File photo of Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad | Subhav Shukla | PTI
File photo of Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad | Subhav Shukla | PTI

New Delhi: Union Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has called for India to become the world’s biggest mobile manufacturer, surpassing China. It currently occupies the number two spot.

Speaking on the last day of the three-day FICCI annual general meeting Monday, Prasad said he is “pushing that India should surpass China”. “That’s my goal, and I’m very clear in defining it,” he said.

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Calling it an area of “great passion” for him, the minister shared details about the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for electronic manufacturing, which will ultimately “showcase India as an alternative manufacturing location”.

The export-oriented scheme, which was announced during the pandemic earlier this year, encourages companies to manufacture in India and export abroad to earn monetary incentive offered under the plan.

The companies selected to be part of the PLI scheme have collectively committed to making mobiles and components worth Rs 10 lakh crore in the next five years, providing three lakh direct jobs and six lakh indirect jobs, Prasad said.

In addition to supporting electronics manufacturing, the Narendra Modi government also sought to support the IT sector during the pandemic, easing regulatory and financial requirements so that “85 per cent of India’s IT industry continues to work from home”.

“And now we have finalised it. PM said make it permanent. And now you can work from anywhere. This is a great support which we could give to the IT industry during these challenging times and the whole world is applauding that,” the minister said.

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Govt’s welfare delivery

The minister also shared details of how the Narendra Modi government’s use of technology has helped during the times of Covid-19.

Prasad said the Digital India ecosystem created a “great enabling atmosphere to face the challenge of Covid”. It empowered “ordinary Indians” through technology by bridging digital divide and bringing digital inclusion, he said.

India’s population of over 1.3 billion, with around 1.2 billion mobile phones and 1.26 billion Aadhaar cards, has been leveraged along with the Jan Dhan system to create a new ecosystem to deliver welfare, he noted.

The government has delivered Rs 13 lakh crore in the last five and a half years to the poor through MNREGA payment, gas connection subsidy and food subsidy, said Prasad.

By using the digital system to deliver welfare, the government has saved Rs 1.7 lakh crore, which used to be pocketed by middlemen and fictitious claimants, the minister added.

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