By Venkatachari Jagannathan
Chennai, Jul 25 (IANS): The present and former Communications Ministers are claiming credit for their respective governments in getting US phone maker Apple Inc to have its top end iPhone 11 manufactured at Foxconn’s plant near here.
Meanwhile, a top official of Indian Cellular & Electronics Association said soon there will be no cell phone imports.
Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, in a tweet on Friday, gave the chronology of manufacturing of top-end mobiles in India in the last few years.
“2020 – iPhone 11 2019 – iPhone 7 & XR 2018 – iPhone 6S 2017 – iPhone SE This chronology is a statement in itself as to how @narendramodi govt. has developed the mobile phone manufacturing ecosystem in India. It’s only a humble beginning,” he wrote.
On his part, DMK MP and former Communication and Information Technology Minister Dayanidhi Maran expressed his happiness on Apple’s top end model iPhone 11’s manufacture here.
In a tweet Maran said: “Happy to see @Apple manufacturing its top of the line #iPhone11 in #Sriperumbudur at the #Foxconn plant launched in 2006 by CM Kalaignar during my tenure as Union Minister for Comm & IT. The seeds of growth & development we sowed then continue to help India grow even today.”
The Foxconn plant was inaugurated by then Chief Minister and DMK President M. Karunanidhi in 2006.
With top end mobile phones also being made in the country, India Cellular & Electronics Association Chairman Pankaj Mohindroo, Chairman told IANS: “Now there will be near zero import of mobile phones. Last year, the mobile phone imports were to the tune of Rs 7,000 crore out of the total market of Rs 190,000 crore.”
He said for high end phones like iPhone, the Indian market is very small but India can definitely become a global hub for exports to global markets.
Mohindroo also said India will be a big exporter of mobile phones. “From an export revenue of Rs 1,300 crore in 2017-18, the numbers went up to Rs 11,300 crore in 2018-19 and Rs 27,000 crore in 2019-20. We expect to hit Rs 100,000 crore exports by 2021-22.”
“Five years back the question was who is making mobile phones in India. Now the question is who is not making their phones in India,” he added.
On his part, DMK legislator C.V.M.P. Ezhilarasan, President, Foxconn India Thozilalar Munnetra Sangam, affiliated to party’s labour wing Labour Progressive Federation (LPF), demanded the company take back its old workers who were employed, prior to its closure some years back.
“The company has restarted operations with fresh recruits. They should hire back the old hands,” he said.
“Foxconn had closed its Sriperumbudur plant without any prior notice in 2014, saying it was a temporary stoppage of production. Later it opened a new factory in SriCity in Andhra Pradesh. This issue was raised in the state Assembly by me,” Ezhilarasan said.