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12th Anniversary

Govt asks ISRO to share technology for manufacturing Lithium-ion batteries for vehicles
Source: The Times of India; April 8, 2017

The government has asked Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to allow interested players including from private sector to obtain the technology for mass production of Lithium-Ion batteries for electric vehicles. ISRO will now come up with a framework to make this process smooth.

Over half a dozen major automobile companies, battery manufacturers and public sector undertakings have already approached ISRO. These are Mahindra Renault, Hyundai, Nissan, Tata Motors, High Energy Batteries, BHEL and Indian Oil are keen to produce the indigenous Lithium-ion batteries.

The Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre under ISRO has developed indigenous technology to manufacture such high-power batteries for automobiles and their feasibility tests in vehicles have been successful.

Union road transport minister Nitin Gadkari had sought ISRO's help to develop indigenous technology for Lithium-ion batteries so that their prices are within the reach of Indian customers. ISRO had earlier developed similar batteries for satellite and the launch vehicle applications.

The government has set an ambitious target for pushing more use of electric vehicles to reduce air pollution, which has become one of the biggest health concerns.

Batteries are the key components of any electric vehicle. At present, all Lithium-ion batteries are imported and it's very expensive. Such batteries have high-power, but these weigh less and their volume is much less as well in comparison to conventional batteries.

Defence ministry to launch Innovation Company formed by Bharat Electronics, HAL
Source: Hindustan Times; April 8, 2017

Defence Innovation Organisation (DIO) is to be launched as a non-profit company later this month to foster technology development and innovative products with commercial potential for the defence sector, informed sources said.

The company is being formed by defence electronics major Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and defence aviation major Hindustan Aeronautics Limited(HAL).

The Defence ministry had in December approved the creation of a Defence Innovation Fund (DIF) under which the DIO is being formed.

“This was a ministry of Defence initiative and was tasked to BEL and HAL. The new entity will work under the guidance of the ministry which will provide the ideas and topics for innovation,” a BEL source told IANS.

The company will fund development of new and innovative products and solutions for India’s defence requirements.

“Anyone from academia, medium and small enterprises, research and development institutes, individuals and start ups can approach DIO for funding,” source said.

“BEL and HAL are contributing Rs 5 crore each to Defence Innovation Organisation, a Section 8 company, to promote innovation in defence. The company will be launched within this month,” the source said.

As per the Section 8 of the Indian Companies Act, 2013, not-for-profit companies can be established for promotion of art, culture, science et al.

After the launch, DIO will choose a knowledge partner for screening the ideas received for funding support.

Smartron to create new facilities in Telangana
Source: The Hindu; April 9, 2017

Technology and Internet of things (IoT) devices firm Smartron on Friday signed a memorandum of understanding with the Telangana government to expand its research and development facility in the State as well as establish a mega data centre and manufacturing unit.

The Hyderabad-based start-up, with its sight set on becoming a global OEM player, would invest ?1,500 crore over the next three years on new facilities and expansion.

Founder and chairman Mahesh Lingareddy said the data centre would have 10,000 servers (racks) and support the tronX IoT platform of the company. While the campus would require about 20 acres, the project required an investment of around ?500 crore.

A similar amount would go into the manufacturing unit which focusses on non-handset products such as smart devices, sensors, wireless router, smart bands, laptops, and electric bikes. The MoU, signed in presence of Information Technology and Industries Minister K.T. Rama Rao, was also for expanding the corporate headquarters and research and development centre, besides for working with T-Hub technology incubator.

For handsets, the company would continue to depend on the Foxconn unit in Sri City and that of another partner in Noida.

Set up in August 2014, the company has employed 200 people, a chunk of them in Chennai. The plan was to grow the headcount to 500 by March 2018.

Aristocrat plans to align with Indian startups to ramp up innovation
Source: Deccan Herald; April 9, 2017

As part of its effort to ramp up innovation, $8-billion Australia-based gaming giant Aristocrat has conceived the idea of investing in Indian startups, specifically those seeking Series B, C and D funding.

In an interaction with DH, Fusion Labs Entrepreneur in Residence, Tania Darvell, who is helping Aristocrat operationalise its strategy, said the company is looking to partner with key players in the Indian startup ecosystem. “The Indian ecosystem is full of opportunity, with deep technology capabilities, combined with startup founders who are well-educated and passionate to succeed,” said Tania. Aristocrat CFO Toni Korsanos says, “Aristocrat is a proudly innovative company and this new innovation function will be focused exclusively on technologies that sit outside Aristocrat’s core gaming business while utilising their existing local tech talent.”

