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DataWind plans third facility with Rs 100 crore investment

Encouraged by the Make in India push, low-cost handset and tablet maker DataWind intends to spend Rs 100 crore on a third manufacturing facility and is in talks with eastern states including West Bengal and Bihar, a top executive said.

"We have earmarked Rs 100 crore to set up a third manufacturing unit and are in talks with eastern states including West Bengal and Bihar for the purpose," DataWind chief executive Suneet Tuli said. "We have already deployed funds of Rs 100 crore to set up a unit in Hyderabad, Telangana. This will be operational in 60 to 90 days," he added.

Speaking about the government's initiatives in the previous Budget, he said correcting the inverted duty structure was an important step to boost handset manufacturing here. "We are hoping that it extends to laptops and computing devices as well in the upcoming Budget," Tuli said. This will also help potential manufacturers meet the country's increasing requirements which would be spurred by the growing digitalisation. "In 2015, we saw 'double digit growth' for both handset and tablet manufacturing due to the favourable duty structure," he pointed out. 

DataWind's first unit in Amritsar manufactures one lakh unit per month, and it expects to produce 1.5 lakh unit a month initially in Hyderabad, he said. The Canada-headquartered company employs over 700 people in Amritsar and expects to add 500 jobs in its Hyderabad facility.

The company is known for its development of the Aakash tablet computer, which is the world s cheapest tablet at $37.99. The Aakash tablet was developed for Ministry of Human Resource and Development. Several handset makers are expanding manufacturing in the country, including large players like Samsung and Micromax. 
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