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Five-Year Roadmap, a New OS, Governmental Plugs Lighting Up the Electronics Sector

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Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS are the only two operating systems driving the hardware ecosystem. Hence, why not a third? Thought the Indian government, who are now planning policies in that line to create an indigenous mobile operating system. Clearly implying how bent the government is on empowering the country’s electronic sector that it has pitched a five-year roadmap for the same.

Smartphones dominate the industry by generating the largest revenues for consumer electronics, allowing Apple and Samsung to grow their dominance in the market by using their technology in other electronic products.

The expansion of 5G networks, with massive amounts of data being transferred in real time, promoting concepts such as smart cities and object interconnectivity; virtual reality, which is being led by Metaverse (formerly known as Facebook), promising to create a parallel world; and the gaming sector, which can then integrate virtual reality technologies combining the virtual and real world. The market is predicted to increase by 5.76 percent yearly (CAGR 2022-2026), according to Statista. With that said, here’s what the government is planning through its five-year roadmap for the sector.

What’s in Plan
The document, titled "$300 bn Sustainable Electronics Manufacturing & Exports by 2026," is the second part of a two-part document outlining India's transformation from a $75 billion electronics manufacturing powerhouse to a $300 billion electronics manufacturing powerhouse by 2026.

The five-year roadmap, which takes a ‘whole-of-government’ approach, aims to expand and strengthen India's electronics manufacturing industry. This will be accomplished by attracting global electronics manufacturers and brands, transferring and establishing sub-assemblies and component ecosystems, building a design ecosystem, cultivating Indian champions, and eventually reducing India's cost disadvantages.

“If there is some real capability then we will be very much interested in developing that area because that will create an alternative to iOS and Android which then an Indian brand can grow,” Chandrasekhar said

“Amongst the key products that are expected to lead India's growth in electronics manufacturing include mobile phones, IT hardware (laptops, tablets), consumer electronics (TV and audio), industrial electronics, auto electronics, electronic components, LED Lighting, strategic electronics, PCBA, wearables and hearables, and telecom equipment. Mobile manufacturing that is expected to cross USD 100 billion annual production - up from the current USD 30 billion - is expected to constitute nearly 40 percent of this ambitious growth”, reads the document.

Union Minister of Electronics and Information Technology Ashwini Vaishnaw thanked and complimented the entire Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology staff for their efforts in quickly releasing the documents and policy framework items.

Vaishnaw also addressed some of the issues regarding dual regulations in mobile manufacturing, the Minister stated that the telecom department will not enter the industry and that the mobile manufacturing regulatory framework will remain unchanged.

In line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent statement at the World Economic Forum, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, emphasizes that the Ministry is focusing on broadening and deepening India's electronics industry.

Talking about the objective of volume-2 of the vision document released Chandrasekhar says, "new markets, new customers and being a player in Global Value Chain (GVC) is the goal and mission of the second phase. This volume along with the 1st Volume on electronics manufacturing, represents an excellent example of goal setting, detailed strategy making after hours of deep engagement between government and industry. He further added that the numbers in the 2nd Volume of vision document confirms that there is a real opportunity in electronics sector, driven by 2 factors: growth of digital consumption and growth and diversification of global value chains”.

The document recommends a competitive tariff system on electronic components and the elimination of all regulatory ambiguity to help India reach its goal of $300 billion in electronics manufacturing. The research recommends a ‘winner-take-all’ strategy focused on economies of scale and global competitiveness, as well as new and altered incentive programs for some industries and the need to address sustainability and ease of doing business.

“The number of foreign banks have increased in India. For the first time, the stock market and public markets are financing and investing in technology start-ups and companies. That kind of transformation has happened. Today Lava, Dixon or Boat or any of these companies have the ability to raise capital, equity which they did not have six years ago,” the minister said.

He stated that the production-linked incentive tool will continue to stimulate diverse manufacturing segments, but that the definition of a technology product and which ministry should be in charge of it will be determined. Likewise, in addition to boosting local industry, there are PLI initiatives aimed at creating new job possibilities and increasing exports. While providing financial assistance to firms is important, the government seeks to return its investment through increasing tax revenue from increased industry sales. The federal government's goal is to have one to two fab items for displays and ten items for developing and manufacturing pieces.

Kanishka Chauhan, principal analysis analyst, Gartner says that, “If the coverage can lure a number of the foundries (fabrication items) to our nation, it might go an enormous means in making our nation self-reliant”.

Furthermore, the government intends to develop a policy that would help the industry construct an ecosystem for developing an indigenous operating system as an alternative to Google's Android and Apple's iOS.

A New Competitor for Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android
The operating system (OS) is the core program of any computer or mobile device, and it integrates the whole hardware and software system to ensure that the OS runs smoothly.

The government, according to Chandrasekhar, is looking for capabilities in start-up and academic ecosystems to develop an indigenous operating system (OS).

“If there is some real capability then we will be very much interested in developing that area because that will create an alternative to iOS and Android which then an Indian brand can grow,” Chandrasekhar said.

Most policies and policy tools, according to the minister, are being re-evaluated in the context of redefining goals and ambitions.

“Important is to have clear goals. Once we have clear goals and what is that we have to achieve then all the policies and actions will be consistent with it,” Chandrasekhar said.

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