“Aristocrat has a strong land-based casino gaming business as well as a chart-topping social casino gaming app (Heart of Vegas). Aristocrat knows how to make great game content and technology, and we believe those skills are highly transferable to other verticals such as edutech for example,” said Korsanos Tania pointed out that in addition to accelerating internal ideas, Aristocrat will be making investments and exploring mergers and acquisitions, partnering with leading VCs and also sourcing opportunities independently.

IoT to get a boost from digitization drive
Source: The New Indian Express; April 10, 2017

The digitisation push by the government could act as a catalyst towards the growth of Internet of Things (IoT), say experts. IoT is critical for the services and manufacturing sectors which face challenges in terms of maintaining customer relationship, increased competition and commoditisation.

IoT, which allows a set of connected devices running on software and sensors to exchange data, is considered to be one of the enablers that would benefit from this digitisation drive. It is fuelled by the advancement of digital technologies, as well as dramatically changing the way companies engage in business activities and how people interact with their environment.

“They feel the need to engage digitally with suppliers, partners and employees in addition to customers,” says Ashish Gulati, country head, Telit India.According to Nasscom, theIndian industry crossed the $100-billion mark in 2012 and could touch $300 billion by 2020. “The role of IoT in business is shifting from an enabler to a strategic partner,” said Raman Roy, chairman, Nasscom.The explosion of data is making it necessary for businesses to proactively adopt technology to differentiate themselves.

“The process where customers can pay their bills through any of the multiple acquirers via banks’ POS to the merchant or brand is possible with help of IoT,” says N K Goyal of the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, a business information company.

Samsung, Rising Star and Intex are India’s leading mobile OEMs: CMR
Source: The Indian Express; April 10, 2017

Samsung, Rising Star and Intex are the top three Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) in India for the fourth quarter of 2016, according to market research firm CyberMedia Research (CMR). The report also notes that it was perhaps time to take another look at ‘Make in India’ initiative. It notes that there is a need to strengthen domestic brands in manufacturing with a focus on bringing design and engineering to India as well.

According to CMR, 48 OEMs and third party manufacturers made mobile handsets in India during Q4, 2016, while the rest 140 ODMs supply to brands selling in India. OEMs are the original manufacturers, while ODMs are Original Design Manufacturers, which design and manufacture phones, which are then branded and sold by another smartphone company. If one goes by the CMR report, ODMs are dominating the Indian mobile market.

While Intex leads in the under 4K smartphone range, Samsung is on top in the 4K-8K range as well 15K-20K. Rising Stars Mobile India leads in the 10K to 15K range. This OEM manufacturers phones for Asus, Gionee, InFocus, Microsoft, Oppo, and Xiaomi in India. Hong Fu Ji Precision Electronics is leading in the above 20K range; this is a subsidiary of Foxconn.

“The positive thing about ‘Make in India’ of attracting foreign OEMs to assemble/manufacture in India has been progressively achieved. However, at the same time, it has not resulted in strengthening of domestic brands.

Bangladesh eyes deeper economic ties with India
Source: Mint; April 11, 2017

Bangladesh is looking to launch more trade channels with India, increase the number of border markets and open up routes closed since the 1965 India-Pakistan war, to take economic links between the neighbours to the next level, visiting Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said on Monday.

At a meeting of Indian industry representatives organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry—one of her last engagements before heading home—Hasina called for investments in sectors such as infrastructure, power and energy, transport, manufacturing, food and agricultural processing in Bangladesh.

Hasina was on a four-day visit to India, her first bilateral trip in seven years. On Saturday, India signed two lines of credit worth $5 billion.

One of the lines of credit, of $ 4.5 billion, is for 17 projects in infrastructure and power, and the other of $500 million is for the purchase of defence hardware—one of the first such lines of credit extended by India to a country in its immediate neighbourhood.

The two countries also signed 13 business-to-business pacts on Monday—mainly in power and energy—valued at almost $9 billion.

“To facilitate further investments, a one-stop service Act is currently being finalised. I urge Indian investors to consider possible investments in Bangladesh in infrastructure projects, power and energy, food and agro processing, manufacturing and transport sectors,” Hasina said.

Now, Nasscom plans to set up IoT CoE in city
Source: The Times of India; April 11, 2017

It is going to be a double IT bonanza for the city as after zeroing in on Hyderabad for a centre of excellence (CoE) on big data and analytics, Nasscom is now planning another CoE for internet of things (IoT) in Hyderabad, senior Nasscom officials said.

