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India is the fifth-largest economy in the world and has the second-largest GDP among emerging economies. Owing to its large population, the potential consumer demand is almost unlimited and consequently, under appropriate conditions, strong growth performance can be expected.

In fact, the liberalization of the economy in 1991 has led to rapid growth. The electronics industry, in particular, is emerging as one of the most important industry in the Indian market.

The electronics industry in India dates back to the early 1960s. Electronics was initially restricted to the development and maintenance of fundamental communication systems including radio-broadcasting, telephonic and telegraphic communication, and augmentation of defence capabilities. Until 1984, the electronics sector was primarily government-owned. The late 1980s witnessed a rapid growth of the electronics industry due to sweeping economic changes, resulting in the liberalization and globalization of the economy. The economic transformation was motivated by two compelling factors-the determination to boost economic growth, and to accelerate the development of export-oriented industries, like the electronics industry.

The electronics industry has recorded very high growth in subsequent years. By 1991, private investments -both foreign and domestic – were encouraged. The easing of foreign investment norms, allowance of 100 percent foreign equity, reduction in custom tariffs, and delicensing of several consumer electronic products attracted a remarkable amount of foreign collaboration and investment. The domestic industry also responded favorably to the politic policies of the government. The opening of the electronics field to the private sector enabled entrepreneurs to establish industries to meet hitherto suppressed demand.

Improvements in the electronics industry have not been limited to a particular segment, but encompass all its sectors. Strides have been made in the areas of commercial electronics, software, telecommunications, instrumentation, positioning and networking systems, and defence. The result has been a significant trade growth that began in the late 1990s.

Despite commendable achievements in the sphere of electronics, considerable infrastructure improvements remain a priority. Water, power, telecommunications, and transportation sectors must still be augmented so that high economic growth can be sustained.

The Indian Electronics Industry is a text for investors who are considering India as a potential investment opportunity. The book is designed to cover various segments of India’s electronics industry, which include telecommunications, consumer electronics, computer hardware and software, and medical electronic systems. The authors have examined the roles of government, major companies in electronics including the multinationals, research organizations, and educational institutions in establishing the ‘ infrastructure.


Electronics is the branch of physics dealing with the development of electrical circuits using semiconductors, thermionic valves and other devices in which the motion of electrons is controlled for purposes of communication, control, or computing. Electronics has come a long way since the days of radio receivers in the 1940s; the development of transistor in 1946, integrated circuit in 1960 and the miracle chip of 1980s-the large-scale integrated (LSI) and very large-scale integrated (VLSI) circuits.

Electronics plays important role in every area of human activity in the form of (i) consumer goods like radio, TV, tape recorder, VCR/VCP, compact disc, microwave oven etc; (ii) official use for communication, word processing and documentation; (iii) medical diagnostic equipment; (iv) communication systems; (v) industrial equipment; (vi) devices for safety, pollution control, energy efficiency, management control; (vii) defense electronics, etc. Electronics plays a major role in improving .productivity in industry and also in agriculture. Electronic media is an effective method of eliminating illiteracy in rural areas, bringing concepts of public hygiene and improving the quality of life of women, etc. Electronics also has great employment potential. It is also useful in balanced and planned regional development as it is a relatively footloose industry and can be located in any part of the country.

Keeping in view the increasing importance of electronics for diversified applications, the Department of Electronics (DOE) was set up in 1971 for coordinating development of electronics in India and reviewing constantly the growth achieved on the industrial front and in R&D capabilities as to make Indian Electronics Industry a global player. Major policy initiatives were taken in the Seventh Plan to provide a boost to this industry. As a result its growth rate was 35% during 1985-90. A concerted effort was made by the Government in matters like creation of capacity, fiscal aspects and import policy etc. The Eighth Plan aimed at creating an environment in which not only the high level of growth of electronics production is maintained but the production levels are achieved at near international costs and prices. The emphasis is on achieving economics of scale, higher value addition and reduction of import content in various products.


World-wide, the incumbent, usually the Government owned operator plays a major role in the development of the telecom sector. In India, DoT is responsible for the impressive growth in a number of lines from 58.1 lakh on April 1, 1992 to 191 lakh in December 1998, showing a CAGR of 20%. DoT is expected to continue to play an important, and indeed, dominant role in the development of the sector.

Currently, the licensing, policy making and the service provision functions are under a single authority. The Government has decided to separate the policy and licensing functions of DoT from the service provision functions as a precursor to corporatization. The corporatization of DoT shall be done keeping in mind the interests of all stakeholders by the year 2001.

All the future relationship (competition, resource raising etc.) of MTNL / VSNL with the corporatized DoT would be based on best commercial principles.

The synergy of MTNL, VSNL and the corporatized DoT would be utilised to open up new vistas for operations in other countries.

Changes in legislation

The Indian telecommunications system continues to be governed by the provisions of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 (ITA 1885) and the Indian Wireless Act, 1933. Substantial changes have taken place in the telecommunications sector since 1992. ITA 1885 needs to be replaced with a more forward looking Act.


