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Indian Electronics Industry Staging a Sustainable Shift

by Clean India Journal Editor
0 comment

The global electronics manufacturing industry, a colossal sector valued at $2.9 trillion in 2020, is currently undergoing a significant transformation. This shift, driven by increased environmental awareness and a critical examination of the industry’s ecological impact, including electronic waste and substantial energy demands, is redefining the landscape of global electronics production. In this evolving scenario, India emerges as a pivotal player. Expanding from $37.1 billion in 2015-16 to a remarkable $67.3 billion in 2020-21, the Indian electronics sector is not only gaining prominence in the global market but also playing a crucial role in the national economy.

The Growth of India’s Electronics Sector

India’s electronics manufacturing sector has seen remarkable growth, evolving dramatically in recent years. By 2020-21, the sector had expanded significantly, reaching a valuation of $67.3 billion, a substantial increase from $37.1 billion in 2015-16. This growth is integral to India’s broader ambition to elevate its electronics manufacturing to a staggering $300 billion by 2026. This rise in global influence, from a market share of 1.3% in 2012 to 3.6% in 2020, is supported by government initiatives like the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme, which has attracted both international and domestic manufacturers, thus nurturing national champions with global aspirations.

India’s electronics sector, expanding from $37.1 billion in 2015-16 to $67.3 billion in 2020-21, is not just growing rapidly but is also steering towards a sustainable future, reflecting a balance between economic growth and environmental stewardship.”

Sustainable Practices in Manufacturing

In response to the significant environmental footprint of the industry, accounting for 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions, India’s shift towards sustainable manufacturing is noteworthy. Innovations in manufacturing printed circuit boards (PCBs) and integrated circuits (ICs), such as adopting low-temperature processing and recycling materials, are at the forefront of this change. These innovations, aiming to make 20% of PCBs using sustainable methods like dry etching and low-temperature solder within the next decade, are pivotal.

Government Initiatives for Sustainable Growth

The Indian government has launched several initiatives, including the National Policy for Electronics (NPE) 2019, to position India as a global hub for Electronics System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM). Schemes like PLI for Large Scale Electronics Manufacturing and the Scheme for Promotion of Manufacturing of Electronic Components and Semiconductors (SPECS) have been instrumental in promoting sustainable practices. The Semicon India Program, with its $10 billion investment, aims to develop a sustainable semiconductor and display ecosystem, promoting self-reliance and resilience in global supply chains.

Key Areas of Sustainability Focus

India’s journey to become a global electronics manufacturing hub has placed significant emphasis on energy efficiency, waste management, sustainable materials, and water conservation. The adoption of renewable energy sources and energy-saving technologies is crucial in reducing the carbon footprint and operational costs. Managing electronic waste, India being the world’s third-largest generator, is a significant challenge. The government’s E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2022, aim to digitise e-waste management and increase transparency, targeting a recycling rate of 60% by 2023.

Challenges & Barriers

Despite these efforts, the pursuit of sustainable electronics manufacturing in India faces technical, financial, and regulatory challenges. Establishing a sustainable manufacturing infrastructure requires substantial capital, and the complexity of establishing a complete semiconductor manufacturing ecosystem presents hesitancy among potential investors. Navigating the regulatory landscape and building a domestic value chain from scratch involves overcoming infrastructural and logistical challenges.

Road Ahead

As India’s electronics sector rapidly evolves, it is uniquely positioned to lead in sustainable manufacturing. The government’s ambitious target of achieving a $300 billion sector by 2026, complemented by initiatives like the PLI scheme, is setting the pace for this transformation. The role of academia in research and development, particularly in sustainable technologies, is vital. Industry players are increasingly recognizing the strategic advantage of sustainable practices, leading to a greater emphasis on eco-friendly materials, energy efficiency, and waste management.

The Indian electronics manufacturing industry, poised for substantial growth, is at a crossroads where sustainability is not just an option but a necessity. The transition to sustainable manufacturing practices aligns with global environmental goals and offers significant economic benefits. As the industry continues to innovate and adapt, India is well-positioned to become a global leader in sustainable electronics manufacturing, setting an example for the rest of the world in balancing economic growth with environmental stewardship.

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