New Delhi: The government's "Make in India" programme to boost manufacturing should target on priority basis high import-intensive items like electronics, machinery, steel and transport equipment, industry chamber Assocham said on Sunday.
"There are other major import items like crude oil, gold and precious stones which cannot be produced indigenously or are used for re-exports," the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India said in a statement here.
"But a growing economy like India which is witnessing a huge expansion in usage of telecom and other items using electronics, should go about in a focused manner to drastically cut imports of the items which can be substituted by domestic production and add to the country's manufacturing strength," it said.
"This is eminently doable, provided the policy initiatives are put in place and implemented with great clarity and speed both by the Centre and the states."
According to Assocham there were imports of close to $4 billion of electronics, $2.36 billion of electrical and non-electrical machinery, $1.47 billion of transport equipment and about $1 billion of iron and steel.
"Thanks to expanding demand for user industries particularly telecom, automobile, smart consumer devices, the annualized imports of electronics goods grew at a whopping 24.56 per cent in January, 2017," the chamber said.
"Import of products which can be manufactured within the country runs contrary to the basic grain of the Make In India. The tax structure should be such that it should make the domestic manufacture far more competitive than imports," Secretary General D.S. Rawat said.
"Electronics is one area where the country does not have adequate capacity and is highly import dependent. Thus, investment in the sector from both domestic and global firms should be welcomed and promoted," he added.