By Ram Kumar Kaushik
India's aspirations to become a global semiconductor powerhouse took center stage at the three-day India SemiCon event held at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar. The event saw the participation of top CEOs from renowned chip firms, including Micron, Cadence, Applied Materials, and AMD, along with the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The event marked a significant milestone in India's journey towards establishing itself as a major player in the semiconductor industry, vying for a position alongside established leaders like the United States, Taiwan, and South Korea. The occasion also witnessed a groundbreaking announcement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, outlining a bold initiative to encourage semiconductor manufacturing in India.
PM Modi declared that India would provide a 50% financial assistance package to companies engaged in semiconductor manufacturing within the country. This substantial incentive is expected to attract foreign firms and bolster India's capabilities in chip production. Additionally, PM Modi announced the introduction of semiconductor courses in 300 colleges across India, a move aimed at nurturing a skilled talent pool to support the growing semiconductor ecosystem.
Drawing an interesting analogy, PM Modi likened India's role in the semiconductor industry to that of a conductor in a chip, ensuring all components work in harmony. He expressed his confidence that India is diligently ticking all the right boxes to become an excellent conductor for semiconductor investments.
The inaugural ceremony at SemiconIndia 2023 saw the convergence of over 500 industry leaders, researchers, policymakers, government officials, and startups, all united in their commitment to drive India's semiconductor mission forward. Notable attendees included Ashwini Vaishnaw, Union Minister for Railways, Communications, Electronics, and IT; Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Union MoS for Electronics and IT; and Gujarat CM Bhupendra Patel.
The distinguished panel of industry leaders present at the event included Young Liu, Chairman of Foxconn; Anil Agarwal, Chairman of Vedanta Group; Mark Papermaster, EVP and CTO of AMD; Anirudh Devgan, President and CEO of Cadence; Sanjay Mehrotra, President and CEO of Micron Technology; and Prabhu Raja, President of Semiconductor Products Group at Applied Materials.
In recent developments, during PM Modi's visit to the United States, crucial agreements were signed with major semiconductor players, including Micron Technology, Applied Materials, and Lam Research. Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw highlighted the significance of these agreements, with the latter aimed at training an impressive 60,000 engineers through Lam Research's “semiverse platform.”
PM Modi emphasized that India's semiconductor mission is committed to developing a comprehensive ecosystem. He underscored the importance of building a trusted supply chain partner, particularly in light of global events like the Covid pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict. India's stable, responsible, and reform-oriented government, coupled with its rapidly developing infrastructure and vast pool of skilled engineers and designers, has earned the trust of the industry worldwide.
The Prime Minister reaffirmed his vision of India becoming a global manufacturing hub, not only making products within the country but also for the world. He highlighted the recent launch of the National Quantum Mission and the forthcoming National Research Foundation Bill, which would further empower India's semiconductor sector with expert talent.
As part of the ambitious roadmap, PM Modi identified 300 institutions tasked with revamping the engineering curriculum to meet industry demands. The initiative aims to produce 1 lakh skilled designers over the next five years to address the growing requirements of the semiconductor sector.
In his closing remarks, PM Modi extended an invitation to semiconductor firms, expressing India's eagerness to collaborate and work together towards a better world and global good. He urged investors to seize the opportune moment and invest in India, drawing parallels with his famous words from the Red Fort, “This is the time, this is the right time,” emphasizing that it holds true not only for India but also for the world.
Union MoS for Electronics and IT, Rajeev Chandrashekhar, expressed his optimism, stating that India's $10 billion PLI (Production-Linked Incentive) scheme would enable the country to achieve in a decade what China accomplished in 30 years.
The SemiconIndia 2023 event marks a defining moment in India's semiconductor journey, propelling the nation towards becoming a pivotal force in the global semiconductor landscape.
The BuckStopper, run by a group of seasoned journalists, holds the powerful accountable. The buck stops with them, as they cannot shrug off their official responsibilities.