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India would like Apple to come and have a base in India: Ravi Shankar Prasad

India would “very much” like the US based iPhone maker Apple to set up manufacturing base in the country and the government will “surely” consider the company’s proposal with “open mind”. “We would very much like Apple to come and have a base in India, they have a base in China, China is under stress. If a structured request come from them, we will surely consider with a open mind,” Ravi Shankar Prasad Minister for Communications & Information Technology told reporters in Delhi.

Apple has sought incentives to set up unit in the country. A team of the company will give a presentation on January 25 to senior officials here. Officials from departments of commerce, industrial policy and promotion (DIPP), revenue, environment and forest, and electronics and information technology (DeITY) would take part in the deliberations.

In a communication to the government, the Cupertino-based technology major has asked for several tax and other incentives, including long-term duty exemptions, to enter the manufacturing sector in India. As many as 42 companies are making mobile phones in India, including Chinese firm Huawei and Xiaomi, and no firm has approached the government for any additional incentives.

Currently, the government provides support by way of benefits under the Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme (MSIPS) to boost electronic manufacturing. Apple’s products are manufactured in six countries, including Korea, Japan and the US.

Earlier, the finance ministry in May had rejected relaxing 30% domestic sourcing norms as sought by the iPhone and iPad maker as a pre-condition of bringing in FDI to set up single-brand retail stores in the country. The company had sought exemption on the ground that it makes state-of-the-art and cutting-edge technology products for which local sourcing is not possible.

The government had also turned down the firm’s proposal to import refurbished phones and sell them in India. The company sells its products through Apple-owned retail stores in countries like China, Germany, the US, the UK and France, among others. It has no wholly-owned store in India and sells its products through distributors such as Redington and Ingram Micro.