EPIC Foundation, a not-for-profit organization founded by industry veterans and Cofounders of HCL Dr Ajai Chowdhry and Arjun Malhotra unveiled its vision aimed at transforming India into an Electronic Hardware Product Nation. With a highly skilled young workforce and competitive wages coupled with the right geopolitical nudge, the foundation believes India can become the next design and manufacturing destination, thereby contributing to making India a US $400bn Electronics industry.
As part of its vision, the foundation announced the launch of two products – a) an LED Driver chip that is designed by a startup in Bengaluru and ready to go into production to replace a Chinese chip and; b) first 100% Designed in India Tablet for education and social empowerment with unique features of repairability and upgradability, developed on the principles of repair-reuse-recycle – not found in any other imported tablet. The foundation also signed an MOU with Karnataka Digital Economy Mission (KDEM) and is presently in advanced discussions with several other academic institutions, with an aim to develop distinct "Designed in India" products catering to 1.4 billion Indians. The MOU with KDEM was signed by Dr. Ajai Chowdhry and Shri BV Naidu, Chairman, Karnataka Digital Economy Mission. EPIC Foundation recently entered into an MOU with the Andhra Pradesh Electronics and IT Agency (APEITA), whereby the foundation will be advising and enabling APEITA on technical and strategic interventions with an aim to strengthen the electronics sector in the state.
Dr Ajai Chowdhry, Chairman, EPIC Foundation and Member of the MeitY task force to realise India's potential to become a Product Nation said, "Creating a robust design & manufacturing ecosystem requires tremendous amount of support from all stakeholders. EPIC Foundation aims to be the interface between Industry and State Government with MEITY, Niti Aayog DST and DPIIT to address key challenges and recalibrate the policies. Solidifying its commitment to move the nation up the value chain to be at the forefront of design, manufacturing and production, EPIC Foundation will work towards enabling critical Global Collaboration with Key ESDM regions like Taiwan, South Korea, Israel, Japan and the USA"
The announcements came in the presence of Shri. Amitesh Sinha, Joint Secretary Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology; Shri. BV Naidu, Chairman, Karnataka Digital Economy Mission; Mr Sanjeev Gupta, CEO, Karnataka Digital Economy Mission; Mr. Mohandas Pai, Chairman Aarin Capital and Manipal Global Education; Mr. Sharad Sharma, Co-founder iSPIRIT, Mr Amrit Manwani, CMD, Sahasra Group and other eminent guests from Industry, government, and Academia.
Shri. Amitesh Sinha, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said, "The largest part of the value chain is product designing, is a concept where the design company has full control over the entire value chain including selection of materials, vendors for component manufacturing and finally selling of the product. The concept itself is very important. The increased demand for electronic hardware products is boosting the market size. Focussed government schemes on product manufacturing are being deployed. We have the right talent pool. Time has come to make India's own products."
Sinha continued, "Government from its side is trying to create demand for products. That demand is coming in a different way. Telecom for instance is clearly an element of design. Similarly, PLI in IT Hardware 2.0 is an element of designing of a processor; and there are several other areas. Going forward, we will see a lot of policies which will support such initiatives. I wish EPIC Foundation that it should take this journey forward. Dr. Ajai Chowdhry is known for his passion and is driving this initiative. I am hopeful he will come up with a framework to support this initiative."
Propelling the vision of 'India, the Product Nation' EPIC Foundation will support and work closely with State Governments in implementing ESDM policies. To leverage positive economies of scale, the foundation has deployed 'Right to Repair' policy where it will not only support product design companies to design products for serviceability but also identify service companies to service the products.
"The highly skilled, young work force of India along with a favourable geopolitical environment present an opportune time for India to take the plunge into becoming a global hub for the electronics industry. We are continuously tapping into those opportunities and are looking at increasing design, manufacturing and production capacities. The launch of the two products today is just the beginning; we have a steady roadmap of developing and empowering 500 successful hardware product design companies by supporting them with financial assistance and funding, mentoring, certification and testing, manufacturing and market access", Chowdhry added.
EPIC Foundation's strategic priorities encompass several key areas. These include forming collaborative partnerships with 4-5 esteemed technical institutes in specific states to foster innovation. Additionally the foundation will actively participate in policy advocacy, collaborating with both Central and State Government bodies to incentivize product development and manufacturing (DLI Model). To further bolster market demand, EPIC Foundation is dedicated to reviving and collaborating with various government agencies to implement the Preferential Market Access (PMA) Policy at both the Central and State levels.