A high-powered committee on electronics set up by the Prime Minister’s Office is said to have expressed concern over Samsung Electronics’ decision to stop manufacturing LED televisions in the country and wants the South Korean company to be committed to the ‘Make in India’ initiative.
Samsung stopped TV production at its Chennai plant in October 2018 after a 5% customs duty was levied on open cell panels, a key component that accounts for 65-70% of the total production cost of a television.
The company started importing TVs from Vietnam through the freetrade agreement route at nil duty.
Samsung informed the committee that it can start LED TV panel and TV set production at its Chennai plant only if the government scraps the customs duty on open cell panels, two senior industry executives said. The company conveyed this decision to the committee, which met Samsung India officials earlier this month in New Delhi, and through a letter thereafter.
“The government committee had expressed to Samsung India that its decision to move television production to Vietnam has been a blotch on ‘Make in India’ and wants the company to remain committed,” an executive said. As per government data, TV imports from Vietnam soared to Rs 2,317 crore in FY19 from Rs 62 crore in the previous year. As per industry, Samsung alone is likely to account for this surge in imports from Vietnam due to its plant there.
At the same time, Samsung plans to expand its mobile phone production in India through contract manufacturing and is about to sign a deal with an Indian manufacturer for feature phones and Taiwan’s Wistron Corporation for smartphones, the executives said.
Emails sent to Samsung India and Wistron did not elicit any response till Monday press time.
The government committee’s task is to assess the potential of ‘Make in India’ in the current geopolitical scenario and propose a policy framework to attract global investment in Indian electronics manufacturing.―Business Telegraph