"We have already set up one of the IoT CoEs in Bengaluru. The Union government is looking at setting up more and Hyderabad is one of the cities. If you look at IoT, it is one of the game changing technologies that can have tremendous impact in many verticals such as retail, e-governance and healthcare, among others," said Nasscom sector skill council chairman B V R Mohan Reddy, who was also Nasscom chairman during 2015-16. Sanjeev Malhotra, CEO, IoT Centre of Excellence, told TOI that Nasscom is waiting for an approval from the central government. "Once approval is granted, we will request for space from the state government. This will be set up in a public private partnership (PPP) model, wherein half of the funding will come from the central government and half from industry," he said. He pointed out that once the project is approved, Nasscom will require around 10,000-15000 sft space for setting up the centre, of which around 3,000 sft will be lab space, he added.

Nasscom, in association with the Department of Electronics & Information Technology (DeitY) and Education and Research Network (ERNET), had last year in July launched its first IoT CoE at Bengaluru.

Revised Defence Procurement Manual expected shortly
Source: Millenium Post; April 11, 2017

The revised Defence Procurement Manual, which is expected shortly, is likely to incorporate "long term support agreement" in the indigenisation project, an Army official said on Tuesday. It will also have several provisions that have been amended to make it easier for industries to take part in the defence manufacturing process. "The revised Defence Procurement Manual will soon come. It will likely to incorporate long term support agreement in the indigenisation projects," said Brigadier Ratan Kumar, Deputy Director General, EM (B), MGO Branch. Despite close to 70 years after Independence, India is yet to achieve self-sufficiency in the field of critical defence technologies, Kumar said adding: "Therefore, we have no choice but to import these technologies at high cost. Our aim is to achieve self-reliance in critical defence technologies as well as defence manufacturing." The Master General of Ordinance (MGO) Branch of the Indian Army is responsible for the operational readiness of Indian Army's vast collection of weapon systems, vehicles, equipment and other things.

Brigadier Kumar, who was addressing at a regional annual MGO Branch Industry Cooperation Meet (RAMICOM) with a special theme on indigenisation of engineering department, organised jointly by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and MGO Branch, said the industries would be facilitated under the revised Manual so that they could take part in the indigenisation projects. The revised Manual would try to address the concerns of the industries. A 'Long Term Support Agreement' (LTSA), in some cases, could be incorporated in the revised Defence Procurement Manual.

FICCI survey suggests that higher production costs impact manufacturing competitiveness
Source: DNA; April 11, 2017

According to the latest survey of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), the rising production costs significantly impacted the manufacturing competitiveness in the last few months.

FICCI's latest quarterly survey on manufacturing highlights that there is a perceptible decline for the manufacturing sector outlook in the Q4 (January-March) of the last fiscal, as the percentage of respondents reporting higher production and exports in fourth quarter have declined vis-?-vis previous quarter.

However, it is also notable in the survey that the percentage of respondents reporting lower production has reduced by half over the previous quarter thereby indicating a more stable outlook in months to come.

The proportion of respondents reporting higher growth during the January-March 2017 quarter has slightly fallen from 48 percent in October-December 2016-17 to 46 percent.

FICCI?s latest quarterly survey assessed the expectations of manufacturers for Q-4 (January-March 2017) for twelve major sectors namely auto, capital goods, cement and ceramics, chemicals, electronics & electricals, food products, leather and footwear, machine tools, metal and metal products, paper products, textiles and technical textiles and textiles machinery.

Responses have been drawn from 320 manufacturing units from both large and SME segments with a combined annual turnover of over Rs. 3.8 lakh crore.

Indian economy emerging as first among emerging economies: President
Source: Livemint; April 11, 2017

President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday said days are not far off when India’s economy will be among the top five in terms of absolute value and several glorious chapters will be added to the country’s public sector undertakings (PSUs) in the future.

The President highlighted that major changes were brought in 1956, 1973, 1980 and finally 1991, which is considered as the beginning of the era of liberalisation, as a result of which “the Indian economy unleashed its potential and today it is emerging as the first among the emerging economies”.

“Days are not far off when Indian economy will be considered, I am not merely talking from purchasing power of parity, we are already third (in that), but even in terms of absolute value, Indian economy will be in the first 3,4,5 countries...It is reachable,” Mukherjee said.

