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The Amazing Flight of India’s Electronics and ICT Industry 10 October, 2011

Dr. Vijay Bhatkar

Dr. Vijay Bhatkar, one of the most influential leaders in the ICT and Electronics space in India, spoke on “The Amazing Flight of India’s Electronics and ICT Industry” on 10th October, 2012 as a part of the National Weekly Discussion Program via A-VIEW.

Growth of Electronics Industry in India

Electronics Technology started off in 1947 at the Bell Labs when Transistors were invented. Coincidentally, this is the same year as the birth of free India and of Dr. Bhatkar. Since then, electronics has transformed business and human civilization itself in a major way.

The visionary scientist Homi Bhabha predicted that electronics will play a major part in the development of India

Micro Chip was invented after the transistors and this invention took the Electronics Industry further ahead. By this time, Government of India started looking at Electronics more seriously. The Public sector wanted to make electronics material and components indigenously in the country itself.

The Electronics industry was valued at Rs.300 to 400 Crores at 1974 - 75. Currently, it is valued at over Rs. 8 Lakhs Crores. Dr. Bhatkar exclaims at this growth of the industry that happened within this short span.

After the micro chip, the conception of personal computer by IBM and the advent of colour television unleashed a revolution in the electronics industry. Smt. Indira Gandhi, the Prime Minster of India at the time pushed for telecasting Asian Games 1982 on colour television.

In the late 80s, Shri Rajiv Gandhi, then Prime Minster of India was focused on getting super computer in the country. He challenged computer scientists in India to indigenously create one within India itself. By early 90s, super computers were widely used in India for weather forecasts, agriculture forecasts and so on.

By 1991, with the opening up of Indian economy, software technology parks were being set up at SEEPZ in Mumbai. In 1998, India exported software worth $5 Billion. Today, Indian IT industry is over $100 Billion out of which 70% is being exported to the US.

State of the Industry today

India is becoming the R&D hub of the world today. What initially worried the country in the form of brain drain, where talented scientists and engineers moved to the West is now changing to brain gain. Indians from all over the world are coming back to the country to practice their trade. Gradually this would move to brain chain, where scientists all over the world would start coming to the country for research.

India is soon becoming a Knowledge Economy. By 2020, 20% of national income will come from ICT. "I have a dream that by 2047, India would emerge as the real knowledge leader of the world", added Dr. Bhatkar.

Today software technology parks are being set up in smaller cities like Nagpur, Aurangabad etc. in addition to IT hubs like Bangalore and Hyderabad.

Technology enabled learning is on the rise today. Role of ICT in the knowledge space is a paradigm shift. Software like A-VIEW and initiatives like NPTEL is on the rise.

Dr. Bhatkar concluded by saying that India requires spirit of entrepreneurship. “We need job creators and not job seekers in India”, he said.

20 universities including Sambalpur University, Mizoram University and IIIT Hyderabad participated in this very lively talk.

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