“As per data available from the Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics (DGCI&S), the total electronic component imports in the country in FY 2019-20 was Rs 1,15,558 crore, out of which the import from China was Rs 42,983 crore, which amounts to about 37 per cent,” Dhotre said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.
He also said the COVID-19 pandemic in China coincided with the Chinese New Year festivities, which extended till mid-February. But, Dhotre added, coronavirus spread to the rest of the world by the time factories in China resumed operations and achieved around 50 per cent capacity utilisation by mid-March 2020.
A nationwide lockdown in country was imposed on March 25.
“This (lockdown) led to a complete halt in all production activities, including electronics manufacturing, with the exception of few companies who were manufacturing electronic components for essential medical equipment such as ventilators,” Dhotre said.
The domestic electronics sector companies resumed production and other associated activities after lockdown was relaxed in May. The government allowed production with several limitations.
“The shutdown of factories for about two months has impacted the domestic electronics manufacturing sector. According to the India Electronics and Semiconductor Association (IESA), there will be production loss of 20-25 per cent in 2020-21, compared to 2019-20,” Dhotre said.
The minister said that as per the data available from DGCI&S, the total import of smartphone components in 2019-20 was Rs 56,039 crore; out of which, 45 per cent imports worth Rs 25,441 crore came from China.
“Steps are being taken to broad-base the sources of electronic components and raw material imports in India while promoting domestic electronics production at the same time,” Dhotre said.
He added that the steps are also aimed at reducing dependency on a single market or a geographical region, so that any sudden event, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, does not cause large-scale shortage of inventory in the domestic market.