Sunday, March 05, 2017

For  success of its flagship programme to boost manufacturing within the country, the government’s  Make in India should first target high import intensive items like electronic goods, machinery, steel  and transport equipment which together add  close to USD nine billion or over 27 per cent of the  country’s  monthly import bill, according to an ASSOCHAM analysis.

“There are other major import items like crude oil, gold and precious stones which cannot be produced indigenously or are used for re-exports. But a growing economy like India which is witnessing a huge expansion in usage of telecom and other items using electronics , should go about in a focused manner to drastically cut imports of the items which can be substituted by domestic production and add to the country’s manufacturing strength.  This is eminently doable, provided the policy initiatives are put in place and implemented with great clarity and speed both by the Centre and the states,” the chamber said.

The latest figures show import of close to USD four billion for electronics, .USD 2.36 billion for electrical and non-electrical machinery, USD 1.47 billion for transport equipment and about USD one billion for iron and steel.

Thanks to expanding demand for user industries particularly telecom, automobile, smart consumer devices, the annualized imports of electronics goods grew at a whopping 24.56 per cent in January, 2017.

“The Make in India should focus on these select items and ensure that their manufacture in India either by the domestic investor or even foreign investor should be quite rewarding. Besides, the tax structure should be such that it should make the domestic manufacture far more competitive than imports”, said ASSOCHAM Secretary General Mr D S Rawat.

He said too large an import of products which can be manufactured within the country runs contrary to the basic grain of the Make In India initiative.

“Besides, it is only through manufacturing that large scale employment can be generated. In an environment where fresh investment is hard to come in several key sectors of the economy, electronics is one area where the country does not have adequate capacity and highly import dependent. Thus, investment in the sector from both domestic and global firms should be welcomed and promoted. States like Karnataka have taken some initiative, but much more needs to be done in the sector which is generally pollution free and is required greatly,”.

Similarly, investment can be made in transport equipment while some leeway should be provided to the steel manufacturers.

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