Indian telecom gear makers write to PM on delay in PMA policy
New Delhi: Domestic telecom equipment makers have sought Prime Minister's intervention to help expedite the notification on Preferential Market Access policy that aims at boosting indigenous production.
"We are seriously concerned that despite Cabinet approval of PMA, which happened almost 16 months back...The final notification for implementing PMA on security consideration has not yet been released," Telecom Systems Design and Manufacturers Association said in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
The TSDMA letter was signed by its members including Shyam Telecom, Tejas Networks, Matrix Comsec, Vihaan Networks, Inventum Technologies and Pulse Engineering.
TSDMA said that current telecom systems are highly sophisticated, using complex chips with millions of elements along with long software codes.
"In such systems, any post-facto security testing/ screening/audit is highly ineffective, since it is very easy ti implant spyware/malware in hardware and software, which is impossible to detect but can easily intercept sensitive information or cause catastrophic damage to critical equipment," TSDMA said.
Keeping in view security issues and threat of cyber espionage, Cabinet on February 2, 2012 approved PMA policy which calls for using indigenously manufactured product to mitigate threat of cyber espionage in segments that can have security implications.
For procurement purposes, the policy qualifies only those electronic products that have at least 25 per cent of the components produced in India. This share should gradually increase to 45 per cent in the fifth year from the notification of the policy.
Telecom regulator Trai has also recommended increase in the use of domestically produced equipment in telecom networks as they are prone to security threats.
The PMA policy has received sharp criticism from foreign companies and trade associations. Even Indian GSM telecom services industry body COAI has called for the review of the policy.
On the other hand, domestic players have been pushing for its implementation.
"We believe that certain vested interests at the behest of foreign manufacturers are trying to challenge the policy and lobbying hard, perhaps with the aim to paralyse the government's efforts to protect the national security interest," TSDMA said.
Department of Telecom has issued draft notification for the PMA but is yet to come out with the final version.