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

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Mobile Phone Manufacturing in India

In financial year 2019, India produced around 29 crore units of mobile phones, which comes to an investment of around `2,780 crore, at 2017 prices. These investment figures turn out to be much lower than those reported in the popular press. Original equipment manufacturers and electronic manufacturing service firms dominate the Indian manufacturing scene. The analysis of the five-digit Annual Survey of Industries data for 2016–17 and 2017–18 makes it apparent that the impetus towards domestic assembly of mobile phones through various policy measures has made a positive impact on the growth of investments, particularly in plant and machinery assets. As a result, the direct employment generated per unit fixed asset has decreased in 2017–18. Value addition for a majority of the firms at the five-digit level was less than 10% in 2017–18.

The Nokia SEZ Story

The closure of Nokia's mobile phone assembly plant in Sriperumbudur, near Chennai, just eight years after it commenced production, illustrates how corporations can quit operations at a point when it is no longer profitable for them to continue, while the impact of such closures on workers is profound. The special economic zones policy of the state actively promoted corporate-led industrialisation promising employment, and creating aspirations among young workers. There was no accountability or labour-centred exit policies factored into the state's industrial policies when state governments welcomed private investments. With the closure of Nokia, not only have promises been broken, but its workers and supply companies have lost their livelihoods and future possibilities of work.
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