India will consider Apple’s request for incentives to invest in the country with an “open mind,” Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters on Wednesday.
“We will very much like Apple to come and have a base in India,” Prasad said.
Apple (AAPL) has sent a list of demands to the Indian government, seeking tax concessions and several other policy exemptions, as necessary pre-requisites before it starts production of its iPhones in India.
Prasad also said a government panel headed by the cabinet secretary would now clear investment proposals in the electronic sector above $1 billion, instead of them going through multiple government departments.
Prasad’s comments came after the federal cabinet revamped a subsidy program for electronic manufacturing, tightening some of its provisions following objections from the finance ministry.
He announced a cap of $1.5 billion on the amount of subsidy the government provided under the Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme (M-SIPS) designed to boost electronics manufacturing.
The finance ministry had raised concerns about the scheme because of a lack of clarity about the subsidy payout, delaying a slew of investment proposals.
Apple has offered to manufacture iPhones in the country both for the domestic market as well as exports, in a potential boost for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Make in India” program to expand a domestic industrial base and create millions of jobs.
“We want to make India a big hub of electronic manufacturing,” Prasad said.