In an interaction with Industry Outlook, Sagar Gupta, Director at EKKAA Electronics shares his views on the potential for AI integration in electronic manufacturing and design, factors that have driven India's shift from electronics import to export and more.
Sagar Gupta is a dynamic leader whose journey began with diverse client exposure during his articleship. Leveraging his father's semiconductor distribution expertise, he entered LED TV manufacturing and achieved industry leadership in just four years through in-house component production and efficient processes, aligning with 'Make in India'.
What is the potential for AI integration in electronic manufacturing and design?
The integration of AI in manufacturing is a pivotal software-driven path. This entails incorporating robotics and AI for precise product and component mapping. AI enables stringent quality and security checks that surpass human capabilities. In tandem with this, modern LED TVs have evolved into software-integrated products, given their connectivity to the internet. This extends to applications supporting AI, allowing seamless integration with devices such as LED TVs, interactive displays, and commercial displays. Today, devising cutting-edge commercial display IPD panels is an innovation in itself, wherein, these panels will enhance internet interaction and accommodate robust applications in defense, education, and institutional sectors.
How is the new manufacturing facility contributing to India's electronics industry growth and adaptation?
With Original Design Manufacturing (ODM), one can take full control of the supply chain, procurement, design software, and customer service. This spares brands from R&D, design, and materials investment. Instead, they can partner with competent partners to finalize their designs and specifications (SKUs), and launch the product within 20 to 25 days, subject to necessary approvals and BIS and BEE certifications.
This streamlined process allows brands to swiftly introduce products, reducing their working capital needs. In an industry marked by fierce competition and numerous brands, it is imperative for players to play a vital role in empowering local Indian brands to expand their presence and compete globally.
What factors have driven India's shift from electronics import to export?
India's stable politics and clear government vision are transforming its manufacturing landscape. The focus now is on reducing import reliance and promoting exports. This shared vision, led by our Prime Minister and industry leaders, is driving a robust industry ecosystem. Altered duty structures make importing less attractive for brands and factories, fueling domestic manufacturing growth. India enjoys competitive labor costs, providing a distinct global advantage. A rich pool of skilled engineers, both in software and hardware, is crucial for our unique growth path. Geographically, India's strategic location allows efficient global distribution, especially to key markets like the United States, Africa, and Australia. Compared to China, our proximity to Africa and Australia, along with lower freight costs, strengthens our competitive edge. Favorable international trade relations bolster our global market position. These factors establish India as a strong contender in the evolving global manufacturing landscape.
Could you outline the scope, eligibility, and incentives of the PLI Scheme for electronic manufacturing?
The PLI scheme 2.0 for IT hardware has been announced, but LED TVs and washing machines are yet to be included. While TLI and IPS have their provisions, there's no dedicated scheme for LED TVs. The government is expected to introduce a PLI scheme for LED TVs, washing machines, and speakers to boost domestic manufacturing. Currently, the focus is on semiconductors, which may take five to ten years to mature in India. A PLI scheme is needed now to stimulate consumer durables manufacturing, especially for LED TVs, washing machines, and speakers, which are currently overlooked in the policy landscape.
How does the government support startup funding in the electronics sector?
The government has implemented several policies to facilitate our transition into an export-oriented company, reducing our reliance on local supply chains. One such policy is the "MOOWR scheme," which proves instrumental in significantly cutting down our working capital costs. Under this scheme, we are no longer required to pay duties and GST at the time of import, providing us with a crucial deferment period. This alleviates the need for us to invest in GST on stored inventory, streamlining our operations. We can now remit GST at the point of sale or for exports, eliminating the need for refund requests. This simplification greatly aligns with our export-focused strategy. Furthermore, state-provided facilities and subsidies have empowered us to make substantial investments in construction, expanding our infrastructure and enhancing our research and development capabilities. This support has also enabled us to employ a robust labor force, bolstering our operations. This strategic allocation of resources has proven to be a significant boon for our industry.