‘Start-ups must come up with ideas for manufacturing sector’

Our Bureau Bengaluru | Updated on January 19, 2018 Published on February 05, 2016

Start-ups in India should look at high knowledge areas such as core sciences and space technology, said Minister of State for Commerce and Industries, Nirmala Sitharaman.

Addressing a gathering of around 300 delegates, which included members from the Indian Electronics and Semiconductor Association (IESA), Sitharaman asked the gathering to come up with ideas that can make a mark in manufacturing in areas such as Defence and agriculture.

“As the technology landscape is evolving, value in manufacturing can get a leg up from start-ups in this area,” she said. Part of Sitharaman's concerns stems from the fact that around 80 per cent increasing reliance on imports that the country has to rely on for its electronics consumption needs. “ Electronics is the third biggest import after crude oil and gold,” said Sitharaman.

According to IESA, demand for electronics is estimated to reach $400 billion by 2020, with production only meeting 25 per cent of this capacity or $100 billion.

To meet this need, the Centre has set up 50 mobile manufacturing units, with a capacity to manufacture 9 million phones in a month, creating around 20,000 jobs. This has happened over the last 10 months, according to industry watchers.

Till date, India has 3,500 manufacturing units – making everything from mixers to mobiles, with an additional 1.2 lakh units supporting these bigger-size manufacturing units.

“That is a disconnect for a country of India's size as well as needs and startups in knowledge intensive areas can bring in more value. This will create the right balance,” she said.

Steps taken by the government seems to be bearing some fruit. According to MN Vidyashankar, President, IESA, a former Principal Secretary in Karnataka, the government's move to earmark in excess of ₹10,000 crore for manufacturing start-ups and small-size companies is a step in the right direction.

While the number of start-ups are exploding every year, with estimates from Nasscom pegging 4,200 in total, majority of them are focused on less knowledge intensive areas such as food delivery or online retail. The Centre is also set to make a final push through its 'Make in India' roadshow in Mumbai on February 13.

Published on February 05, 2016
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