Addressing an award function to honour outstanding central public sector enterprises (CPSEs), the President expressed a strong belief that India’s public sector story has not ended, it is unfolding slowly and many more glorious chapters will be added to its credit in the years to come. He said it would “not be appropriate” to prophesier the opinion that he is “the product of that regime which strongly believed in the public sector,” because his ministerial career of 35 years is almost equally divided in the pre-liberalised and post-liberalised eras.

Agreement with Russia for Making Sukhoi Aircraft
Source: Business Standard; April 11, 2017

An agreement was made last March between India and a Russian company manufacturing Sukhoi planes, for the supply of spare parts. During Indo-Russia Military-Industrial Conference (March 17-18), 2017 held in New Delhi, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has signed agreements with Russian Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) and United Engine Corporation (UEC) for long-term support on after sales service of Su-30 MKI aircraft.

The Agreement signed by HAL with Russian OEMs are for long-term supply of spares and rendering technical assistance for five years and do not cover any technology transfer.

However, these agreements will enable HAL to procure the required spares based on the price catalogues directly from the OEMs, authorized by Federal Services on Military Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) of Russian Federation for Su-30 MKI fleet and boost after sales service by reducing lead time in procurement of spares significantly.

The steps taken by the Government towards creating conditions conducive for the Private industry to take an active role enhancing potential of Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs) by indigenizing and broadening the Defence R&D base of the country inter-alia include the following

A new Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP), 2016 has been promulgated by the Government to take effect from 01st April, 2016 whereby a new category of procurement Buy {Indian-IDDM (Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured)} which has been accorded topmost priority for procurement of Capital equipment. Besides this, preference has been accorded to Buy (Indian) and Buy & Make (Indian) categories of capital acquisition over Buy (Global) and Buy & Make (Global) categories.

Six lakh IT and electronics jobs in next 2 years: Lokesh
Source: The Hindu; April 12, 2017

Minister for IT Nara Lokesh on Tuesday said about six lakh jobs would be created in the IT and Electronics industry in the State in the next two years and plans were being made accordingly with the focus on small and medium scale companies. Mr. Lokesh was speaking after inaugurating the extended office of the KJ Systems (India) Pvt. Ltd., near the Executive Club junction in the city. Mr. Lokesh said as promised during the poll campaign by the Telugu Desam Party, the youth would get job opportunities.

“As part of it, we took up the e-Health initiative through which Knowledge Process Outsourcing and Business Process Outsourcing firms related to medical services will be brought to Amaravati where a mini health club will be formed. In the next one year, 5,000 jobs will be created there and it is my responsibility,” Mr. Lokesh said. “ Our youth in Vizag, Amaravati and Tirupati will provided with job opportunities. We are working out a plan and will announce it in a week. In IT we will create one lakh jobs in the next two years and we will also release a white paper on our plans. In Electronics too, five lakh jobs will be created with Ralayaseema as the manufacturing hub of electronics and auto-motives.

“Two years ago, I met the cell phone manufacturers and had lunch with them as the CM was unable to come. I extended support as per their requirement and Foxconn came forward to set up a manufacturing unit. It now employees 9,000 local women. More than 3,500 jobs will be created as a couple of cell phone manufacturers will set up their units in the region soon. A major announcement in this regard will be made by the month end,” he said.

Sebi may ease AIF regulations for start-up investments’
Source: Mint; April 12, 2017

A committee set up by India’s stock market regulator, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), to encourage investments in so-called alternative investment funds (AIF), which invest in start-ups and other young companies, will likely recommend a lower investment threshold for accredited investors, said two people familiar with the discussions of the group.

The people, who asked not to be identified, said the committee would also recommend anonymized disclosure norms which, while providing adequate information to potential investors, do not involve sharing details of specific exits (the sale of an investment).

The committee, headed by former Infosys chairman N.R. Narayana Murthy, is to submit its third set of recommendations by the end of April.

According to the two people cited above, the committee is likely to recommend lowering the minimum investment in AIFs by accredited investors to Rs25 lakh from the current Rs1 crore, thereby bringing investing in AIFs on a par with investing in portfolio management services (PMS).“There was also a view that there should be no minimum investment cap for accredited investors altogether but most members were in favour of a lower cap of Rs25 lakh,” one of the two people said, adding, “However, the final figure may be different from what is being discussed and the deliberations are still on.”An accredited investor, as proposed in its January 2016 recommendations by the committee, is one that meets criteria related to income, net worth, asset size, governance status and professional experience. The idea is to ensure the investor has the sophistication to deal with securities not registered with financial authorities.

Compiled by IESA Research

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