The Pioneer in Field of Telecommunications

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K L Dhingra, Chairman and Managing Director, ITI Ltd

“ITI has implemented several e-solutions for bringing more efficiency to its operations,” says K L Dhingra, Chairman and Managing Director, ITI Ltd, in conversation with Nayana Singh.

K L Dhingra
, Chairman and Managing Director, ITI Ltd

Let us know about your vision for ITI in the year 2013. Where do you see ITI Ltd in the year 2013?

We would like to see ITI emerging as a leader in Telecommunications and Electronics System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) sector. The company has the potential to be a top turnkey solution provider in this sector. I would like to see ITI completing a turnaround by
the year 2013 and attain sustainable growth.

ITI has been a pioneer in the field of telecom. Tell us about the role that ITI is playing in the telecom sector in the modern era when there is lot of competition from private players. Please give us an overview of your scale of  operations in the telecom sector.

You have rightly said that ITI is a pioneer in the field of telecommunications. It used to provide more than 50 percent of the wire line infrastructure and more than 60 percent of the fixed telephones. After liberalisation of the telecom sector in the early ’90s, ITI has been facing tough competition from the private players. In spite of this competition and the social obligations of a PSU towards its surplus manpower, ITI has been playing a leading role in the telecom sector. In the last two decades we have maintained our position as a major telecom equipment manufacturer in the country. ITI is the only company manufacturing GSM related equipments in India. The company is further diversifying to manufacture products for other sectors by redeploying its manpower. We have achieved a turnover of `922 Crores in the year 2011-12.

Tell us about the mobile equipment manufacturing facilities that ITI has started at Mankapur and Rae Bareli Plants. What kind of response are your GSM solutions having in the market?

ITI has provided turnkey GSM solutions for the BSNL West Zone & South Zone networks in partnership with Alcatel-Lucent France and Huawei Telecommunications, China. In addition, we have also established GSM network for MTNL, Mumbai. We have Base Transceiver Station (BTS) manufacturing facilities in collaboration with Alcatel at Mankapur and Rae Bareli. ITI has installed capacity of 6 million line (BTS) per annum. We have already installed 16000 BTSs in BSNL West Zone and MTNL Mumbai network. Our Rae Bareli plant is equipped for manufacture of other GSM infra items like Roof Top Towers (RTT), Shelters and Switch Mode Power Supply (SMPS) in addition to BTS.

Also Read: e-Governance Initiative of MoUD

Tell us about the solutions that you are adopting for bringing e-Governance to the organisation.

ITI has implemented several e-solutions for bringing more efficiency to its operations. We have our own mail server and mail domain and all our communications are predominantly by mail only. ITI is a pioneer is establishing a full pledged Data Centre in its Bangalore plant which caters to various customers, in addition to serving our own website. All our procurement tenders and Expression of Interests are invariably published through ITI website as well as Government portal for public procurement. We are in the process of implementing e-procurement system in all our plants. Our news letters are published in our Intranet server. As part of implementation of official language policy, we have implemented Hindi-Unicode in our PCs for communication in Hindi. We have been using Video Conferencing for meetings, reviews and training purposes.

Please provide us your opinion on policies that the government should come up with for bringing further growth to
organisations like ITI. Tell us about your expectations from the government.

The present policies of the Government of India like the National Telecom Policy 2012 and New Policy on Manufacturing 2011, are steps in the right direction. These policies will boost indigenous manufacturing with increased local content. These policies coupled with the policy on Preferred Market Access (PMA) notified by Government will give a fillip to manufacturing within the country. Implementation of these policy initiatives will help companies like ITI to contribute towards building national communications networks. Government is expected to frame policies, which can lead to the creation of a range of new businesses that will create millions of new jobs. The policies should be such that the PSUs, which are working for national goals, are able to tap into some kind of fiscal support to fund their operations, at least during the initial stages of their operations.

Tell us about your solutions for the defence sector. We would like to know about your encryption related solutions.

ITI has been an equipment supplier to Indian Defence for the last four decades. In the last decade itself, equipments worth more than
`1000 Crores have been supplied by ITI to Defence. As far as security solutions for Defence are concerned, ITI is the pioneer in providing encryption solutions to Defence. ITI is the first PSU to give network security products (encryptors) to Indian Defence. Nearly 70 percent of the encryption products of Indian Army have been supplied by ITI. All the three phases of Indian Army’s prestigious project ASCON (Army Static Switched Communications Network) have been executed by ITI. Today, ITI has the capability to design strong Encryption systems for broadband communication working up to bandwidth of 10 Gb/s.

What kind of growth prospects is ITI eyeing during the next five years? Is the company planning to make a foray into any other areas?

The prospective projects for ITI in the next five years are likely from the New Telecom Policy 2012 and also New Policy on Electronics 2011. Broadband for all under mission broadband, indigenous manufacturing and preferred market access are the initiatives which would bring new projects to ITI. The Government’s new policy to support domestic manufacturers in Electronic segment will help ITI boost its manufacturing activities. ITI is planning to upgrade its manufacturing infrastructure in all its plants to take advantage of this policy.

Also Read: Solutions for e-Governance

What kind of role are you playing in NOFN?

ITI is hopeful of playing a significant role in the execution of prestigious National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) project wherein Government of India is having a mission of providing Broadband connectivity to rural masses under “Bharat Nirman”. ITI is also anticipating substantial orders from NFS (Network for Spectrum) project.

Today’s competitive environment makes diversification a must for every enterprise. Tell us about the diversification strategies that you are pursuing?

ITI has already forayed into many new areas. With consortium members BEL and ECIL, ITI is executing the National Population  Register (NPR) project of Ministry of Home Affairs and Socio Economic & Caste Census (SECC) project of Ministry of Rural  Development. As an extension of this project, manufacturing of smart identity cards to all Indian citizens is also being planned. ITI has already executed SWAN projects for various State Governments. ITI has set up a Data centre in Bangalore along with a technology partner to leverage huge opportunities in Data centre and cloud computing requirements.

Other areas of diversification are, solar panel manufacturing at Naini plant and banking automation products at Mankapur plant. Plans are also afoot to take up manufacturing of LED lighting products. The huge capital outlay in the Defence sector as well as the thrust on the indigenous content through its offset policy opens up a huge opportunity in this sector. Hence, ITI is taking up manufacturing of electronics and communication products for Defence in a larger scale.

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