IT minister says will grant approvals to chip makers in 6-8 months
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday urged industry to make India a global hub for semiconductors, asserting that the government had “put the odds in your favour as far as possible through a supportive policy environment”.
The prime minister, in his inaugural address at the Semicon India-2022 conference in Bengaluru, said a new world order was forming and the country must seize the opportunity. He further said India had an appetite for “technology and risk-taking”.
Modi said there was a collective aim to establish India as one of the key partners in global semiconductor supply chains. “We want to work in this direction based on the principle of hi-tech, high quality, and high reliability,” he said, adding that “semiconductors are playing a critical role in the world in more ways than we can imagine”.
He said there were reasons for India to become an attractive investment destination for semiconductor technology. The country is building a digital infrastructure to connect over 1.3 billion Indians. This is for India’s financial inclusion, banking and digital payment revolution, he said. Unified payments interface (UPI) is the world’s most efficient payment infrastructure today, he added.
“We are using digital technology to transform lives in all sectors of governance from health and welfare to inclusion and empowerment,” said Modi.
Speaking at the event, Electronics and IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said the government expects to grant approvals to electronic chip makers in the next 6-8 months as it looks to encourage domestic manufacturing of semiconductors. Rajeev Chandrasekhar, minister of state for electronics and IT, said Indian Semiconductor Mission is evaluating the process and the approvals will come after the due diligence is done.
Earlier, Modi said efforts are being made to connect 600,000 villages with broadband. The country is investing in developing capabilities in 5G, IoT (Internet of Things) and clean energy technologies, he added.
“We are working to unleash the next wave of innovation in data, AI (artificial intelligence) and other technologies,” said Modi.
He said India is headed for robust economic growth. The country has the world’s fastest-growing startup ecosystem. New unicorns are coming up every few weeks. India’s own consumption of semiconductors is expected to cross $80 billion by 2026 and $110 billion by 2030.
Modi said the country has undertaken wide-ranging reforms for improving the ease of doing business in India. Last year, India abolished more than 25,000 compliances and gave a push towards auto-renewal of licenses. Similarly, digitisation is also bringing speed and transparency to the regulatory framework.
“Today, we have one of the most favourable taxation structures in the world,” said Modi.
India is also investing heavily in skilling and training young Indians for the needs of the 21st century. Modi said India has an exceptional semiconductor design talent pool which makes up to 20 per cent of the world’s semiconductor design engineers. Almost all of the top 25 semiconductor design companies have their design or R&D centres in the country.
The country has also undertaken several measures towards transforming the manufacturing sector.
“At a time when humanity was fighting a once-in-a-century pandemic, India was not only improving the health of its people but also the health of the economy,” said Modi.
He said the production-linked incentive (PLI) schemes offer incentives of over $26 billion in 14 key sectors. Over the next five years, the electronics manufacturing sector is expected to see record growth.
The country recently announced its ‘Semi-con India Programme’ with a total outlay of over $10 billion. This programme aims to provide financial support to companies investing in semiconductors, display manufacturing and design ecosystems.
“We are aware that for a semiconductor ecosystem to flourish, it is necessary to ensure adequate support from the government,” said Modi.
He said earlier there were so many needless compliances and no ease of doing business. “While the industry works hard, the government must work even harder,” said Modi.
“I would like to assure you that we will continue to support the industry in the future as well,” he added.
He said the government has taken care to ensure that the Semi-con India programme addresses various parts of the eco-system such as semiconductor fab, display fab as well as design, assembly, test, marking and packaging of semiconductors.