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Company : MAIT 
Friday, August 4, 2000 12:20PM IST (6:50AM GMT)
Vinay Deshpande takes over as the New President: to drive MAIT agenda
New Delhi, Delhi, India

"Exports of electronics equipment and components are 47% of the GDP of Singapore and 65% of that of Malaysia. The story of China, Thailand and Korea is not too different." This was revealed at the high-powered 18th MAIT Annual Conference held at New Delhi. "While most of the South-East Asian economies are harnessing IT/Electronic manufacturing for economic prosperity, investments in IT manufacturing in India have remained poor. An estimated Rs 1,200 crores have been invested in India since liberalisation and a substantial proportion of this has been in picture tube manufacturing." remarked Mr. Hemant Bharat Ram President MAIT giving a perspective of the Global IT manufacturing.

The MAIT Annual conference was presided over by H.E Mr. Richard Celeste, the Ambassador of the United States of America in India and Mr. P V Jayakrishnan, Secretary Ministry of Information Technology. Build around the theme "Economic prosperity through hardware", the event tried to address some of the critical factors that have kept IT manufacturing investments from happening in India and also find the possible solutions for these. The conference also showcased the success story of some of the IT manufacturing firms that were surviving and thriving even in adverse circumstances.

Giving his keynote address, The Ambassador Mr. Richard Celeste remarked, "The software sector is a classic example of an industry flourishing due to deregulation. It is deregulation that has reinforced the confidence of the American investors in the Indian Software sector and this needs to be emulated in the hardware sector as well." He further added "Indian hardware industry is today bogged down by numerous procedural hassles that have kept it away from international level turn-around time. Improving the velocity of the hardware business in India will be one of our moot points for discussions when Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee visits the US."

"I understand that today over 60% of PC sales in India is accompanied with an Internet connection. The rate of growth of Internet usage and thus the correlated PC sales growth could be suffocated if the bandwidth availability in India is not rapidly and significantly improved. The de-monopolisation of the bandwidth is a step in the right direction and the Government should be complemented for this."

Complementing the hardware industry for its good performance, Mr. P V Jayakrishnan, Secretary, Ministry of Information Technology said, "The IT market in India is robust and doubling every two years, however it is a paradox that manufacturing is not happening in the country". He stressed on the need for nurturing and encouraging innovation. "For, without innovation, economic growth is limited by available physical resources. Using innovation and circumventing the poor availability of resources in the country is the means to survival and excellence. It is time that Indian IT firms started thinking beyond the PC, which is a mature product – it might already be somewhat late for India to make a significant contribution in this area. We have to start thinking about other products as well, especially those arising out of the convergence of computing, communications and networking and about uniquely Indian solutions for uniquely Indian needs. Further, India has a large contract manufacturing potential for components like PCBs, hybrid circuits, discrete semiconductor devices, passive components, sub-assemblies and computer peripherals." he added.

The MAIT Annual Day also marks the change in guard at MAIT. Vinay Deshpande took over as the President from the out going President, Hemant Bharat Ram. Vinay Deshpande, a veteran in hardware technology and a spirited entrepreneur, is the currently the Chairman and CEO of Encore Software Ltd. " We need to further the MAIT agenda of reaching IT to the common man through indigenous technology and solutions. India needs low cost unique Indian solutions for unique Indian needs" he remarked on taking over as the MAIT president.

Trade2Gain.com, India's first Business 2 Business Internet auction market place connecting buyers and sellers in a dynamic bidding environment and MAIT have signed an MoU for members of MAIT to dispose their surplus assets and idle inventories on T2G's website – www.trade2gain.com.

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Pushpa Nair, pushpa@business2media.com, +91-11-3326022
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