India's Telecom Trade Deficit Widens As Imports Surge To Rs 1,46,000 Crore


(MENAFN- KNN India) New Delhi, Jul 9 (KNN) In a concerning trend for India's telecommunications sector, recent data from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) reveals a significant imbalance between imports and exports of Telecom products in the fiscal year 2024.

The country's imports, valued at over Rs 1,46,000 crore, dwarfed its exports, which stood at approximately Rs 20,000 crore-a ratio of nearly 7:1.

This widening trade deficit comes despite the government's ambitious Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for telecom products, launched in FY22.

The scheme, which boasts 42 beneficiaries and a committed outlay of Rs 4,115 crore from the Centre, appears to have fallen short of its intended impact thus far.

Alarmingly, India's telecom exports have been on a downward trajectory for the past three years. From a high of over Rs 60,000 crore in FY22, exports have plummeted to just a third of that value in FY24. This decline is particularly worrisome given the government's emphasis on boosting domestic manufacturing and exports.

On the import front, the figures paint a picture of steady increase. From Rs 1,22,000 crore in FY22, imports rose to Rs 1,36,000 crore in FY23, before reaching the current level of approximately Rs 1,46,000 crore in FY24. This upward trend in imports, coupled with declining exports, has exacerbated the sector's trade imbalance.

The situation appears at odds with recent claims made by outgoing Minister of Communications Ashwini Vaishnaw, who hailed the 'Make in India' initiative as a "resounding success."

Vaishnaw pointed to major equipment manufacturers like Nokia and Ericsson, stating that they now produce 90 per cent of their equipment in India.

Industry experts had hoped that the introduction of Open Radio Access Network (OpenRAN) standards would democratise telecom equipment manufacturing by allowing smaller players to enter the market.

However, the DoT data suggests that these initiatives have yet to significantly impact the trade deficit.

While telecom operators like Reliance assert that they are deploying "made in India" network equipment in their 5G rollout, the overall picture remains one of increasing dependence on imports.

(KNN Bureau)

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KNN India

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