India’s Prime Minister calls for his nation’s e-waste to enter ‘circular economy,’ offers subsidies to factories

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called on his nation’s industries to get better at recycling electronics.

In a speech to the Indian Mobile Congress 2020, an event staged by India’s Department of Telecommunications and the Cellular Operator Association of India, Modi suggested that India’s gadget lust has become a problem.

“Due to technological upgradation, we have a culture of replacing handsets and gadgets frequently,” he said, before asking: “Can the industry form a task-force to think of better ways of handling the electronic waste and create a circular economy?”

Modi didn’t explain the goals he hoped such a task force should pursue, or what success would look like for the hypothetical body.

Due to technological upgradation, we have a culture of replacing handsets and gadgets frequently

But the PM did mention the production-linked incentive scheme that aims to lure electronics manufacturers to India by offering them subsidies that increase as production ramps up. Modi also pointed out that India is a low-tariff country that should therefore appeal to investors.

“We have achieved much success in mobile manufacturing in India,” he said, adding: “Let us work together to make India a global hub for telecom equipment, design, development and manufacturing.”

He did not link the call for development of a circular economy with India’s investment attraction efforts. Nor did the PM mention that China has banned imports of recyclable waste products nor the potential for India to either become an e-waste recycling alternative or to have its new manufacturers emphasize re-use.

Modi did reiterate India’s plans to digitize services, wire the nation, foster startups, and do it all faster with 5G. ®

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