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Vedanta arm to set up 1st India LCD-making plant for $10 bn

NRI billionaire Anil Agarwal on Saturday announced that his group would set up India’s first LCD manufacturing facility, which will see an investment of $10 billion (about 68,000 crore) in five phases. 
Agarwal-led firm Twinstar Display Technologies signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Maharashtra government to set up the facility.  The pact was inked as part of the Make in India Week, which commenced in Mumbai on Saturday. In July last year the Agarwal-led firm had announced an investment of Rs 40,000 crore to set up an LCD panel plant in the country, generating about 50,000 jobs.

“Twinstar Display Technologies, promoted by Volcan Investments, signed an MoU with the Government of Maharashtra to set up India’s first LCD Manufacturing Unit, known as Panel FAB. 

Under the agreement, Twinstar Display Technologies will invest $10 billion over five phases in setting up India’s first and one of the world’s largest LCD fab units,” Twinstar Display said in a statement.

Volcan Investments — the parent company of Twinstar, Vedanta Group and Sterlite Technologies — signed the  MoU with the Government of Maharashtra during the ‘Make in India’ week, it added. “We have made good of the promise we made to the nation during the Digital India Summit in July 2015. We are happy to participate in two of the Government’s key initiative, the ‘Make in India’ campaign, as well as ‘Net Zero Electronics import by 2020’,” Agarwal, who is Vedanta Group Chairman, said.

The firm will try to make India a significant export hub of display units with the setting up of Panel FAB, he added. Panel FAB is expected to begin production by 2018, with full production over next 10 years subjected to external environment. 

Upon completion, the project will provide direct and indirect employment to over 30,000 people, the firm said. It will also contribute 7-10 per cent to Maharashtra s Industrial Gross Domestic Product. The project requires about 300 acres of land and two locations have been shortlisted so far, it added.

India’s is one of the fastest growing markets for LCD Panel-based products such as TVs, smartphones, tablets, desktops and Laptops. At present all LCD panels are imported. 
By 2020, India’s LCD panel import bill is expected touch $10 billion. Panel FAB will not only significantly reduce this but also earn foreign exchange through exports.

“A FAB unit can only be successful if the whole ecosystem around it develops and Twinstar Display Technologies is confident of bringing many ancillary partners to the country and making India a leading Electronic System Design and Manufacturing (EDSM) destination,” the firm said.

Meanwhile, with the Nokia tax dispute continuing to cast its shadow on India-Finland trade ties, the Prime Ministers of the two countries on Saturday agreed that seeking “speedy and fair” solutions to investment issues is important to boost investor confidence. 

During a bilateral meeting with Finland Prime Minister Juha Sipila on the sidelines of ‘Make in India’ event here, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also talked about several initiatives including to improve ease of doing business that have been taken to bring in consistency, clarity and predictability in policies.
Sipila, accompanied by a large business delegation, was here to participate in the inauguration of the ‘Make in India Week’ this evening. According to a joint statement, issued after wide-ranging talks between the two Prime Ministers, the visiting leader welcomed the efforts made by the Indian government and Prime Minister Modi himself for reaching out to the business sector.

“The Prime Minister of India mentioned that several initiatives including Ease of Doing Business have been taken to bring in consistency, clarity and predictability in policies. Both Prime Ministers agreed that seeking speedy and fair solutions to investment issues and conduct of Mutual Agreement Procedure are important elements in increasing investor confidence,” the statement said. Nokia is facing a tax demand of nearly Rs 2,000 crore from Indian revenue authorities, and the matter is in court. 

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