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Date: 31-10-11

India better not miss the next bus in electronics design and manufacturing

The rate of change of technology has not slowed down yet, 28nm-node made semiconductor chips are much more powerful than 40nm semiconductor chips. 20nm, and 14nm are very well getting ready in labs. Femtocell, cloud computing, mobiles devices and mobile-apps are happening now and the best in technology is yet to come, both by devices and application.

The cheap graphene material is expected to replace silicon, more integration of MEMS, and other such non-transistor devices on CMOS chips are some of the few examples of disruptive technologies visible at the horizon.

The India's semiconductor and electronics industry, though not able to lead is still surviving and is walking in the end-part of technology growth lane of product design and making. Exponentially growing domestic market gives Indian industry great opportunity to get into product design and manufacturing vigorously and can leapfrog to the front. If the industry feels 'we missed the bus' there is another bus coming.

Sanjay Nayak, CEO and MD of Tejas networks says in today's world you do not need to own a factory to build a product. But he says India needs global scale manufacturing companies to support its new policy of electronics manufacturing. In the telecom equipment domain Sanjay feels India should be net exporter not a net importer.
He was recently speaking at the Electronics System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) workshop held in Bangalore.

India's component industry badly needs support of government to survive. There is just a skeleton of component manufacturing base available in India, speaking on the behalf of PCB industry, Paresh Vasani, President Circuit Systems India said Indian PCB manufacturers are pushed to the corner.

The major challenge for Indian electronic component industry is (mainly non semiconductor) lack of material availability in Indian market. Much of material such as special polymers, alloys, epoxy, copper and ferrite are imported from china and many such places.

Paresh finds eco-system is missing completely. He also points out shipping delays, where he gave example of material reaching Kerala from Singapore faster than Ahmedabad to Kerala. Inter-state tax is also a cost increasing factor in India, Paresh highlights.

B. Venkata Ramana, Executive Director of VMC Systems says India offers a huge market for power supply. VMC makes wide range of power supply systems. He suggests Indian companies to meet Indian demands to reach international volumes. He also said passive component makers who were active during 80s and 90s have closed their businesses.

He ended with a positive note saying there is a need of mindset change required that India can manufacture electronics.

Dr. Ajay Kumar, Joint Secretary, Dept of Information Technology was patiently listening and appreciating the views of speakers at ESDM workshop and is in fact well aware of status of industry. His talk was motivating for the industry where he has addressed all the important issues of the industry in practical manner.
His department is in process of getting renamed as Dept of Electronics and Information Technology, indicating Electronics is not just IT.

Dr. Ajay Kumar's best comment is he said, "we are aiming a moving target" on the plan to establish a semiconductor fab in India.

When this writer asked PVG Menon, President of ISA, what are three recent major initiatives by the union government, which the Indian electronic industry can leverage, particularly by startups. Mr. Mennon point out three high impact initiatives in draft National Policy on Electronics. They are Electronic Development Fund, setting of semiconductor R&D incubators, and Preferential Market Access for domestically manufactured electronic products. He feels these three are phenomenal for startups.

Finally this writer feels the policy should benefit highly deserving vendors who are highly committed to the growth of Nation and policy makers should not be misled by the industry lobbies that may be indirectly favoring global market forces, whose base is not in India.

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