BEL diversifying into civilian sectors to spur growth

Last Updated: Sun, Jun 02, 2019 16:07 hrs
Bharat Electonics (Image Courtesy: BEL)

Bengaluru: State-run Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) is diversifying into more civilian areas to spur its corporate growth in fiscal 2019-20, a top company official said on Saturday.

"As diversification into non-defence opportunities will drive our growth, we are entering into more verticals in the civilian sector, including space electronics, solar, homeland security, smart cards, telecom, railways, civil aviation, fuel cells and lithium batteries," BEL Chairman M.V. Gowtama told reporters here.

Though the city-based defence behemoth caters largely to the Indian armed forces, including the army, navy and air force, it has been foraying into more civilian space for diversification and broad-basing its business, rolling out electronic voting machines (EVMs), solar panels for intelligent traffic management signals and set-top boxes for direct-to-home digital broadcasting services.

"We supplied over a million EVMs and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) units to the Election Commission for conducing the recent Lok Sabha elections across the country. Our machines were used in 400 of the 542 parliamentary seats. The order contributed Rs 2,600 crore business in fiscal 2018-19," Gowtama said.

"The poll panel also used EVMs and VVPATs made by the Hyderabad-based state-run Electronics Corporation of India (ECIL) in the remaining 142 parliamentary seats," he said after presenting the financial performance of the 'Navaratna' company.

The company will supply more EVMs and VVPATs to the states where the assembly elections are due later this year or early next year. The orders will be for new machines and upgraded versions to replace the older voting machines.