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From 68k crore, trade deficit in telecom has dropped to 4k cr: Scindia

Telecom gear sales crossed Rs 50,000 crore, exports at Rs. 10,500 under PLI, DoT said

Jyotiraditya Scindia

Jyotiraditya Scindia

Subhayan Chakraborty New Delhi

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The trade deficit in the telecom sector has reduced to Rs 4000 crore over the last five years, down from Rs 68,000 crore earlier as a result of the production linked scheme (PLI), telecom minister Jyotraditya Scindia said on Wednesday.

“The PLI scheme has significantly reduced the country’s reliance on imported telecom equipment, resulting in import substitution of 60 per cent,” he said.

The minister’s comments came after Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member Jairam Ramesh attacked the government pointing to media reports that said India’s telecom equipment exports remained much below imports.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) said telecom equipment manufacturing sales crossed the Rs 50,000 crore mark under the PLI scheme for Telecom and Networking Products, with exports totalling approximately Rs 10,500 crore.

Sales of telecom and networking products by PLI beneficiary companies in FY 2023-24 has increased by 370 per cent vis-a-vis the base year of FY20.

Three years after the scheme came into effect, it has attracted an investment of Rs 3,400 crore, creating more than 17,800 direct jobs and many more indirect jobs, the DoT said.

To quickly boost export of telecom equipment, and incorporate more MSMEs into the telecom manufacturing sector, the department of telecommunications is planning to revamp the existing PLI scheme for the telecom sector, Business Standard had reported last month.

Funding for the expanded scheme may not be a challenge since the department has surplus funds of more than Rs 1000 crores for the purpose, officials had pointed out.

The scheme is expected to generate additional sales of Rs 2.45 trillion and create employment of more than 44,000 during the scheme period.
As on October-end, last year, the Centre had received Rs 2,725 crore investments from the companies under PLI, the DoT had informed Parliament. This was out of the total Rs 4,014 crore committed by the companies. Meanwhile, products worth Rs 8,804 crore had been exported till then, and 15,500 jobs had been created.

Mobile phone exports

The PLI scheme for Large Scale Electronic Manufacturing of Electronics covers the manufacture of mobile phones and its components. In 2023-24, 33 crore units were produced in India as a result of the scheme, while 0.3 crore units were imported and close to 5 crore units were exported, the DoT said.

As compared to this, 5.8 crore units were produced in the country, while 21 crore units were imported in 2014-15.

“The value of exports of mobile phones has gone up from Rs 1556 crore in 2014-15 and just Rs 1,367 crore in 2017-18, to Rs 1,28,982 crore in 2023-24,” the DoT said.

Meanwhile, import of mobile phones was valued at Rs 48,609 crore in 2014-15. It came down to just Rs 7,665 crore in 2023-24, it added.

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First Published: Jul 10 2024 | 8:59 PM IST

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