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India has the potential to become a semiconductor hub

Even as India is poised to become a major global hub in semiconductor manufacturing over the next 10 years it has to continue working consistently to ensure that a robust ecosystem is in place to achieve that goal, communications minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said on Tuesday.

“We must understand that when it comes to semiconductors, it’s not just about creating facilities for fab. Many countries have made this mistake. I wouldn’t take any names but I can give you numerous examples where a country simply set up fab units and within a couple of years they failed in the absence of an [enabling] ecosystem,” observed Vaishnaw during an interaction with reporters on the sidelines of the launch of Sanchar Saathi portal through which users can track and block their lost handsets Tuesday.

He emphasised that given the very complex nature of semiconductor manufacturing, India would need to take an approach that is patient, measured and circumspect. Comparing the creation of the industry to the construction of a building, he added that this had to be done brick by brick by roping in talent and creating an environment conducive to attracting machine equipment manufacturers and gas suppliers.

He said that it was equally important to ensure that semiconductor manufacturing happened in a sustainable manner.

“You all are aware of Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 emissions. And when it comes to discussions on Scope 2 and Scope 3, people often inquire about the kind of energy that will be going into manufacturing. We have a huge advantage where we have earmarked 20,000 MW (20 GW) of energy for semiconductor manufacturing,” noted Vaishnaw.

Green energy for sustainable manufacturing
Adding the world had taken note of the country’s plans to utilise green energy in semiconductor manufacturing he said, “I can tell you that over the next 5-10 years, India will emerge as a major semiconductor destination.”

Vaishnaw said that all stakeholders had responded well to the government semiconductor policy announced on January 1, 2022. In the 17 months since then 106 Indian universities had started offering courses on semiconductors and the country had also inked an MoU with the US’s Purdue University, with many more educational institutions expressing their interest in participating in the programme.

“Everybody thinks that they can create fab manufacturing by simply pumping in X amount of money. No! And that’s what is a big differentiator in our case. The talent base that we have and the steps that we have been taking to improve that talent base so that the whole world says the highest potential for creating the next big semiconductor industry hub in the world in India,” declared Vaishnaw.

Talking about his recent visit to the US to meet up with semiconductor players, he said that he met representatives of 45 companies and two universities within a span of three days.

“The visit provided us with comprehensive feedback on mistakes that other countries have made. One senior company representative told me, ‘Tell your prime minister that yours is the most practical approach and he must continue with it’,” shared Vaishnaw.

In a reference to the importance being accorded to the programme by the central government, he said that at a diplomatic level, India’s consul general in San Francisco was deeply engaged with all the semiconductor companies in the US state of California. BusinessToday

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