NEW DELHI : The government is planning to export locally designed and manufactured Vande Bharat trains in the coming years, Railways Minister Shri Ashwini Vaishnaw said at the ET Now Global Business Summit on Saturday.
“The challenge was to develop it (Vande Bharat) in our country by our own engineers and the challenge has been taken very well. I can say with a good level of confidence that in the coming years, we would start exporting this train,” said Vaishnaw, who also holds the communications, and electronics and information technology portfolios.
The minister said the feedback on Vande Bharat has been good but more improvements will be done on the trains. “Work has already started on another version of the train, the Vande Sleeper,” he said.
Talking about the digital infrastructure, Vaishnaw said India has witnessed the fastest 5G rollout in the world. “If you combine the 5G towers in two continents, I won’t take any names, but India has more 5G radiating towers than the sum of the two large continents. That is the pace at which the rollout has happened in flat 16 months,” he said. Around 80% of the telecom equipment used in the rollout has been ‘made-in-Bharat’.
Elaborating on the indigenously developed telecom technology stack, Vaishnaw said 3,000 towers are functional and the project is stable. “Coming April-May, we will start scaling it up in a very big way and in the coming years, this system will be competing with the top systems in the entire world. We would be competing with Huawei, ZTE, Samsung, Nokia and Ericsson,” he stressed.
This will be another technology exported from India, he said. On digital public infrastructure like the Unified payments interface (UPI), the minister said its architecture is unique as it is based on public-private partnership, where the government invested in creating one platform, on which various services ride. There are nearly 500 banks and e-wallets, 50 million merchants, many startups and about 400 million users utilising the UPI. “This structure allows any new person to be a part of this digital success, unlike a structure where the entire control is in the hands of big tech,” Vaishnaw said. He said the development of UPI interface was Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of democratising technology, a structure in which anybody can join, try their luck, try their technology and work out their ideas, and that a large number of startups are based on that.
“The big thing about this is the cost of transactions has come down from about $10 to a few cents, which means anybody can start a financial services company or technology or a startup using this structure,” Vaishnaw said.
Vaishnaw said that from a miniscule value 10 years ago, mobile manufacturing has grown to nearly $43 billion and exports have already crossed $12 billion. Similarly, he said, the electronics products segment has reached $105 billion. “We are targeting $300 billion production in the coming few years and about $100 billion exports in the coming few years. I think these targets are realistic and achievable,” Vaishnaw said. He said the optimism comes from the fact that the ecosystem is developing, with component manufacturers starting to shift to the country, and a lot of design work has also started happening in the country. “So, part of this value chain, right from design to components and final manufacturing and the services beyond that, everything is getting in place now.”