Nobody in my dept listens to me, what do I do: Sibal

An interesting statement was made by IT and Telecom minister Kapil Sibal yesterday that no one in his ministry listens to him. While pointing out issues in the telecom industry and the functioning of various agencies in the government he said, “For last two-and-a-half years, I have been telling my department what are you doing, but nobody listens.”
“So what do you do. The problem with me is this,”  Sibal added.

Sibal was speaking at the CII convened National telecom summit in Delhi. He also said that he is struggling to convince various departments on several issues including setting up of manufacturing units. While talking about setting up of Rs 25,000 crore fab manufacturing plant he said that various departments want to go with the age-old tender process in finalising the project. “It is not practically possible, especially in high-tech projects’ because of strategic reasons,” he added.

“One of the big decisions we have to take is that we have to have fab unit (computer chip plant) in India. It takes so much battling to be done to convince our government agencies and our own government how necessary it is to have our fab unit.”

So far, India, the world’s fastest growing telecom market and second largest communications industry, does not have a single electronics chip manufacturing plant. Surprising. No?

If we look back, in April 2011, a high level committee that was headed by none other than Sam Pitroda, Prime Minster’s adviser on science and technology, to identify investors and companies to set up a fab unit. Following that two private consortia shown interest in setting up the plants, however the same has been hanging in lurch as the consortia is yet to get a clearance from one of the government departments.

While pointing out the importance of having such unit, Sibal said that by 2020, the import bill from electronics chips would touch $300 billion, unless India has its own manufacturing units.

Electronic chips or wafers are the most crucial components of any electronics gadget, be it mobile phones, laptops or camera etc.

“We should manufacture our own chip. We can’t afford to import chip for all devices,” Sibal said adding that there is a sense of fear prevails among all.

“Everything in this country is subject to fear that court may put you in jail tomorrow. We have to get out of that fear. If I have to go to jail for children of India, I’d rather go to jail than not empower my children,” Sibal added.

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