Datawind wants "Made in India" on Aakash
Aakash tablet maker, Datawind is pushing to add the "Made in India" clause on the device. According to the Economic Times, Datawind CEO, Suneet Singh Tuli told PTI that the company will request the Human Resource Development Ministry to include the clause, since the tablet was actually manufactured here, despite many hurdles. He said, "Datawind successfully made the $ 49.48 tablet Aakash in India despite various pressures. We will make a request to the ministry (HRD) that they should consider 'Made in India clause' and encourage indigenous production."
"Made in India"?
According to Tuli, the most critical components of the device are designed and manfactured in India. The chips and software are designed in India and the tablet is actually assembled in the country. Datawind won the first round of bidding for the contract to manufacture the tablet on a mass scale. The company is certain that it will win the second round of bidding as well. Tuli said, "It is the money of Indian taxpayers and is to be used for Indian students. It is for the government to decide whether they want to spend it for Indian jobs or they want to spend it on Chinese jobs. Irrespective of the final decision, I guarantee you that it will be won by company that will make product in India."
The next round of bidding, according to Tuli will take place in the next two or three weeks. Of course, the main concern with a "Made in India" clause is what it signifies. The Director of IIT Rajasthan (the institution responsible for procuring the tablet through the bidding process), Prem Kalra said that the PCB (the circuits) come from China and components are pressed on it in India. He asks if that process can be called "manufacturing in India".
Meanwhile, in an interview with NDTV, Tuli said, "It would have been cheaper to produce the tablet in China, in our existing facility. Manufacturing in India is not easy because of the complicated tax structure, inter-state sales taxes, VAT and other associated costs. We set up a unit in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh and also faced problems due to the Telengana agitations and so on. But it was important for this project to have the Made in India tag and despite hurdles we feel it's been worth it."