India has enormous opportunities emerging from globalization and consequent lowering of tariff barriers. Information Technology has given India formidable brand equity in the global markets. The Indian Software Industry has been moving up the value chain as well. Indian software companies have a unique distinction of providing efficient software solutions with cost and quality as an advantage by using state-of-the-art technology. Through joint efforts of Government and the Industry, Software Development and IT Enabled Services have emerged as niche opportunities for India in the global context. The Government has been making continuous efforts to make India a front-runner in the age of Information revolution. India today has the advantages of skilled manpower base, active and healthy competition amongst states in attracting investment in infrastructure as well as framing IT applications in areas such as e-governance, e-learning, e-commerce, entrepreneurship, software exports growth and a large potential in the domestic market. Information Technology Act dealing with Cyber Security, Cyber Crime and other information security related legal aspects is in place. Through a policy of sustained R&D in cutting edge technology we hope to further increase and broad base our exports while also expanding the domestic market.
India has the potential to develop and manufacture Electronics/IT Hardware for the global markets and gain higher global share besides meeting the country's future requirement in the converging areas of information, communication and entertainment. The Government has set up a National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council (NMCC) to provide a continuing forum for policy dialogue to energize and sustain the growth of manufacturing industry including IT hardware.
As a result of technological convergence, at the infrastructure, services and industry level there has been a tremendous up-surge in new products and also consolidation in the underlying industries through acquisitions and mergers. Consequent shift has been from monopoly of Government as service provider to private entry in telecom to promote competition and establishing a neutral regulatory agency. The essence of the convergence spirit and the vitality of changes have led to lowering of tariffs, plentiful availability of bandwidth at increasingly lower cost, competition and growth in technology, especially fibre optics and wireless technology. Internet is clearly surging ahead laying another milestone that promises to rewrite global and national economies. India has been successfully promoting reforms in all the constituents of the Internet, Communication and Entertainment sector. At the same time, our vision is to use Information Technology as a tool for raising the living standards of the common man and enriching their lives. Towards this end the Department of Information Technology has taken up an ambitious programme of PC and Internet penetration to the rural and under served urban areas.
The Government of India's liberalization and economic reforms programme aims at rapid and substantial economic growth and integration with the global economy in a harmonized manner. The new policies have made governmental procedures transparent, eliminated licensing in almost all sectors and provide encouragement to entrepreneurship through market friendly systems. The Industrial Policy reforms have drastically reduced the industrial licensing requirements, removed restrictions on investment and expansion and facilitated easy access to foreign technology and foreign direct investment. An outward looking and liberal trade policy is one of the main features of India's economic reforms. In line with its mission of formulating a transparent investor friendly environment, the Government has done away with the complex pre-entry approvals. Foreign Direct Investment today can enter India in most sectors through the automatic route. India is a signatory to the Information Technology Agreement of the World Trade Organization and w.e.f. 1 st March, 2005 the customs duty on all the specified 217 items has been eliminated.
Over the years, Foreign Trade Policy for Electronics and IT products has been liberalized, Customs and Excise procedures simplified, EDI implemented by customs & under implementation by central excise and customs duty on specified capital goods and raw materials for electronics/IT hardware has been brought down to zero%. Electronics Hardware Technology Park (EHTP) and Special Economic Zones (SEZ) schemes have been tailored to boost manufacturing in the country.