The Department of Electronics supports and funds technology development through its councils set up in various fields, namely, the Technology Development Council (TDC) for areas like components, computer communication and instrumentation etc; the National Radar Council (NRC) for radars, navigational aids, sonars, underwater electronics systems, laser and infrared based detection/ranging systems; National Microelectronics Council (NMC) for design and production technology of LSI/VLSI, etc; Electronic Materials Development Council (EMDC) for materials including special ceramics, high purity metals, gas etc.; and National Photonics Council (NPC) for photonics related areas covering optoelectronics devices, optical data storage switching, imaging, vision informatic, etc. Time bound projects in specific areas are being implemented through separate specific societies like Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) which has developed, designed and delivered parallel supercomputer with peak computing power of 1 G flops and is working on development of supercomputer with a speed of 100 G flops. The Centre for Materials for Electronics Technology (C- MET) has been set up for development of technology for a range of electronic materials. Other R&D institutions being funded are Electronics Research and Development Centres (ER&DCs), Society for Applied Microwave Electronics Engineering and Research (SAMEER), National Centre for Software Technology (NCST) etc.

DOE has three public sector corporations under it:

(i) Computer Maintenance Corporation (CMC): Set up in 1976, to provide users a complete range of services connected with all aspects of computers. It provides hardware maintenance support to various equipments supplied by manufacturers. Its consultancy and technical expertise include applications like: computerization of railway reservations, computerization of banking operations, automatic message switching systems, computerized finger print identification system, computer-based environmental monitoring, etc. CMC has developed BSE on-line Trading (BOLT) application software on tandem non-stop fault tolerant computer systems. It has commissioned Generation Data Acquisition and Management System (GDAMS) for NTPC. It coordinates implementation of project INDONET which is an integrated information management and distributed data processing facility spanning the entire country.

Electronics Trade and Technology Development Corporation (ET&T): It was set up for expanding foreign trade in electronics and undertaking development of technology in key areas.

Semi Conductor Complex (SCL): The SCL, which started commercial production in April 1984, was set up primarily to design, develop and manufacture LSI, and VLSI circuits. Five VLSI design centres at Noida, Bangalore, Lucknow, Baroda and Bhubaneswar are fully operational.


Electronics industry in India is very widely distributed. There are at present over 3500 units comprising 11 central public sector units, 71 units in state public sector, over 500 units in organised private sector and more than 2800 units in small scale sector.

In consumer electronics, indigenous technology for FM transmission and low cost receivers have been developed for noise-free reception. Domestic manufacturing facilities exist for VCR/VCP and microwave oven. A project on “System and VLSI Design for Digital TV, as a fore-runner to digital fabrication and preparation of base for taking up HDTV project in the country, has been initiated.

The control instrumentation and industrial electronics sector has indigenously developed digital control system, data loggers, supervisory control and data acquisition system etc. In test and measuring instruments digital oscilloscope, logic analyser, microwave counter, etc. have been introduced.

In the computer industry, PCs, PC/XTs, PC/ ATs and mini/super mini systems are being manufactured. Almost the entire demand for floppy disk drives, dot-matrix printers, CRT terminals, key boards, line printers and plotters are met from indigenous products.

In broadcasting, products like professional CCD video cameras, high power TV transmitters and auto tracking antennas for satellite networking, video graphics, digital reverberation generators, multilingual character generator etc are being developed.

In strategic electronics, indigenous capability has been developed for manufacturing X-band radar, travelling wave tubes, search and rescue transponder, distance measuring equipment, instrument landing system, etc.

To promote development and export of software through satellite data link, seven software technology parks (STPS) have been set up in Pune, Bhubaneswar, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Thiruvananthapuram, Gandhinagar and Noida. In order to attract international investments in electronics, the DOE announced the Electronics Hardware Technology Park (EHTP) scheme which is operational since April 1993.


Introduction: Computer is an electronic device that can count, write and solve complex problems with high accuracy and speed. There are two main types of computers: (i) analog computer in which numbers are represented by magnitudes of such physical quantities as voltages, mechanical movements etc; and (ii) digital computer in which numbers are expressed directly as digits, usually in binary notation i.e. 0 and 1. The more versatile and most modern computers are digital. All the physical material that makes the computer system is known as hardware and includes input devices (keyboard, tape reader, disc reader, etc.), the central processing unit (CPU), the memory and the output devices (monitor, printer etc). The group of instructions (program) given to the computer to make it perform certain operations is called software.

It took over a century to develop the first mechanical computer Mark-I by Howard Aiken in 1937 from the Analytical Engine of Charles Babbage (1833) and another 20 years before the computer could become a practicality. From then on there have been lot of developments in computer technology.

Five Generations of Computers

Computers, depending on the design, size, speed, and performance, have been divided into five generations.

First generation computers (~ 1946-59): These were quite bulky, rather slow, had limited memory, used vacuum tube, used punched cards and punched paper tape for input and output of data, used low level programming languages and primitive operating systems. Examples are EDSAC, ENIAC, IBM-650.

