I started my career in the electronics industry in 1984. Those were heady days for the industry, colour transmission was being rolled out across the country and colour television manufacturers were importing kits and assembling TVs to cater to domestic demand.
Foreign brands were not allowed and even Philips had to call itself as Philiivison. The industry was experiencing increased demand, yet it was tightly controlled.
Then we saw the arrival of N Vittal, a 1960 batch IAS officer. It was perestroika time. He made the Department of Electronics a frontrunner in adjusting to the new industry-friendly policy, encouraging Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from IBM, Motorola and others, and expanding the technology park scheme for electronic hardware, creating special economic zones around India.
In 1996, ITA 1 agreement was signed by India to bring in a zero-duty regime for IT hardware products by 2005.
(The author is the Chairman of Milagrow Robots. He started his career with Onida and has worked with LG, Philips, Electrolux, Reliance Digital over the last 36 years)