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India to impose import restrictions to boost local solar power equipment makers

According to reports, India will encourage local manufacturers of  solar power equipment and restrict imports to help domestic industry grow in the competitive environment, minister for new and renewable energy  Farooq Abdullah said on Wednesday. The approach would be reflected in the second phase of the  Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM), he said at a conference organised by Assocham, an industry body.

“Phase II of the mission would be ‘Indianised’ and we will put in all efforts to save the domestic industrya¦ The government will limit imports and encourage domestic manufacturing to boost solar energy generation. We want our domestic solar industry to grow and survive in the competition,” he said. He said that the foreign companies must set up manufacturing facilities along with research and development centres if they want to enter India for solar power generation. The minister’s comments will cheer domestic players who have been asking the government to curb foreign involvement in the solar mission as it is hitting their market. “We have always been open to level-playing competition. If the foreign companies set up their unit in India and then compete with the domestic manufacturers, it will work in the betterment of the solar energy sector only,” said Vivek Chaturvedi, vice-president, marketing,  Moser Baer (solar division).

Foreign companies have recently quoted and won bids at abnormally low prices – as low as 7.18 per unit for solar power – which domestic manufacturers say was possible because Indian players get lower subsidy. “India’s manufacturing sector doesn’t lack anywhere. Our level of subsidies is lower than other countries and this creates disparity. High subsidies enjoyed by the foreign players converts into low prices here, making it difficult for the domestic ones to match up to them,” said Chaturvedi.

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