PC sales record 7% negative growth first time ever in India, however, Internet users cross 60 million
Consumption of netbooks exceeded 70 thousand units in fiscal 2008-09. The year also witnessed deviations from the traditional downward trend in pricing for IT products as the dollar continued to be significantly strong compared to the rupee. This was mitigated, to an extent, by price drops due to technology reasons and also due to intense competition. Going forward, with signs of revival in the domestic economy, we expect positive growth for PCs and other IT products for the fiscal 2009-10."
Western India followed by the South, led PC consumption accounting for thirty-seven per cent and twenty-three per cent of the market respectively. Sales in the West grew by twelve per cent over 2007-08, while in South it declined twenty-two percent. PC consumption in the East increased by eighteen per cent accounting for twenty-two per cent of the market, a reflection of IT activities gaining ground in the region. The Northern states witnessed a decline of thirty-four per cent in PC sales, they accounted for eighteen per cent of the market.
Unlike the trends in the previous years, where sales in the second half of the year have been significantly higher than those in the first-half, 2008-09 witnessed a rather subdued second-half.
Delineating his thoughts on the current policy environment and the need for spurring IT consumption in the country, especially in these challenging times, MAIT President, S S Raman said: "We are glad that the outcome of the Union Budget 2009-10 has been satisfactory. Stability in the rate of excise duty at 8 percent for all IT products and components augurs well for the IT industry. Further, the government has, to an extent, resolved the impasse regarding the classification of packaged software, which shall henceforth attract service tax on the licence portion. Issues that remain unresolved are the continuance of the 4% Special Addition Duty (SAD) which is a significant cost for the local manufacturers as also the low rate of abatement for MRP based excise duty assessment for IT products such as notebooks, printers, modems, etc. We have requested the authorities to resolve these at the earliest."
He further added, "It should be made mandatory for nationalised and PSU banks to earmark funds for easy and subsidised loans for purchase of IT products and solutions for the SMEs and the home consumers, especially for education. Similarly, Governments – Central and State should extend interest free loans to all their employees for purchase of IT products. Further, as several e-governance projects are being rolled out, these need to be replicated across all the states in the country and completed at an accelerated pace. Providing for local-language interface will be critical for the success of such projects, especially those aimed at Government-citizen interface."
Stressing the need for redoubling efforts by the Government and the industry to accelerate growth of the domestic IT market in the country, MAIT Vice President, Ravi Swaminathan said: "MAIT has set for itself an ambitious target, 'Goal 511', 500 million internet user, 100 million broadband connection and 100 million connected devices by 2012. This calls for strengthening of the national IT infrastructure along with the physical infrastructure on a priority basis. In this regard we need early roll-out of 3G and Wi-Max networks. These will not only enable consumption of front-end devices, CPEs and other back-end devices, but will also create a new economic paradigm through various applications, services and other avenues created through the network-multiplier effect. Urgent and significant efforts are also needed to build efficiency and reduce wastage in all industry verticals through deployment of green and energy efficient IT products."
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