Wednesday, November 26, 2014

India Installing “Smart-country” App - Digitization and IPR issues.

A variety of concerned stakeholders comprising of esteemed academicians, former diplomats, scientists, lawyers and public health organisations have written a sharp open letter to Narendra Modi’s government on the decision to review India’s position on IP laws ahead of his visit to the United States, strongly cautioning against coercion from the foreign state to align India’s IP laws with the interests of transnational corporations. While the government was formulating the first steps that could lead to a fulfillment of the grand vision of “Make in India” campaign, we should look towards the new opportunities that the government’s various new programmes which are being launched, such as the Digital India Programme.

The Growth in Demand-Supply Equation
Indian electronics hardware production constitutes around 1.31% of the global production. At the current rate of growth, the domestic production can cater to a demand of $104 billion in 2020 and the remaining would have to be met by imports.  Reports from Department of Electronics & Information Technology estimates that the demand for electronics to reach $400 billion by 2020, and at that point of time our electronics import bill will overtake the petroleum import bill. Now that the government is planning to build several Smart Cities in the country, and there is the massive Digital India programme, it is possible that that the demand for electronics goods could surpass the estimated $400 billion by 2020.
The success of this initiative will lead to a dramatic change in the way the products manufactured in India are perceived. The Digital India programme is not about big expenditure by the government, it involves new ideas and restructured schemes.

Recognize and Resolve.
The market prefers to buy cheap Chinese products as compared to products made in India. That is why we are now exploring international markets like Dubai and Singapore for export of made in India products, he adds. It is the higher cost of production that is the root cause of the lack of investments in electronics manufacturing in India despite the fact that we are the world’s largest consumer of electronics products.
The government should not only think of creating an ecosystem to “make in India”, it should also enable the companies to “sell in India”. Both, creating and selling, are equally important for driving the ecosystem.

Innovative Avenues for development
Telecommunication - The telecom is a crucial sector in the entire digitization plan. Companies are looking at the 4G networks with interest, as they feel that 4G will open several new opportunities for domestic players.
Set top boxes, wearable electronics, medical electronics, telecom equipment, infrastructure (for bridge monitoring systems, disaster warning systems), smart energy metering systems and infrastructure for “Smart Cities”, are the key segments and areas of growth where the new investors can lay down their money.
Defense - Up to 40% FDI is now permitted in the defense sector, and about 60% of defense products consist of electronics. The electronics manufacturing industries sees light in the area defense. It is believed that India might soon have global electronics giants participating in the creation of defense related products.
The reason why many companies are hesitant to manufacture in India is due to lack of stringent IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) regulation in the country which is why our government needs to clear the basic operational roadblocks.

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