Increasing value add and component manufacturing are MeitY’s next goals: S Krishnan

Increasing value addition in the electronics sector and expanding India’s share of component production are the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology’s (MeitY) two primary goals, IT secretary S Krishnan said at the launch of EPIC Foundation’s first designed in India, AI-enabled, indigenously manufactured education tablet on Tuesday.

“These are the two things that I think are really MeitY’s next goal, riding on the success of the large-scale electronics PLI which is one of the most successful PLI program that the government of India has run in recent times,” he said. “The next one which is coming up in terms of electronic hardware, where there’s been very a enthusiastic response from a large number of companies and is taking off quite well.”

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He said that despite the success of those two PLIs, the next frontier and the next steps that MeitY was working towards was what was embodied in the tablet that EPIC Foundation had launched – wherein the design and the IP belonged to India and more components are manufactured in India.

The tablet is designed by VVDN Technologies in collaboration with MediaTek India and CoRover.ai and comes embedded with features of repairability and upgradability to address the concerns of the digital divide and the accumulation of electronic refuse in India, the not-for-profit EPIC Foundation said.

“We want to build products in such a way that the components are easily replaceable and upgradable,” Ajai Chowdhry, chairman, EPIC Foundation said.

“Repair expenses surpassing the cost of purchasing a new device, the production of substandard goods and obsolescence strategies are not only pressing concerns of today but also exacerbate the escalating problem of electronic waste. Our repairable product will enable many jobs all over India for repair engineers.”

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EPIC Foundation executed an MOU with VVDN Technologies and UTL to authorise UTL to manufacture PC tablets under licence from EPIC and VVDN. The organisations said that the intent is to manufacture upto two to three lakh tablets targeted for supply to state governments.“We have signed a MOU to manufacture it under licence from EPIC and VVDN,” Dr P Raja Mohan Rao, chairman of UTL said. “There are very large state government tenders for such tablets which we are planning to participate in. If all goes well, we intend to manufacture upto two to three lakhs pieces per year.”

The tablet also comes integrated with the BharatGPT virtual assistant and will highlight AI/ML based inter-lingual translation for Indian languages (Voice-2-Voice, Text-2-Text etc).

“With features like repairability, upgradability, and integration of India-made BharatGPT powered Conversational AI platform and various AI apps, this tablet is not just a device; it’s a catalyst for a transformative educational experience,” Ankush Sabharwal, cofounder of CoRover.ai and BharatGPT added.

An MoU for 12,000 tablets was also inked between IRIS Global and Vedavaag Systems, which is a publicly listed financial inclusion company operating 6000 citizen service centres for public sector banks across India to provide basic services in remote areas.

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