Prof. NK Goyal, Chairman, Telecom Equipment Manufacturers Association of India (TEMA)

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TEMA Is The Only Association Which Has Joined Ribbon Cutting
Of World’s Largest Show CES, Las Vegas For More Than Ten Years In A Row

AB. Could you tell us about your beginnings with the Telecom Equipment Manufacturers Association? Please share some of your professional moments with us.

Prof. NK Goyal. TEMA owes its establishment to the India’s first ever “Telecom Manufacturers Conference” organized by Telecom commission just within three months of its incorporation, on 13th/14th June,1889 at New Delhi. Taking clue from this conference and to follow up telecom manufacturing sector, the TEMA was formed on 1st June,1990, as the first ever telecom sector association in India.

It may be recalled that Telecom Commission was established by Resolution and gazette on 11.4.1989. TEMA is grateful that the “Production” was recognized in the resolution of formation of Telecom Commission as:

  • “In order to promote rapid development in all aspects of telecommunications including technology, production and services, the GOI consider it necessary to set up an organization, which will have responsibility in the entire field of telecommunications.
  • After careful consideration, the GOI have decided to establish a Telecommunication Commission with full executive and financial powers”

The first telecom manufacturer’s conference was attended by 100 manufacturers, which were initial members of TEMA. Some of the highlights of the said conference and relevant as on date were:

  1. One of objectives of conference was “To meet the telecom needs of the Country, it is necessary to increase the production of telecom equipment in the Country by at least three times.”
  2. In his Welcome Address Shri BS Murthy, the then Member (Production) cum Ex Officio Secretary to Govt. of India said:
  • There is need to, at least, treble the production of Telecom Equipment in the Country during the coming five years.
  • A common forum has been provided for exchange of views among Government departments, manufacturers and users so that a national strategy can be evolved for meeting the challenges of indigenous production.
  • The conference will focus the attention on ways and means of achieving the target of increasing the telephone density. This can be achieved only by total participation and motivation of all the telecom manufacturers in the Country.

3. Shri PS Deodhar, the then Adviser Media, Planning Commission in his opening address said:

  • The indigenous production is totally inadequate to match this needs. The answer does not lie in importing the systems from Multinational companies. The thrust should be on indigenous production.
  • Imported technology is expensive. There is no need to import technology. The money saved could be gainfully employed in setting up in built R&D and investing in technology appropriate to Indian conditions.

4. Shri Abid Hussain, the then Member Planning commission in his Key Note Address said: Highlighted the Government commitment to indigenously designed and manufactured equipment.

5. One of the recommendations was “9.4: Establish telecom export promotion council….decision agreed. IL will be entrusted with this task”.

Finally, the said Export council was formed by TEMA and its initial notification was issued as “TEMA Export Promotion Council”, that was later changed to “Telecom Equipment and Services Export Promotion Council (TEPC)”

AB. What do you think the most difficult component of this job is, and what are you doing to address it?

Prof. NK Goyal. Every Govt policy since independence right from Industrial Policy Resolution 1956, talks of promotion of telecom manufacturing and several initiatives, policies taken, yet India yet to achieve substantial position as hub for manufacturing. The issue is world over the Countries like China, Japan, US, Sweden, Korea, etc. invested heavily in R&D and developed technologies and promoted them even to the extent of blocking of competitive technologies. For example USA and South Korea did not allowed GSM and China stopped 3G/4G. India on the contrary welcomed all technologies without any restriction or even import licence. That allowed all global technologies to market in India. The Indian technologies, thus were forced to compete with large foreign companies and they never acquired large global base. Now during present times Govt forced 4G from domestic sources to BSNL and has also formed committees for 5G/6G for R&D and domestic manufacturing promotion. Biggest challenge is access to market for domestic manufactured products.

The foreign manufacturers offer very low cost finance and dirt cheap costs. With PLI and Make in India, this may improve. Hence domestic manufacturing offers very good scope. However, the Make in India policies as of now applies only to Central Govt and its PSUs. It need to be extended to State Govt and their projects and private industries.

AB. What is the size of India’s telecom equipment manufacturing industry? In the next two to three years, what amount of growth do you anticipate?

Prof. NK Goyal. Hon’ble FM launched National Infrastructure Pipeline on 31.12.2019. She said the Country has a compilation of projects worth Rs 102 lakh crore and in next few months, it would reach the Rs 300 lakh crore target. Even if 4-5% of this is taken for telecom projects, it would be around Rs 12-15, 00,000- 5, 00,000 Crores. We estimate at least 50% of this, i.e. about Rs 6, 00,000- 7, 50,000 Crores should be coming from domestic manufacturers, cumulative over the next five years.

AB. What steps should the government take to encourage domestic telecom equipment manufacturing?

Prof. NK Goyal. Extend MAKE in India PPP MII to State Government and their projects and private companies. Have a long term policy to sustain, promote local technologies. Enforce local specifications mad by DOT TEC on all the industries whether private or Government. Identify relevant technologies, invest in R&D and promote their use in Defence/Govt. as also private uses, on the lines of US DARPA policies.

AB. According to a new analysis by Booz & Co, India’s domestic manufacturing sector will not grow at a promising rate. What are your thoughts on the subject?

Prof. NK Goyal. We do not agree with this proposition, as with focus on Digital India, Make in India and internet revolution, upcoming 5G/6G, India is now world’s second largest market after China.

AB. Could you please tell us about the TEMA’s most recent activities and conferences?

Prof. NK Goyal. TEMA is known world over by the fact that it is the only association in world, which has joined Ribbon Cutting of world’s largest show CES, Las Vegas for more than ten years in a row. TEMA is also known as founder of World Electronics Forum, Asia Electronics Forum. TEMA is also known for instituting CMAI ICT World Communication Awards, National; Telecom Awards, International Education Excellence Awards, International CSR awards and International Cyber Security Awards. TEMA is taken as a brand and important stakeholder for policies related to Telecom, ICT, Digital technologies etc. TEMA and its promoted association CMAI has a membership base of 48,500 and 74 MOU partners worldwide.

TEMA regularly conducts seminars, conferences and international exhibitions on telecom, ICT, cyber security, Education, technology issues. TEMA also regularly interact with Govt. on policy formulations for spectrum, procurement, technical evaluation, standards, specifications, National security related matters.

AB. A few foreign vendors have already established manufacturing operations in the country. How do you think indigenous producers will do against established players with huge pockets?

Prof. NK Goyal. Any body manufacturing in India is treated as Indian manufacturing.

AB. Finally, what is your vision for the industry in which you work? Do you have any specific goals in mind?

Prof. NK Goyal. To make Atma Nirbhar Bharat in telecom sector by 2023.

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