Apple can change manufacturing scenario of India: Dhotre

New Delhi (IANS) The government sees iconic companies like Apple and large consumer goods makers like Samsung as big players in electronics who can change the face of manufacturing in India, Minister of State for IT and Telecom Sanjay Shamrao Dhotre has said.

"Apple and Samsung are very big players, they can change scenarios for private sector manufacturing, they can be role model for other companies to manufacture in India," Dhotre told IANS in an exclusive interview.

On Monday Union Telecom and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad held a day-long round table with the CEOs of many global companies including Apple and Samsung to get feedback on their concerns and how those can be addressed to make India a top electronics manufacturing hub. Revenue Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey and Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant also attended the event to know the companies' concerns while forming the incentives policies.

Apple Inc, the Cupertino-based smartphone maker which has now become a cult figure among smartphone companies was specially mentioned and nudged by Prasad to expand their presence in India.

"Apple has started manufacturing phones in India including components. They have started making iPhones in India and also components both for exports. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. I want a robust presence of Apple in India. A super robust presence of Samsung in India. Apple is also on board as far as the India story in concerned," Prasad told media after a round table discussion with CEOs of global manufacturing companies on Monday, who raised issues of tariffs, taxes, single window clearance, component manufacturing, among others.

"The roundtable meeting was to only hear from them because many of their problems are similar -- tax structure, tariffs , state level problems. Revenue secretary and Niti Aayog CEO were there and we all will sit together and resolve everything. Incentives or otherwise, there are some problems on the duty and the tax structure. And the revenue secretary has assured of looking into the issues," the MoS said.

Responding to the query that similar policies to boost electronics production are already in place, how the meeting will help in stepping that up, Dhotre said "we are amending the policies in this regard. All the companies are very enthusiastic to invest and increase their presence in India. We will come out with the new set of incentives in the next three to four months."

The MoS said with the kind of policies and steps the ministry is taking , "We will certainly achieve the 400 billion dollar target by 2025".

The National Electronics Policy, 2019, targets a turnover of $400 billion for the electronics system design and manufacturing (ESDM) sector by 2025.

Apple has started to export iPhones to some European markets from India, which boosts the government's 'Make in India' and also the company's projection of making India an export hub.

The Cupertino-headquartered company's contract manufacturer Wistron Corp's India arm is now exporting smart phones from the Bengaluru facility.

Recently, the government allowed, under new norms of single brand retail, that all procurement made from India by a single-brand retailer for that brand shall be counted towards local sourcing, irrespective of whether the goods procured are sold in India or exported - which was a major relief for companies like Apple Inc.

The new norms also allow firms to open online shops before setting up a physical store, which too helps Apple in its India plans.

Though the government declined to link India's opportunity to become a manufacturing hub for electronics due to the US-China trade war, it is believed that Apple's suppliers and partners like Foxconn or Wistron have been hinted by the US company to move production outside China gradually to some extent, IT ministry officials said.

Apple Inc last week launched the newest iPhone 11 starting at $699 and also new gaming and content streaming subscription services at aggressive monthly tariffs as the California-based company looks to create new revenue streams amidst falling phone sales globally.

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