India is pushing hard to develop its own semiconductor ecosystem in the country. businessline spoke to Ashwini Vaishnaw, Minister for Railways, Communications and Electronics & Information Technology, on the sidelines of SemiconIndia 2023 to get his views on the ongoing parleys with the industry. Excerpts:


Deals from many firms for semiconductor fab have fallen through, leaving only Foxconn and Vedanta.  Are you hoping to get proposals from other companies to set up fabs?

None of the deals have fallen. The semiconductor industry is a very complex one. It requires lots and lots of groundwork. A right technology partner is needed to ensure success because it’s a new industry. 

So, what is important is to get the first unit in place and learn from the experience correctly. So, we are very lucky that we got a very big name. Micron is one of the world’s largest semiconductor companies. They have come here [to Gujarat], and we have given approvals straight away. Once this venture is successful, it will give prospective investors more confidence.


After the dissolution of the Vedanta-Foxconn JV, has the government established a minimum requirement from technology partners to have these firms onboard?

No, there is no set template for this. We are looking at the entire proposal — who is the partner, or the partners in the proposal. They should be able to demonstrate that there is the right technology background to our global experts. Those global experts should be convinced that, yes, this group, this consortium, can build a fab, give us a full comprehensive proposal that demonstrates your capability to set up a fabrication unit.


Where do you envision India’s position to be in the global supply chain in the future?

India is emerging as a big semiconductor manufacturing destination — an important semiconductor design and manufacturing destination. Now, this is a journey; we are starting a new industry. So, our focus is right now on getting the things right — for the execution, getting the ecosystem in place right. The entire industry has told us that once you have the ecosystem in place, India should be able to see many more fabs coming. So, our focus must be in developing the ecosystem.  This industry is growing nominally. It’s going to double in the coming five, seven years. There’s huge scope for India’s growth


What is the timeline for making the first make in India chips?

With our deal from Micron, we are expected to start manufacturing our first Make in India chip for December 2024.


How integral is Gujarat going to be in establishing a semiconductor ecosystem in India?

India is a large country. Each State has its own strengths and weaknesses. So, we must focus on the strengths, and we are working on making sure that the industry in every State is benefited out of this.