25 Major Milestones in India’s Semiconductor Journey in Last 4 Years

India's semiconductor journey from 2020 to 2024 witnessed remarkable growth and strategic initiatives aimed at enhancing the country's position in the global semiconductor market.

Introduction

Over the past four years, India’s semiconductor industry has experienced a transformative journey, marked by notable advancements, strategic partnerships, and policy initiatives.From laying the groundwork for indigenous chip design to fostering innovation hubs, India has achieved 25 Major Milestones in last 4 years.

This snapshot delves into the key milestones and developments that have shaped India’s semiconductor journey from 2020 to 2024.

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India’s Semiconductor Journey: 2020-21

1. The Swadeshi Microprocessor challenge, 2020

The Swadeshi Microprocessor Challenge was launched by the Government of India in 2020 to promote indigenous design and development of microprocessors.

It aimed to reduce dependency on imported microchips, enhance national security, and boost the country’s technological self-reliance.

Open to students at all levels and start-ups, the Challenge demanded contestants to tinker with the Swadeshi Processor IPs (VEGA processor by C-DAC & SHAKTI processor by IIT Madras) and facilitate them with innovating the frugal solutions for societal needs.

Team Vega-FCS-FT – “Fault Tolerant Reliable Integrated Avionics System for Drones” bagged the 1st position marking the beginning of India’s Semiconductor Journey.

2. Semiconductor PLI scheme, June 2021

The government was open to introducing new incentives for chipmakers, beyond those detailed in the PLI scheme.

Over 20 semiconductor manufacturing and designing companies in high-end, display, and specialty fabrication have reportedly submitted Expressions of Interest (EOIs) to set up manufacturing plants in India. The deadline was April 30, 2021. This was a major step in India’s Semiconductor Journey

Read More: Samsung and SK Hynix Halt 2nd Hand Equipment Sales to China over Fears of US Backlash – techovedas

3. Semicon India Program, Dec 2021

On December 15, 2021, the Indian government announced the Semicon India Program. The government cleared an INR 760 billion (>US$10 billion) package to boost semiconductor and display manufacturing.

The program aims to provide attractive incentive support to companies/consortia engaged in Silicon semiconductor fabs, display fabs, compound semiconductors/silicon photonics/sensors (including MEMS) fabs, semiconductor packaging (ATMP/OSAT), and semiconductor design.

Incentives worth INR 2.3 trillion (approx. US$30.16 billion) will be available to position India as global hub for electronics manufacturing.

4. India semiconductor mission, Dec 2021

The government will establish a specialized and independent “India Semiconductor Mission (ISM)” to drive long-term strategies for developing a sustainable semiconductors and display ecosystem.

The India Semiconductor Mission will be led by global experts in semiconductor and display industry. It acts as the nodal agency for efficient and smooth implementation of the schemes on Semiconductors and Display ecosystem.

5. The Design Linked Incentive scheme

The Ministry of Electronics and Information (MeitY) is seeks applications domestic companies and start-ups under its Design Linked Incentive (DLI) Scheme.

The scheme has three components – Chip Design infrastructure support, Product Design Linked Incentive and Deployment Linked Incentive.

C-DAC (Centre for Development of Advanced Computing), a scientific society operating under MeitY, will serve as the nodal agency for implementation of the DLI scheme.

The DLI scheme aims to nurture at least 20 domestic companies involved in semiconductor design. It facilitates them to achieve turnover of more than INR 15 billion in the next five years.

A dedicated portal has been made available – www.chips-dli.gov.in – for inviting online applications from January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2024.

6. Showering proposals

The Indian government confirmed it has received proposals from five companies to establish electronic chip. It displays manufacturing plants with an investment of INR 1.53 trillion (approx. US$20.5 billion).

Vedanta and Foxconn, in a 60-40 joint venture, will be setting up India’s first semiconductor production plant, a display fab unit, and a semiconductor assembling and testing unit over 1000 acres in Ahmedabad, state of Gujarat.

India’s Semiconductor Journey: 2022-23

7. GoI launches the Chips to Startup Program, January 2022

Chips to Startup (C2S) Programmed aims to train 85,000 number of Specialized Manpower over a period of 5 years in the area of VLSI.

Embedded System Design and leapfrog in ESDM space by way of inculcating the culture of System-on-Chip (SoC)/ System Level Design at Bachelors.

Masters and Research level and act as a catalyst for growth of Start-ups involved in fabless design.

This initiative includes the production of 175 ASICs (Application Specific Integrated Circuits), creation of an IP core repository. Its development of functional prototypes of 20 Systems on Chips (SoCs) within the same time frame.

8. Upgrading the SCL Mohali fab, Oct 2022

The Ministry of Electronics and IT has plans to spend US$1.25-US$1.30 billion to modernize. It upgrade its semiconductor laboratory (SCL) in Mohali. The SCL has now invited bids for the lab upgrade; qualified bidders must have a commercial partner on board to produce fabrication of chips designed by the lab. The last date for submitting bids to the SCL’s request for proposal (RFP) is October 25, 2022. The SCL aims to be able to produce 28-nm chips after upgradation.

