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The center forms working groups for the development of chipsets, alleviation of customs problems

NEW DELHI: The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has formed multi-member task forces primarily to develop high-volume chipsets, secure component ecosystems and overcome supply chain challenges.

The development comes after a high-level dialogue between top industry executives with Communications, IT and Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnav earlier this month to review progress under the manufacturing-related incentive scheme.

“There is a need to develop a large number of telecom chipsets using the Telecom Technology Development Fund (TTDF) and other financial support from the Ministry of Electronics and IT,” the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) said in a notification on Monday, adding that to achieve Atmanirbharta (self-reliance ) in the development of telecommunication chipsets, a working group was formed.

The 12-member task force will study potential high-volume chipsets needed by telecommunications equipment companies, as well as map local demand and worldwide requirements, and recommend several potential companies to benefit from the TTDF and semiconductor policy.

The department has appointed Tejas Networks CEO Sanjay Nayak as the head of the task force with members including Kishore Babu, Deputy Director General, Standards-R&D-Innovation (SRI) at DoT and Amitesh Kumar Sinha, Interim CEO, Indian Semiconductor Mission.

Under the chairmanship of the Center for Development of Telematics (C-DoT) RK Upadhyay, a state-owned telecommunications technology research and development firm, a task force has been formed to build an ecosystem of resilient components for telecommunications and electronics manufacturing.

The panel which also included Prakash Tulsiani, CEO, Mumbai Airports and Christio Schnellman, CEO, Yewar Airport, would primarily look at the current ecosystem, demand and supply of electronics manufacturing components, and phased manufacturing strategy for critical telecom equipment.

“PLI users have raised issues they are facing in sourcing semiconductors and other components due to global shortages. This results in long lead times, higher inventory investment. The companies have also pointed out that global distributors do not have warehouses in India,” the department added. .

To ease existing supply chain issues, the government has also formed a task force under VVDN Technologies CEO Puneet Agarwal to facilitate availability of components, including studies on port operations, cargo delivery lead time, infrastructure readiness at railways, seaports and airports, and establishment of free trade storage zones (FTZ) at several airports.

The Center has recommended a warehousing zone at the Yewar airport to reduce lead time for manufacturers in the National Capital Region (NCR) to procure components.

“During 2017-18 to 2021-22 (last five years) Rs 41,740 crore was collected as Universal Access (UAL) under Universal Service Obligation Fund of which Rs 30,213 crore was disbursed from USOF during the said period,” said the minister.

Meanwhile, Indian Railways has already connected seaports in Gujarat with Delhi to speed up delivery of components critical for telecom infrastructure applications.

A task force to explore new opportunities in the field of telecommunications and electronic equipment with the advent of fifth generation, or 5G, has also been set up under former DoT adviser RK Bhatnagar.

Following the challenges faced by domestic companies, the Center aims to encourage domestic production to facilitate business with tangible results.

Several government programmes, such as the ambitious fourth-generation (4G) rollout by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), and the deployment and expansion of 5G telecom networks by telecom service providers, have hit a wall following supply chain constraints leading to quality service (KoS ) questions.

“Semiconductors are a very critical industry of any country. Today it is at the center of geopolitics. Venture capitalists may want some more concessions from the government which should ensure that if they bring money from the US, it can multiply and they can bring it back to their country,” AJ Paulraj, partner at Celesta Capital and professor emeritus at Stanford University.


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