Department of Telecommunications
The NDCP-2018 speaks eloquently on facilitating efforts of Indian Industry in R&D and development of Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) with the objective of India becoming part of global supply chains in DCTs. The Union Budget 2022-23 gave special impetus to R&D and design-led manufacturing by, inter-alia, announcing:
- Launch of a scheme for design-led manufacturing to build a strong ecosystem for 5G as part of the Production Linked Incentive Scheme.
- Allocation of five per cent of annual collections under the Universal Service Obligation Fund to enable affordable broadband and mobile service proliferation in rural and remote areas and promote R&D and commercialization of technologies and solutions.
Existing R&D related Schemes
Technology Development & Investment Promotion Scheme
Technology Development & Investment Promotion (TDIP) scheme is a scheme to fund activities related to technology development like R&D and IPR generation and also for promoting manufacturing and export of telecom equipment and services. For meeting the requirements of funds for various promotional schemes like grant in aid to Telecom Centres of Excellence, national and international participation in exhibitions and to promote export, assistance is provided for following activities: (i) Grant-in-aid to Telecom Centers of Excellence (TCOE) set up in PPP mode by DOT. (ii) Promotion and development of manufacturing and export in telecom sector. (iii) Promotion of telecom sector through conferences and exhibitions in India and abroad. (iv) Any activity related with technology development and investment promotion. The outcome of the TDIP Scheme is to project India as the next hub for telecom equipment manufacturing and showcase the telecom growth in the country.
An amount of Rs. 19.00 crore was allocated to TDIP Scheme for 2022-23 (as compared to Rs. 7.27 crore and 19.00 crore in 2020-21 and 2021-22, respectively.
Champion Services Sector Scheme
The provision is for promotion of innovation and incubation of future technologies for Telecom Sector. Digital Communication Innovation Square is one of the sub-schemes for which Rs. 3.50 crores have been earmarked for 2022-23 (as against 1.07 crores and 5.00 crore during 2020-21 and 2021-22, respectively).
Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme
PLI Scheme was launched by DoT on 14th October 2021 with total outlay of ₹ 12,195 crore to realize the Prime Minister’s vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat. It shall help in reducing India’s dependence on other countries for import of telecom and networking products by promoting world class manufacturing of high-quality products in the country. The support under the Scheme shall be provided for a period of five (5) years, i.e. from FY 2021-22 to FY 2025-26. As per Scheme and Scheme Guidelines, a total of 31 companies, comprising of 16 MSMEs and 15 Non-MSMEs (8 Domestic and 7 Global companies) have been found eligible. They are expected to invest ₹ 3345 crore in the next 4 years and generate incremental employment of more than 40,000 people with expected incremental production of around ₹ 1.82 Lakh Crore over the scheme period. The scheme is expected to boost domestic Research & Development of new products on which 15% of the committed investment could be invested.
The Scheme Guidelines has following provisions for MSME Category:
- The Scheme stipulates a minimum investment threshold of Rs. 10 Crore for MSME and Rs. 100 Crore for non MSME applicants.
- For MSME category, there is financial allocation of Rs. 1,000 Crore out of Rs. 12,195 Crores over a period of 5 years.
- Higher incentives are provided for MSMEs as compared to Non MSMEs in first 3 years.
A budgetary provision of Rs. 527.68 crore has been kept in 2022-23. Government is also incentivising design-led manufacturing towards building a strong ecosystem for 5G as part of the Production Linked Incentive Scheme.
Telecom Technology Development Fund (TTDF)
Telecom Technology Development Fund (TTDF) Scheme is aimed for domestic companies and institutions involved in technology design, development, commercialization of telecommunication products and solutions, to enable affordable broadband and mobile services in rural and remote areas.
Telecommunication technology products require significantly large funding and long gestation periods for R&D and commercialization including the additional efforts and resources for the products to move from prototype to commercial grade. Government is willing to support industry to build high impact deep tech projects at affordable cost to enable state of the art services for rural areas in the country.
Apart from the existing R&D funding mechanisms, an allocation of 5% of annual collections from USOF will be available for funding R&D in the Telecom sector, starting with the funds collected in the financial year 2021-22.
Additional financial support
The telecom startups/MSMEs and manufacturers may also get financial/ non-financial support from C-DoT (Rs. 500 crore), TEC (Rs. 15 crores), 5G Connectivity test bed (Rs. 10 crores), International Cooperation (Rs. 48.70 crores), Central Equipments Identity Register (Rs. 13 crores).
C-DoT is an autonomous telecom research & development body funded by the DoT. It was established under the Society Registration Act XXI in 1984 to design and develop indigenous switching technology. C-DOT is presently engaged in developing state-of-the-art telecommunication technology to meet the needs of the Indian telecommunication network. It is involved in research and development (R&D) activities as well as in field implementation of technologies developed.