ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Development Strategy for Electronics Industry-Ensuring Success of Technological Innovation

of date.'' "Moreover, foreign collaborators often change their models, with the result, that the components required for production of equipment under licence become difficult to obtain when their production in the country of origin is discontinued. Consequently, the indigenous industry will often be forced to stock large quantities of components to maintain the production of equipment under licence and for repairs." "A serious and undesirable feature of the present situation is that foreign collaborators often dictate the sources of procurement [of components] themselves. This is accepted as the Indian manufacturer does not possess enough design expertise, even alter paying for knowhow,' to be able to adapt equipment designs to use components available indigenously or in the world market at competitive prices. This largely annuls whatever reductions in cost and in foreign ' dependence are apparently achieved by going in for foreign'collaborations/' Taking its cue from the Bhabha Committee, the Electronics Committee has concentrated its attention, during the three and a half years of its existence, on placing contracts on laboratories, universities and companies for developing, what I shall for the moment call, 'knowhow'. As of today the Committee Has placed some 18 such contracts, The outlay on these contracts during the first year of actual funding, viz, 1969, has been around Rs 33 laths while that in the coming-year is about" Rs 1 crore. However, before the Electronics Committee came on the scene, and indeed even after, government agencies with major interests in electronics such as the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) had undertaken a number of D & D projects with their own funds oriented towards agency-specific goals. Unfortunately, no data is available on the total number of D & D projects tinder way in the country as a whole, the problems they are tackling and the resources that have been utilised by them.1 It is however possible to make a 'guesstimate' that during 1969 the total national outlay on electronics. D & D was of the order of about Rs 6 crores and that the number of scientists and engineers (but not supporting staff) engaged on it, again on an optimistic basis, was of the order of 7,000. These figures may be compared, in order to get some perspective, with the Rs 3 crores and 6,334 scientists and engineers, assessed as being engaged in electronics R & D in 1966.2 The question arises: have any of these projects reached the stage where even pilot plant or prototype production, utilising the .knowhow generated by them,, have been established? It is a matter of regret that, as far as those supported by the Electronics Committee are concerned, none except two can make sugh a claim to what is often used as a criterion of 'successful' D & D. The corresponding figures for projects undertaken as a result" of decision taken at the agency level are unfortunately not known. It is, however, possible to secure an overall national estimate from a consideration of the proportion of electronics output, other than of radio receivers, which is based on locally developed knowhow. I have computed this to be 40 per cent for the year 1966 (about Rs 6 crores in absolute value) M-149 Development Strategy for Electronics Industry Ensuring Success of Technological Innovation A Parthasarathi In an industry like electronics where technological changes are rapid, the demand of strategic self- sufficiency great and the current dependence on imported manufacturing technology acute, we just must devise ways and means of ensuring that the resources committed to domestic design and development pay off commercially.

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