Second generation computers (~ 1959-65): These used transistors which reduced the size of computer to manageable proportions. Required less power, more reliable, large speed (about 106 operations/sec) and memory, used languages such as COBOL, FORTRAN, etc. and performed special functions. Examples are: IBM-7090/7094 series, CDC 1604, etc.

Third generation computers (~ 1965-79): The invention of integrated circuits (IC), which are miniature electronic circuits (hundred times smaller than the transistor circuit), heralded the era of third generation computers. Use of IC have made possible the development of mini and micro systems with a number of advantages like high processing speed (108 operations/sec), more reliable, easy maintenance, large speed and storage capacity, sophisticated operating systems etc. Examples are IBM-360 series, CDC 6000/7000 series, ICL 1900/ 2900 series etc.

Fourth generation computers: These computers use large scale integrated circuits (LSD and very large scale integrated circuits (VLSI) which are more compact. These computers are versatile, have large speed and extremely large memory. Examples are ISM-370, CYBER, CRAY, FLOSOLVER, PARAM supercomputers etc.

Fifth generation computers and beyond: These computers, though not commercially available as yet, are said to belong to future and are expected to exhibit artificial intelligence (to think like human beings). Efforts are on to develop such computers.


Pipeline or serial machines have changed little since the mathematician John Von Neumann defined the principle in mid 1940s. But the general purpose computer he helped to set up does one job at a time. And though processor chips (ICs) now work phenomenally fast, there is physical limitation-known as the Van Neuman barrier-beyond which higher speeds do not lead to faster -narounds.


Supercomputers are the largest and fastest memory computers which can process thousand million instructions per second. Supercomputers process data in parallel. The vast processing power makes them invaluable for complicated military and scientific jobs such as in meteorology, cracking enemy codes, simulation studies, etc.

CRAY-XMP, the US made supercomputer with a capacity of 60 megaflops, was the first supercomputer that India obtained from the US. It was installed at Mausam Bhavan in New Delhi. It is helping in medium range weather forecasting and agrometeorology. The era of Indian supercomputer began in mid 1980s when the US refused to sell a second CRAY-XMP to IISc, Bangalore. Realizing this India established the Centre for the Department of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) in Pune in 1988 for developing research, technology and application in area of parallel computing.

Bangalore based NAL, developed the first indigenous supercomputer FLOSOLVER in 1986. The Advance Numerical Research and Analysis Group (ANURAG) of DRDO, set up in 1988 with the aim to develop a parallel computer for certain tough aerodynamic applications, has developed a parallel computer PACE (processor for aerodynamic computations and evaluations) for the defence research. The PACE approaches near CRAY speeds and in its final version of 128 nodes delivers a peak performance of 100 megaflop for use in various applications including geology, remote sensing, aircraft design, weather studies, image processing, artificial intelligence and simulation. The first indigenous multipurpose supercomputer of India is PARAM that was developed by C-DAC, Pune in 1990s. With 256 processing nodes, PARAM has a peak performance of 1gigaflops and is one of the cheapest supercomputer available in the world. The next generation of PARAM will have a peak performance of 100 gigaflops.

Several other parallel computing systems under development include ‘CHIPPS 16’ of the C-DOT Bangalore, MULTIMICRO of IISc Bangalore, MACH of IIT Bombay and Array processor of CMC limited are under development.

Currently supercomputers such as ETA, CRAY, NEC, SX2 are based on either the vector processing technology whereby vector pipelines are used to accelerate certain elements of computationally intensive colums. They achieve their speed by using a method analogous to an assembly line operation whereby each operation is broken down into a set of agential sub-operations. Each operation is performed by independent hardware circuits. However in them the average performance is found to only about 10-15% of the peak performance and is very expensive and reaching saturation.

An alternative approach currently being widely explored is to use a large number of less expensive processors working simultaneously on a task which is broken down into a large number of subtasks where each subtask can be performed independently and at its own pace. Each processor is quite powerful and can perform a variety of tasks. This is to be contrasted with pipeline processing in which a sequence of identical tasks are fed to a pipe. The organisation of a large number of processors which work cooperatively is called a parallel computer system, as in supercomputers like PARAM, CRAY etc.

Memory: Binary system is used to represent information and store it in computer. This system uses two-digits: 0 and 1. Abinary digit is also called a bit-, a group of 4 bits is called a nibble; a group of 8 bits is called a byte. A byte represents a single memory location such as an alphabetical character or number. Bytes are grouped together to form bigger units. The size of the computer memory is commonly expressed in terms of bytes/words. 1KB (kilobyte) = 210 = 1024 bytes; 1MB (megabyte) 1KB x 1KB = 1048576 bytes.

Speed: Computer speeds are measured in MIP (million instructions per second)-the number of, instructions the processor at the heart of computer can perform. The performance of parallel computers is judged by another yardstick-Mflops or megaflops, which stands for one million floating point operations a second. Floating point is I computer shorthand for storing very large numbers.

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