“India’s loss was China’s gain”: Sunil Bharti Mittal on electronics and equipment manufacturing

Pleased with how the current government is working, Sunil Bharti Mittal, speaking at the Business Today India @100 Economy Summit, said India is in a very exciting phase.

“I think somehow everything has lined up in the right direction for India. Building hard physical infrastructure would take us another 20 to 30 years to be where China is. , as we develop roads at breakneck speed, I know new airports , lots of new things are coming in. But it takes time (and) it’s really not an easy task to put infrastructure in place for such a nation bigger and more diverse than India… There’s a lot of work to be done there. But the digital infrastructure is here and now and I think that’s where India’s digital vision is so promising,” Mittal said India is now a $3.1 trillion economy and aims to grow to a $5 trillion economy by 2027, of which $1 trillion is planned for digital, meaning that the country, leaders and government recognize that a digital platform that for India will transform this nation.

Mittal, which started making telephones (those with push-button in 1982), closely followed India’s long journey into the manufacturing space. Sharing his view, he said, “In the early 90s, we saw most of the big telecom equipment manufacturers come here. Ericsson came here, Nokia came here, Alcatel came here. Nortel came here, Fujitsu came here. fancy factories that are ahead of their time. Each of them, within five years, left the country. Our loss was China’s gain at that time. We had actually taken a lead or at least a distance from China at that time. Slowly and surely, we have seen all of these fabrications slip away.”

The Indian government is in course-correction mode and is investing thousands of dollars in various forms of manufacturing in the country. In 2014, when India had virtually no electronics manufacturing, today Indian electronics manufacturing is close to $80 billion. And the number of people employed in the electronics manufacturing sector is 2.5 million according to Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw. And with geopolitical tensions and the world searching for a reliable source, things have also changed and are somehow in India’s favor. “Suddenly, the China issue has become massive. I would say it’s not just a talking point, but a deep stress around the world and the cracks that have appeared on this chain of “Global sourcing presents India with a very good opportunity. Now combine that with PLI that was introduced by the government and you see manufacturing companies lining up to recoup these subsidies to set up manufacturing plants here,” Mittal added.

The growth rate of electronics manufacturing in India is a double-digit CAGR. And in the next 4-5 years it will become a $250 million industry. The way things are going, the Minister thinks that India could exceed 300 billion dollars and could exceed one million jobs in the next 4 to 5 years.

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