Government aims to cut mobile import bill by 30 per cent in 2016-17

DeitY additional Secretary Ajay Kumar

DeitY additional Secretary Ajay Kumar

Mobile handset imports in India are likely to drop by about 30 per cent in value terms this fiscal on the back of increased domestic production, according to the department of electronics and IT (DeitY).

The department said it expects mobile handset imports to touch Rs 40,000 crore in 2016-17, down from Rs 56,000 crore in 2015-16. It was Rs 58,500 crore in 2014-15 and Rs 42,200 crore in 2013-14.

“As domestic mobile manufacturing is growing, the volume of imports is eventually coming down. We are expecting Rs 40,000 crore worth of mobile handsets import in the year 2016-17,” DeitY additional Secretary Ajay Kumar told ET.

Kumar attributed the expected decline in imports to some 40 mobile phone companies kicking off their device production programmes from within their facilities in the country.

The Narendra Modi government is pushing companies to manufacture more in the country. Lately, both multinationals as well as homegrown mobile firms have set up manufacturing units in the country. These include Samsung, Xiaomi, Gionee, Lava, Karbonn, Micromax, Intex, Jivi, iTel, and MTech, among others.

According to data, India manufactured 60 million units of mobile phones in 2014-15 valued at about Rs 18,900 crore. This grew to 110 million units in 2015-16.

Kumar, who heads the department’s electronics and hardware manufacturing division, also expects ground activity in component-level manufacturing in the country.

“With a duty-differential regime for four components, 12 different units of these parts have come up in the last six months,” the official said.The government has, however, notified adapters, batteries, wired headsets and speakers of mobile handsets, and the industry expects production of these components to contribute nearly Rs 8,000 crore by 2018.

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