Read more How SCL’s Tiny Chips Helped Power India’s Chandrayaan-3 Mission – techovedas

January 2024

The government has received nine bids for the overhaul of its Semiconductor Laboratory (SCL) in Mohali, with companies such as the Tata Group, Tower Semiconductor, and Texas Instruments among the bidders.

Currently, the central government is offering 50 percent subsidy on fab units and state governments offer 10-25 percent subsidy over and above the central grant – however, while the incentives are lucrative, applicants must meet technology standards.

Read More:Tata, Texas, Tower Among 9 Bidders in Semiconductor Laboratory (SCL)Overhaul – techovedas

9. Semicon India FutureDESIGN, Oct 2022

Semicon India FutureDESIGN is a programme that aims to catalyse the next-generation semiconductor design start-ups in India. This initiative provides a platform for start-ups to showcase their innovative ideas, connect with industry experts, investors, and mentors, and receive funding and support to bring their ideas to fruition.

Under the scheme, the government of India offers a reimbursement of up to 50% of the design cost, subject to a maximum of INR 15 crore per application. The DLI scheme significantly boosts start-ups, as it helps them overcome financial barriers and invest in research and development.

The SemiconIndiafutureDESIGN Roadshows 2023 under the DLI Scheme were scheduled to take place in colleges across India. The first Roadshow occurred on October 18th, 2022, at Karnavati University in Gandhinagar, followed by the second on February 24th, 2023, at IISc Bengaluru.

10. US India Pact, March 2023

The US Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) and the India Electronics and Semiconductor Association (IESA) decided to form a private sector task force to strengthen bilateral collaboration in the global semiconductor ecosystem. A memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on establishing semiconductor supply chain and innovation partnership under the framework of the India– US Commercial Dialogue.

11. India and Purdue university partnership, May 2023

Purdue is established as a key collaborator with India and the India Semiconductor Mission (ISM) in skilled workforce development and joint research and innovation in the burgeoning fields of semiconductors and microelectronics.

Purdue signed the agreement Tuesday (May 9) with the leadership of the India Semiconductor Mission in the presence of Honorable Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, who is in charge of Railways, Communications, Electronics and Information Technology in India and also oversees the country’s semiconductors program.

12. Foxconn-Vedanta fiasco

Foxconn is reportedly approaching prominent Indian business houses to forge partnerships and advance its semiconductor manufacturing goals in India. Sources indicate that the year-old joint venture between Foxconn and the Vedanta Group may be encountering difficulties due to disagreements between the two partners. A senior Indian government official informed that the government has advised Foxconn to consider collaborating with a different partner.

Foxconn has reportedly communicated to the Indian government that it hopes to establish four to five semiconductor fabrication lines in India.

Foxconn is now reportedly engaged in discussions with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) and Japan’s TMH Group to form new partnerships in order to establish semiconductor fabrication units in India.

Read More:7 Step Guide on How to Use ChatGPT in Excel or Sheets – techovedas

13. Micron ATMP approval, June 2023

On June 20, 2023 the Indian cabinet has given its approval to Micron’s US$2.7 billion investment plan to set up a semiconductor ATMP unit in Gujarat, the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The government’s approval came in just ahead of Modi’s first official state visit to the US.

ATMPAssembly, Testing, Marking, and Packaging

Micron’s new facility will enable assembly and test manufacturing for both DRAM and NAND products and address demand from domestic and international markets. Phased construction of the new assembly and test facility in Gujarat is expected to begin in 2023. Phase 1, which will include 500,000 square feet of planned cleanroom space, will start to become operational in late 2024.

14. India Japan MoU, July 2023

On July 20, Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw announced collaboration between India and Japan in semiconductors.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) spans five areas: semiconductor design, manufacturing, equipment research, talent development, and supply chain resilience.

This joint mechanism aims to enhance cooperation and drive advancements in semiconductor technology.

It reflects the shared commitment of India and Japan towards fostering innovation and strengthening bilateral ties.

The collaboration holds the potential to bolster both nations’ semiconductor industries and contribute to global technological progress.

Japan’s semiconductor manufacturer, Rapidus Corporation, headquartered in Tokyo, will be an important part of the India-Japan MoU, Vaishnaw said

15. Odisha Semiconductor policy, July 2023

The Odisha Cabinet gave its approval on July 21 for the proposed Odisha Semiconductor Manufacturing & Fabless Policy.

Under Odisha’s semiconductor policy, attractive incentives of 25% will be provided for Silicon, Compound, Display & Advanced Technology Manufacturing Plants (ATMP).

This is in addition to the Government of India’s 50% incentive. These incentives aim to bolster semiconductor manufacturing in the region.

Fabless product/IP companies will also benefit from a substantial 20% incentive. Moreover, the state of Odisha will extend support to 25 undergraduate and 25 postgraduate institutes.

aiding them in research and development initiatives as well as capacity building.

