The decision to establish the first semi-conductor OSAT (Outsourced Semiconductor Assembly and Test) facility of India, in Assam might have come up as a revelation for many in the country.

The concerted efforts by both the Centre and the State government, through a range of policy and fiscal incentives such as — increased tax devolution post-GST, hike in the State’s capital expenditure, and investing in social sector schemes have laid the foundation for sustained economic growth.

Tata’s ₹27,000 crore ATMP (Assembly Testing Marking and Packaging) plant in Jagiroad, Assam also opens up a plethora of opportunities for local enterprises and potential investors. These include prospects to invest across a host of downstream and upstream industries essential for the ATMP facility’s development.

Additionally, the project also invites the local production of chemicals and high-purity gases such as neon, helium, carbon dioxide, ammonia, silane, hydrides, laser gases, etc. all of semi-conductor grade specifications — used at various manufacturing stages.

Various allied assembly and packaging tools and components industries also hold immense potential like wafer-mounting, dicing, micro wash die bonding, clip bonding and wire bonding facilities, along with encapsulation moulds, trim and form dies system, bonding wires, testing tools, wafers, vacuum pumps and more.

Lastly, the requirement for repair equipment and reliability chambers in the functioning of the plant presents yet another area of opportunity. The emergence of these industries in Assam is crucial for the larger semiconductor ecosystem to thrive.

Moreover, Assam’s strategic location as a bridge between India and South-East Asia, offers a substantial market for many downstream industries. The chips produced from Assam’s semiconductor plant will be integral to industries such as automobile, consumer electronics, telecommunications, aerospace and defence.

The State is already devising sector-specific industrial policies including those for AI, Aerospace and Defence, electronics, and electric vehicles to attract global investors to Assam, both for India and the rest of South-East Asia.

The Way Ahead

The industries stepping into Assam will need a skilled workforce. Training institutes like the ITIs will have to play a larger role by collaborating with various industry players to produce skilled manpower. IIM Shillong and the upcoming IIM Guwahati will provide managerial talent to these industries. The IIT/ IIITs of the region should now evolve as centres for cutting edge research in the semi-conductor domain through creation of dedicated research labs. Assam has also made major strides in renewable energy. The possibility of a green industrial corridor, enhancing semiconductor manufacturing and connecting Assam with neighbouring countries, is under consideration.

Looking ahead, Assam’s ease of connectivity with the upcoming deep-sea port in Matarbari, Bangladesh, could be the game changer for Assam and open up new avenues for exports.

The State’s robust economic growth in recent years has been predominantly driven by consumption and government expenditure. Now, Assam is well poised to rely on private investments to boost growth.

The State will also host an investor’s summit in November and the lead-up to the event will feature a host of attractive policy decisions by the State to lure investors. Assam aspires to be the international hub of semi-conductor manufacturing in the foreseeable future.

Kota is the Chief Secretary, Assam; and Deb is the Chief Economist, Chief Minister’s Secretariat, Government of Assam