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Jobs back at Tamil Nadu's Sriperumbudur cluster post Nokia shutdown

According to a letter, Taiwanese phonemaker Foxconn, Finnish manufacturer Salcomp and US-based Flex currently make up for 25,000 electronics jobs in the cluster.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: May 05, 2018, 09.16 AM IST
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Foxconn, which has begun manufacturing at its another site off the Nokia SEZ, has reached 7,000 jobs in the state.
Chennai: A turnaround effort in electronics manufacturing after the shutdown of the Nokia feature phone factory near Chennai in 2014 has reached an inflection point with “most of the job losses” having been recovered, a task force created four years back to kick-start manufacturing in the country has claimed in its letter to the Central government.

The letter addressed to Ravi Shankar Prasad, minister for electronics and information technology, and Manoj Sinha, minister of state for communications, states that a total of nearly 8,000 jobs will be added to the Sriperumbudur industrial cluster near Chennai by the end of the year. According to the letter, Taiwanese phonemaker Foxconn, Finnish manufacturer Salcomp and US-based Flex currently make up for 25,000 electronics jobs in the cluster. This ranges against nine manufacturers employing 33,200 when Nokia had functioned on full swing before a huge tax claim pulled the plug on manufacturing in the area.

Foxconn, which has begun manufacturing at its another site off the Nokia SEZ, has reached 7,000 jobs in the state. Efforts are also on to get LiteOn – supplier of front and back covers for Nokia feature phones – to revive its unit in the industrial belt. The state government is also in talks with Lenovo for the revival of the Motorola plant.

After four years of attempting to revive the Nokia factory, in particular, and the phone-making ecosystem near Sriperumbudur, the Fast Track Task Force, a body of top executives of phonemakers and bureaucrats from the IT ministry, is claiming positive results. Pankaj Mohindroo, national president of the Indian Cellular Association, who wrote the letter, told ET: “This turn around is a result of policies such as correcting anomalies in the duty structure that encouraged phone makers to set up shop in India.”

The Income Tax department had, in 2013, attached the factories of Nokia in the 212-acre SEZ over an estimated ₹21,000 crore demand on royalty payments made by the Indian subsidiary to the foreign parent. Amid legal battles against the attachment, the Nokia factory in Sriperumbudur near Chennai – its largest in Asia then – was also left out of a $7.2-billion sale of the Finnish company’s global handsets and services business to US-based multinational Microsoft. Nokia officially announced that it will suspend production at the factory in November, 2014.

In its responses to ET’s queries about reviving the factory, Nokia said it is still in hope of finding a buyer, however, prospects are brighter this time in the backdrop of a settlement with the Centre.

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