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Bangalore Nov. 5

, The Union Government would soon announce its policy on the semiconductor industry, said the Union Minister for Communication and IT, Mr Dayanidhi Maran, on Sunday.

The Ministries of Communication and IT and Finance were working together to formulate the policy, Mr Maran told presspersons in Bangalore after a function where leading semiconductor company SemIndia and Belgium-based IMEC, Europe's leading independent nanoelectronics and nanotechnology research institute, signed an MoU for research and development collaboration.

"We will try to do it as fast as possible," Mr Maran said adding, "a cabinet note on the proposed policy is on its way". About the reported differences between the two ministries on incentives to be given for the semiconductor industry, Mr Maran said, "We are in a democratic set up. But at the end of the day, we are batting on the same side."

The SemIndia founder, Chairman and CEO, Mr Vinod Agarwal, said there were concerned over the delay in announcement of the policy, which was ``disturbing'' and would send a ``wrong signal''. But, Mr Agarwal noted, the Government was trying to work out a consensus on the proposed policy and the Prime Minister was fully committed to it.

SemIndia, which intends to build a semiconductor fab in Hyderabad by 2007 with production ramp-up beginning 2009, intends to take up research with IMEC on the next generations of semiconductor process technologies.

"This collaboration would focus on developing foundry-compatible 130 nano metre and 90 nano metre CMOS (complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor) processes for logic and mixed signal products," Mr Vinod Agarwal said.

SemIndia will rely on IMEC's expertise in developing and transferring advanced CMOS processes. "In second phase, SemIndia plans to collaborate with IEMC on advanced semiconductor processes of 65 nano metre and 45 nano metre," he said.

The IMEC Vice-President for Strategic Relations, Mr Roger de Keersmaecker, said IMEC acknowledged the fact that India is fast emerging in the nanoelectronic, R&D and manufacturing segments. "India's booming economy and microelectronics market, large and educated workforce and a sound legal framework for intellectual property protection form the basic ingredients for successful R&D collaborations," he said.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated November 6, 2006)
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