitment which government has in terms of bringing in GST. It will eventually benefit the industry.

What are the things an SME should take care while launching the IT products in the market?

There are lot of government schemes available. SMEs should explore the government scheme available under ministry of MSME and the Ministry of Communication and IT. I think it will be good to research that for SMEs. Second thing is taking a technical expert on board. If an SME is developing a product, it is important to have an IP; in that case MAIT has always been supportive to help SMEs.

Where IT market will be after 5 years?

As an industry body, I want to see a greater penetration which is currently at 10-11 per cent in the country. In the next five-year window, we should reach to 25-30 per cent, which means today there are 100 million PCs in the country, after 5 years window I want to see 300 million households use these PCs including MSMEs. The penetration should reach 30 per cent, that’s where MAIT expects to bring the socio economic change.

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