Industry body Assocham has identified 15 large import items for ramping up the country's domestic capacity to achieve the objective of Aatmanirbhar Bharat or self-reliant India in 2-3 years.
These items include electronics, coal, iron-steel, non-ferrous metals and vegetable oils, among others.
The analysis, based on the latest data, shows that the electronics goods are the largest non-oil import segment.
Despite the country being under partial lockdown, India imported electronic goods worth USD 2.8 billion only in May, 2020.
"In the circumstance of the industry operating in a normal way, these imports are near about USD 5 billion a month - a huge drain on the forex which needs to be curtailed," Assocham said in a note.
The chamber's Secretary General Deepak Sood said the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology's recent scheme of production - linked incentives and encouraging champions can be a game-changer if pursued vigorously. Both domestic and foreign direct investment should be encouraged in the endeavour.
The Production Linked Incentive Scheme (PLI) for Large Scale Electronics offers incentives to boost domestic manufacturing and attract large investments in mobile phone production and specified electronic components, including assembly, testing, marking and packaging (ATMP) units.
The items of non-oil, non-gold imports with significant foreign exchange drain identified by the chamber include electronic goods, electrical and non-electrical machinery, iron and steel, inorganic and organic chemicals, coal-coke & briquettes, and non-ferrous metals, artificial resins & plastic, transport equipment, medicinal and pharmaceuticals.
The other items in the list are vegetable oil, fertiliser, dyeing, tanning and colouring material, professional instruments and opticals, fruits and vegetables.
"While we need to work on a long-term strategy to reduce our dependence on crude oil, in the short to medium term, we must move in a mission mode to be Aatmanirbhar in at least 15 of the critical sectors.
"We should work on a twin track of not only investing more to ramp up capacity, but also ensure that the end-consumers get the best of the quality products at internationally competitive prices. Self-reliance in the real sense would mean an aggressive production and pricing strategy involving scale and speed of execution," Sood said.