The telecom equipment manufacturing sales have crossed Rs 50,000 crore under the production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme, creating more than 17,800 direct jobs and many more indirect jobs, the government said on Wednesday.

Within three years of the telecom PLI scheme, it attracted an investment of Rs 3,400 crore, the telecom equipment production exceeded the milestone of Rs 50,000 crore with exports at about Rs 10,500 crore, said the Ministry of Communications.

The sales of telecom and networking products by PLI beneficiary companies in FY2023-24 increased by 370 per cent in comparison to base year (FY 2019-20).

The gap between telecom imports and exports has reduced significantly with the total value of goods (both telecom equipment and mobiles put together) exported is over Rs 1.49 lakh crore as against imports of over Rs 1.53 lakh crore in FY 23-24, the Centre informed.

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)

"This milestone underscores the robust growth and competitiveness of India's telecom manufacturing industry, driven by government initiatives to promote local production and reduce import dependency," said the ministry.

India was a large importer of mobile phones in 2014-15, when only 5.8 crore units were produced in the country, while 21 crore units were imported.

In 2023-24, 33 crore units were produced in India and only 0.3 crore units were imported and close to 5 crore units were exported, according to latest ministry data.

The value of exports of mobile phones has gone up from Rs 1,556 crore in 2014-15 and just Rs 1,367 crore in 2017-18, to Rs 1,28,982 crore in 2023-24.

"Import of mobile phones was valued at Rs 48,609 crore in 2014-15 and has dropped to just Rs 7,665 crore in 2023-24," the government informed.

By encouraging local production, the PLI scheme has significantly reduced the country's reliance on imported telecom equipment, resulting in import substitution of 60 per cent.

India has become almost self–reliant in Antennae, GPON (Gigabit Passive Optical Network) and CPE (Customer Premises Equipment).

According to the government, the Indian manufacturers are increasingly competing on a global scale, offering high-quality products at competitive prices.

Over the last five years, the trade deficit in telecom (both telecom equipment and mobiles put together) has reduced from Rs 68,000 crore to Rs 4,000 crore and both the PLI schemes have started to make Indian manufacturers globally competitive, attracting investment in the areas of core competency and cutting-edge technology.

With inputs from IANS