NEW DELHI: US chip major Qualcomm will invest $8.5 million (about Rs 56 crore) to expand its design initiatives in the country even as the government said it was looking to boost local electronics designing for driving innovation in the country.
The investment will go towards it ambitious ‘Design in India’ program to support firms working on rural technology, payment terminals and biometrics devices.
“We will also engage in interoperability testing and can test any carrier’s requirement,” Qualcomm’s Asia Pacific & India SVP and president Jim Cathey told reporters on Tuesday.
Cathey said that the company expects to see impressive success from startups in India next year.
The US company as a part of Qualcomm Design in India Challenge program, is also helping innovators to transform their ideas in its Innovation Lab in Bangalore to prototypes.
The initiative is on the backdrop of the Narendra Modi-led NDA government’s push to increase local design capabilities under the flagship Make in India initiative.
The government is eyeing chip design to fuel innovation and become a central part to India’s ambitious Make in India program.
“Government is facilitating design in India to stimulate innovation and chip design is expected to become integral part of India,” IT and Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
Prasad also stressed upon the need to create Indian patents and industry support to innovators.
“Indians who are working with multinational companies can be provided with a helping hand so that they can create Indian patents and design for India,” Electronics and IT minister added.
In February 2016, the government had unveiled the Electronics Development Fund (EDF) with an initial corpus of Rs 2,200 crore to support early-stage angel funding and venture funds in the Electronics System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) to propel domestic design capabilities and local manufacturing.
“The government is running special programs to facilitate manpower in design,” Prasad said, adding that policy-level support to develop human resources was necessary to promote design in India. “By proper application of technology, we can make a mark and others can follow”.
With a flagship Make in India program, Centre is now aggressively pushing for design in India to give impetus to IPR (Intellectual Proprietary Rights) creation with the country.
He said that focus should be given to rural India, and how chip innovation can enable Aadhaar platform for identification purposes.
The government, according to him, will also announce Aadhaar-enabled payments mechanism soon.
Prasad also said that the industry should work to make digital payments system flawless and the IT department is facilitating human resource needed to support electronics sector.
Digital payments, he said, is picking up in India at a fast pace and has achieved a milestone. “We have undertaken some transformative initiatives. Digital Indian and Smart City are working together in sync to make India an empowering society.”
Design and engineering R&D is one of the fastest growing areas within the IT industry in India, according to Nasscom and as per estimates, it is likely to become a $20 billion segment in 1 to 2 years and to reach $40 billion strong market by 2020.
“From design to manufacturing, we are seeing excitement in terms of electronics manufacturing. There is no major deign company in the world that has no centre in India,” MeitY (Ministry of Electronics and IT) secretary Aruna Sundararajan said.
Telecom secretary JS Deepak said that time has come to undertake more R&D by smaller companies to adept to quick technological changes to give a fillip to hardware manufacturing in India.
“Government is conscious about its role and responsibility especially on ease of doing business and is promoting startups,” Deepak added.
Nasscom president R Chandrashekhar said that the global Internet of Things (IoT) revenue is expected to grow to $3 trillion by 2020 that include India’s $9 billion pie. Industrial IoT is likely to contribute 55% and the rest 45% would be from consumer IoT in India.