Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) was set up at Bangalore by the Government of India under the Ministry of Defence in 1954 to meet the specialised electronic needs of the Indian defence services. Over the years, it has grown into a multi-product, multi-technology, multi-unit company serving the needs of customers in diverse fields in India and abroad.
BEL is among an elite group of public sector undertakings, which has been conferred the Navratna status by the Government of India. The growth and diversification of the company over the years mirrors the advances in the electronics technology with which BEL has kept pace.
The company registered Rs 5,561.03 crore turnover for the year 2010-11. Navratna Defence PSU (BEL) has received the Dun & Bradstreet-Rolta Corporate Award under the ‘Electrical and Electronic Equipment’ category for the year 2010. The company has also received the SCOPE (Standing Conference of Public Enterprises) Meritorious Award for Corporate Governance for the year 2009-10.
History of the company:
Starting with the manufacturing of few communication equipment in 1956, BEL went on to produce receiving valves in 1961, germanium semiconductors in 1962 and radio transmitters for All India Radio (AIR) in 1964. In 1966, BEL set up a radar manufacturing facility for the Army and in-house R&D, which has been nurtured over the years. Manufacture of transmitting tubes, silicon devices and integrated circuits started in 1967. The PCB manufacturing facility was established in 1968.
In 1970, manufacture of black & white TV picture tubes, X-ray tubes and microwave tubes was started. The following year, facilities for manufacture of integrated circuits and hybrid micro circuits were set up.
In 1972 BEL started manufacturing TV transmitters for Doordarshan. The following year, manufacture of frigate radars for the Navy began. Under the government's policy of decentralization and due to strategic reasons, BEL ventured to set up new units at various places. The second unit of the company was set up at Ghaziabad in 1974 to manufacture radars and tropo communication equipment for the Indian Air Force. The third unit was established at Pune in 1979 to manufacture Image Converters and Image Intensifier Tubes.
In 1980, BEL's first overseas office was set up in New York for procurement of components and materials. In 1981, a manufacturing facility for Magnesium Manganese Dioxide batteries was set up at the Pune unit. The Space Electronic Division was set up at Bangalore to support the satellite programme in 1982. The same year BEL successfully achieved a turnover of Rs100 crore.
In 1983, an ailing Andhra Scientific Company (ASCO) was taken over by BEL as the fourth manufacturing unit at Machilipatnam. In 1985, the fifth unit was set up in Chennai for supply of Tank Electronics, with proximity to HVF, Avadi. The sixth unit was set up at Panchkula the same year to manufacture military communication equipment. 1985 also saw BEL manufacturing Low Power TV Transmitters and TVROs on a large scale for the expansion of Doordarshan's coverage.
In the year 1986, the company witnessed the setting up of the seventh unit at Kotdwara to manufacture switching equipment, the eighth unit to manufacture TV glass shells at Taloja, Navi Mumbai and the ninth unit at Hyderabad to manufacture electronic warfare equipment.
In 1987, a separate naval equipment division was set up at Bangalore to give greater focus to naval projects. The first central research laboratory was established at Bangalore in 1988 to focus on futuristic R&D. The year 1989 saw the manufacture of Telecom Switching and Transmission Systems as also the setting up of the Mass Manufacturing Facility in Bangalore and the manufacture of the first batch of 75,000 Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).
The agreement for setting up BEL's first joint venture (JV) company, BE DELFT, with Delft of Holland was signed in 1990. Recently the JV became a subsidiary of BEL with the exit of the foreign partner and has been renamed BEL Optronic Devices Limited. The second central research laboratory was established at Ghaziabad in 1992. The first disinvestment of 20% and listing of the company's shares on the Bangalore and Mumbai Stock Exchanges took place the same year.
BEL units obtained ISO 9000 certification in 1993-94. The second disinvestment 4.14% took place in 1994.
In 1996, BEL achieved Rs 1,000 crore turnover. In 1997, GE BEL, the joint venture company with GE, USA, was formed. In 1998, BEL set up its second overseas office at Singapore to source components from South East Asia. The year 2000 saw the Bangalore unit, which had grown very large, being reorganized into Strategic Business Units (SBUs). There are seven SBUs in the Bangalore unit. The same year, BEL's shares were listed on the National Stock Exchange.
In 2002, BEL became the first defence PSU to get operational Mini Ratna Category I status. In June 2007, BEL was conferred the prestigious Navratna status based on its consistent performance. During 2008-09, BEL recorded a turnover of Rs 4624 crore.
The company entered in joint venture agreement with Multitone, UK to offer most comprehensive on-site product ranges -- from small, easy to use pagers to practical, durable private mobile radios and the latest technology, digital cordless communication systems.
BEL Optronic Devices is a subsidiary company established for conducting research, development and manufacture of image intensifier tubes and associated high voltage power supply units for use in military, security and commercial systems. The company is located in Bhosari Industrial Area, Pune. BEL also owns another subsidiary under the name of Belop Financials.
GEBE was set up in 1997 as a joint venture between Bharat Electronics Limited and General Electric Medical System. The facility based at Whitefield, Bangalore, India, manufactures X-ray tubes for RAD & F and CT systems, as well as components such as High Voltage Tanks and Detector modules for CT system. The products are exported worldwide and meet the safety and regulatory standards specified by FDA, CE, MHW, AERB and the facility has been accredited with ISO-9001; ISO-13485 and ISO-14001 certifications. GEBEL also markets the conventional X-ray tubes made at Pune Unit of BEL.
The turnover of GEBEL during 2004-2005 was over Rs 450 crore including an export of over Rs. 430 crore. The company has been recognized for its outstanding export performance since 1998 by the Export Promotion Councils. The facility conforms to the high standards of Environment, Health & Safety and is recognized as a GE Global Star site.Apart from manufacturing, a dedicated engineering team is working on the development of new technologies & products to meet various customer needs.
BEL - Multitone:
BEL and Multitone, UK, offers state- of- the- art Mobile Communication Products for the workplace. Multitone invented paging in 1956 when it developed the world's first system to serve the 'life or death' environment of St.Thomas Hospital, London. With the strength of Bharat Electronics in the Radio Communications field and the technology of Multitone in the field of Radio Paging, the joint venture company is in a position to offer tailor made solutions to the Mobile Communication needs at workplaces in various market segments.
The joint venture offers one of the most comprehensive on-site product ranges - from small, easy to use pagers to practical, durable private Mobile Radios and the latest technology, digital cordless communication systems. Brief details of the products are:
Defence - Under this BEL offers products for communication, radars, naval systems, opto electronics, Electronic Warfare systems, weapon system, tank electronics and simulators.
Non defence - The company offers products in area of switching equipment, TV and broadcast, DTH, telecom, simputer, electronic voting machines and electronic components.
System/Turnkey Solutions - It offers C4I solutions, SATCOM Networks and VTMS.
Services - It offers a range of services such as contract manufacturing, design and manufacturing services, semiconductor device packaging, software development and quality assurance facilities.
Customers The company caters to companies in area of Indian Defence Services, Para -military forces, Radars & Sonars Indian Defence Services, Civil Aviation, Meteorological Department, Space Department, Telecommunication Department, Power Sector, Oil Industry, Railways, All India Radio, Doordarshan, Police, State Governments, Public Sector Undertakings and many more.
Exports BEL exports its products to countries like Indonesia, Egypt, Switzerland, Botswana, Surinam, Malaysia, Russia, Brazil, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Israel, South Africa, UAE, Uganda, Turkey, UK, Azerbaijan, Germany, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Nigeria, Canada, Belgium, Italy, France, Malawi and Mauritius.