Monday, 30th October 2017

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Tablet for industry health

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By JOY SENGUPTA
  • Published 2.12.14
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Aakash has touched the ground, almost, in the Make in India mantra it found fit for the industry-starved state.

DataWind, the Canada-based multinational company famous as the makers of the low-cost Aakash tablets, has sent a proposal to the state government for setting up a manufacturing plant of smartphones and tablets.

Suneet Singh Tuli, CEO, DataWind, told The Telegraph that the company was impressed by the state government’s IT policy and found Bihar a key market for their upcoming range of low-cost tablets and smart phones. The good news for the Jitan Ram Manjhi government is that the company, headquartered in Ontario, is not looking for land and is only expecting “help and support”.

“In the proposal sent to the Bihar government, we have not defined the amount, which we intend to invest. However, the company recently raised almost Rs 200 crore in an IPO on the Toronto Stock Exchange and we intend to invest most of it in expanding our operations in India. This includes the proposed unit in Bihar as well. We are keen to invest in Bihar,” Suneet said in an email reply.

IT minister Shahid Ali Khan termed the proposal “good news for the state”.

“We are all game towards providing all kinds of facility to the company once it arrives. We can easily provide them with a floor or two at the Biscomaun Bhavan for setting up of their unit. Or, if they want, we can provide them with land too. We are serious towards this investment and the state government will not ignore it in anyway,” he said.

IPO or initial public offering is the first sell of stock by a private company to the public. IPOs are often issued by younger companies with the motive to seek capital to expand. However, it can also be done by large privately owned companies looking to become publicly traded.

Asked about the reasons for choosing Bihar, Suneet said the “Make in India” mantra of Prime Minister Narendra Modi had inspired them. “We have been inspired by the Union government’s Make in India policy and thus evaluating various locations in India, including Bihar. The state government’s initiatives to help generate local IT manufacturing are encouraging and with Bihar being a key market for our upcoming low-cost smart phones, it has become a potential location. We have not asked for land from the state government instead requested for support as laid out by the state’s IT policy. We do not expect to construct a new building but start with an existing facility. We are also open to locations other than Patna too. The company expects to start within a maximum of 60 days upon approval of the state government,” Suneet said.

DataWind’s technologies solve the bandwidth limitations of cellular networks by accelerating content delivery by factors of 10x to 30x, resulting in a superior mobile web experience at a lower cost.

The IT policy states that anyone setting an industry related to information technology will get all perks, grants and subsidies as enrolled in the Industrial Incentive Policy of 2011.

Sources in the industries department confirmed that they had received a proposal and would send the same to the information technology (IT) department so that things could roll swiftly.

“The best thing is that they are not rigid about getting land and are not just looking at Patna,” an industry department official said.

The Aakash tablets manufactured by the company had become famous last year with the UPA government having decided to sell these tablets to the people for as less as Rs 1,500.

The government had said it would distribute these tablets to students at a subsidised rate of Rs 1,130.

THE JOURNEY

Aakash 1 launched on October 5, 2011, designed, developed and manufactured by Datawind

Aakash 2 launched on October 5, 2012, by President Pranab Mukherjee

DataWind raises Canadian $30 million with its IPO on Toronto Stock Exchange to expand business