The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has issued guidelines on implementation of the production-linked incentive (PLI) Scheme for telecom and networking equipment providers.

To this end, the government has sought applications from telecom gear and networking product manufacturers.

As per DoT, the PLI scheme will be implemented within the overall financial limits of Rs 121.95 billion over a period of five years. For MSME category, financial allocation will be Rs 10 billion. Further, Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) has been appointed as the Project Management Agency (PMA) for the PLI scheme. The scheme will be effective from April 1, 2021 and investment made by successful applicants in India from April 1, 2021 onwards and up to financial year (FY) 2024-2025 shall be eligible, subject to qualifying incremental annual thresholds. The support under the scheme shall be provided for a period of five years, i.e. from FY 2021-22 to FY 2025-26.

The scheme is open to both MSME and non-MSME companies including domestic and global companies. The DoT shall grant approvals to 10 eligible applications each in MSME and non-MSME categories. Out of the 10 applications in non-MSME category, at least three applicants will be eligible domestic companies. The applications will be short listed from highest to lowest on the basis of committed cumulative incremental investment during the scheme period. In addition, manufacturers with products with Indian technology are encouraged to apply.

Further, Nokia and HFCL announced that they will also be participating in the telecom PLI scheme.

The registration process for interested eligible applicants starts from June 4, 2021 and the application window will be open for 30 days.

Commenting on the development, Lt. Gen. Dr. SP Kochhar, DG, COAI, said, “We welcome the issuance of detailed guidelines on implementation of the PLI scheme on telecom and networking equipment by DoT. Telecom is the backbone of a digitally connected India and this initiative will further boost local manufacturing, exports and also create employment opportunities. India is already the second largest telecom market globally and this will go a long way in making the country a global hub for telecom innovation.”

Further, Prof NK Goyal, Chairman Emeritus, TEMA said “TEMA compliments the government on releasing of guidelines for PLI in telecom.  This is going to be landmark happening for Make in India Atmanirbhar Bharat for telecom. TEMA compliments that this has come at most appropriate time, when domestic industry is geared up for starting manufacturing within India. DoT is complimented on very out of box initiative to reserve three applicants in each category only for domestic companies. This is much needed effort and will result in Indian global champions with Rs 121.95 billion incentive over next five years. One of great initiative is that for the first time, Rs 10 billion has been earmarked for MSME category. TEMA is particularly happy that threshold limits for investment is has been made quite reasonable at Rs 100 million for MSME and Rs 1 billion for non MSME.  TEMA believes that the scheme will result in investment of Rs 30 billion and increased production for Rs 3 trillion.”