What are the goals set for MAIT at the recently conducted Annual Meet at Goa?
MAIT is a 29-year-old organization and it has changed over the years in order to cope with the demands and requirements of the changing IT industry in India. Presently, MAIT is focussed on improving the made-in-India sign or improving the brand “Made in India”, by inviting a lot of finished goods manufacturers, OEMs, etc. to India. This is a step to ensure that India, by 2020, becomes net foreign exchange positive in terms of electronics and IT companies.
Next, we are looking at enabling the demand generation process by creating awareness and bridging the digital divide so that the power of technology and power of computing could reach masses. This would mean governance reaching citizens better, faster and it becomes relatively easier for them to participate in the economic progress of India.
What is MAIT doing towards promoting manufacturing in India?
We are in constant dialogue with the Ministry of Finance because there are certain issues in this particular set-up where import of components attracts higher duties than import of finished goods. This is termed as inverted duty structure that makes some of the IT manufacturing very costly. Thus, people prefer to import some of these rather than manufacturing in India. One part of the story is in interacting with the Government to tell them to remove the various disabilities so that these parts and components and sub-assemblies can be manufactured here in India. We are also in discussion with various industries to come and set up manufacturing facilities here in India. We are giving them examples and giving them various case studies, thereby telling them that when there is sufficient scale, manufacturing in India can be much cheaper and better.
What value IT channel associations bring to MAIT as members?
In the days to come, we would witness proliferation of consumer premise, equipments or handheld devices. This is due to the schemes like where the Department of IT is planning to connect all the Gram Panchayats by fibre optic connectivity, which comprises of lots of e-health and e-education programmes riding over it. Thus, the consumer would be required to have access to all these facilities/ programmes through some kind of devices - be it a tablet, PC or a phone. This leads to a situation where vendors would want more reach to the masses and understand the issues that these consumers would be facing. Because of the size of the geography, these regional channel associations will play a big role in not only taking the message from the consumer to the manufacturers but also in taking technology to the customer.
However, to start with, we have started bringing on board some of the larger channel associations like Ahmedabad Computer Merchants Association (ACMA), Confederation of IT Associations (Madurai), TAIT (Mumbai) and COMPASS, etc.
What value MAIT membership would mean to the channel associations?
Everybody knows MAIT’s responsibilities and how it operates. There is no hidden agenda. Coming together with us, these channel associations will have a very large and incredible platform to express their views and suggestions.
MAIT is meant for manufacturers; hope it is not challenging any guidelines of the association?
Today, most of the companies are importing goods to India as they don’t have manufacturing facilities in our country. In real sense, they are importers in India who are our members irrespective of the fact that they have a manufacturing base somewhere outside India. So, from that perspective, we already have people on board who are not manufacturers. Rather than narrowly defining ourselves, we are looking at the entire ICT ecosystem, and if the manufacturer also has to sell, they have to connect to the consumers through these channel partners which comprise of SIs, SPs, resellers, etc. Coming on the boards of these channel associations will be helpful to our common goal.