16. Semicon India 2023 happens, Feb 2023

A 6-day event (July 25-30), called Semicon India 2023, focused on semiconductors, was held in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. Semicon India 2023 will witness representation from twenty-three countries, along with Indian states, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat. Notable academic institutions such as Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, IIT Madras, BITS Pilani, Ganpat University, and Nirma University will also be present.

17. C-DAC announces the ChipIN center, Feb 2023

Union Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) Rajeev Chandrasekhar on Friday (24 February 2023) announced the launch of the ChipIN centre at C-DAC Bengaluru.

The facility will act as one stop centre to provide semiconductor design tools, fab access, virtual prototyping hardware lab access to fabless chip designers of the country.

18. AMD announces investment plans

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), a major US semiconductor chip design company, has plans to invest up to US$400 million in India over the next five years, per its Chief Technology Officer Mark Papermaster. AMD aims to establish its largest design facility in Bengaluru, expanding its office presence to 10 locations in the country. With already over 6,500 employees in India, the new campus is expected to create around 3,000 additional engineering roles by the end of 2028.

November 2023

AMD inaugurated its largest global design center, the Technostar research and development campus, on November 28, in Bengaluru, as part of a US$400 million investment over the next five years in India. The investment had previously been announced at the Semicon India 2023.

20. Sahasra Semiconductor announces initiatives

Rajasthan-based Sahasra Semiconductor, which is part of India’s Scheme for Promotion of Manufacturing of Electronic Components and Semiconductors (SPECS), has stated that it will begin the commercial production of the first made-in-India memory chips at its Bhiwadi plant from September or early October 2023.

This is per i ts CEO Varun Manwani as reported in the Financial Express. The company intends to package basic memory products like MicroSD cards and chip-on-board, to be followed by advanced packaging of products like internal memory chips. Sahasra gets a 25 percent financial incentive on capital expenditure under SPECS.

21. Indian govt announces GPU cluster under IndiaAI program, Sept 2023

The government is planning for a Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) cluster as part of India. AI program to support the growth of startups focused on training artificial intelligence models within India. Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar told industry stakeholders on September 22.

The government intends to provide support to both domestic startups and foreign companies that are interested in fostering indigenous intellectual property related to chip design for AI applications.

22. India signs MoU with the EU, November 2024

India’s Ministry of External Affairs stated in a press release on November 24. An MoU had been reached between India and the EU on semiconductors, ahead of the virtual India – EU Trade and Technology Council meeting.

The press released explained: “The MoU, aims at increasing resilience of semi-conductors value chain in India . EU and covers cooperation in wide areas covering research and innovation, talent development, partnerships and exchange of market information.”

23. Digital India FutureLABS summit 2024

The Digital India Future Labs Summit was an event aimed at moving up the value-chain and fortifying domestic R&D by creating a collaborative ecosystem for developing IPs, Standards, and catalyzing the next-generation Electronics System Design ecosystem in the country.

 During the Summit, 22 Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) were announced between C-DAC and industry partners for the implementation of the FutureLABS. The FutureLABS, with C-DAC as the nodal agency, will concentrate on sectors like Automotive, Mobility, Compute, Communication, Strategic Electronics, and Industrial IoT. It will facilitate collaboration between startups, MNCs, R&D institutions, and academia to jointly develop systems, standards, and IP cores.

Samsung Semiconductor India Research (SSIR) inaugurated its semiconductor R&D facility in India at Bengaluru (Feb 2024)

24. IBM and C-DAC to accelerate India’s capabilities for High Performance Computing

IBM and the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), an autonomous scientific society of MeitY, today entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on March 5 2024, to collaborate on the creation of a joint working group to accelerate High Performance Computing (HPC) in India. This collaboration is intended to spur and support the growth of India’s developer community. This has a focus on processor design, system design, firmware, and application development, including contributions to open-source initiatives.

As part of this MoU, both parties will promote IBM’s Power processor for HPC applications across Indian start-ups, MSMEs, research organizations, and academic institutions. 

25. India Approves 3 Semiconductor Units, February 2024

Aligning with an aim to strengthen the semiconductor facilities in India. Hon’ble Prime Minister will lay down the foundation stone of the three Semiconductor facilities on 13th March 2024 making a big leap in India’s Semiconductor Journey. These three semiconductor facilities are:

  1. India’s First semiconductor fabrication facility by Tata Electronics in partnership with PSMC Taiwan, in Dholera, Gujarat
  2. Outsourced Semiconductor Assembly and Test facility in Sanand, Gujarat set up by CG Power, in partnership with Renesas Electronics, Japan
  3. Tata Semiconductor Assembly and Test Plant in Morigaon, Assam with an outlay of 27000 crores.

Read in detail India Approves 3 Semiconductor Units With Rs 1.26 Lakh Crore Investment – techovedas

Conclusion

India’s semiconductor journey towards self-reliance has been remarkable. With initiatives like the Semiconductor PLI scheme, Semicon India Program, and partnerships with global players. India is positioning itself as a key player in the semiconductor industry.

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