In Davos on January 18th, the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting 2024 convened, featuring a panel discussion titled “The Battle for Chips,” where Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw took center stage as an invited participant.
Other members in the panel were Chris Miller, author of the book ‘Chip War’ Micky Ariaansens Minister for Economic affairs and climate policy, Netherlands; Arati Prabhakar, Director, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Vaishaw gave the best overview of what’s India been doing in the last 3 years for semiconductor manufacturing.
Additionally, a groundbreaking announcement, Ashwini Vaishnaw declared that India will launch its first domestically produced chip by December, signaling a momentous achievement in the nation’s quest to emerge as a global semiconductor hub.
Vaishnaw credited Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his visionary leadership and the swift development of a robust semiconductor industry within a remarkably short span.
1. How the semiconductor policy journey began
The journey began in January 2022 when Prime Minister Modi launched a semiconductor policy that aimed to create a comprehensive ecosystem for the industry. Moreover,the ambitious plan focused on talent development, forging collaborations with universities, and promoting design capabilities through strategic investment schemes.
Minister Vaishnaw emphasized the government’s proactive measures, stating, “We have already established MoUs with 104 universities, where we are currently revising their course curriculum, placing a strong emphasis on design, and implementing a separate investment scheme.”
2. Unique aspects of India’s semiconductor policy
What sets India’s semiconductor policy apart, as per Vaishnaw, is the emphasis on a long-term vision. He explained that India’s approach transcends short-sightedness, as seen in the case of defence manufacturing, infrastructure investment, and sectoral reforms.
The government’s commitment to thinking decades ahead has garnered appreciation from industry leaders worldwide.
One of the prime examples of this foresight is the Macron facility, a semiconductor manufacturing unit that is rapidly progressing towards producing the first made-in-India chip.
The agreement for the facility was signed in June 2023, construction began in September 2023, and the chip is expected to be unveiled in December 2024.
Vaishnaw pointed out, “All manufacturing CEOs, investment bankers, and semiconductor business heads are acknowledging these factors here at Davos and are saying that India has developed a very strong semiconductor industry.”
4. Global recognition of India’s Semiconductor Mission
India’s emergence as a semiconductor destination has not gone unnoticed on the global stage. Minister Vaishnaw expressed confidence in attracting two to three major semiconductor investments in the country.
“In the coming few months, immediately post elections — we can see maybe two to three major new projects”
He credited India’s handling of the Micron investment for inspiring confidence among global players, and he highlighted the interest shown by industry giants like Applied Materials and AMD as further strengthening India’s image.
However, Vaishnaw acknowledged that while India has excelled in semiconductor design, manufacturing is a new frontier. Additionally,he emphasized that the world is closely watching how India navigates this new industry, underscoring the significance of PM Modi’s 20-year time frame and the substantial focus on building a comprehensive semiconductor ecosystem.
The Minister’s insights provide a glimpse into India’s burgeoning semiconductor market and the government’s proactive measures to position the country as a global semiconductor powerhouse.
Let’s delve deeper into the key aspects that make India’s semiconductor story compelling.
5. India, a Global Contender in the Making
India’s foray into semiconductor manufacturing is set to reshape the global landscape. Furthermore, the strategic emphasis on talent development, academic collaborations, and design capabilities positions India as a hub for innovation and production.
The Micron facility’s rapid progress serves as a testament to India’s commitment to meeting international standards and timelines.
6. Government Initiatives
PM Modi’s long-term vision for the semiconductor industry is a differentiator. Unlike previous administrations, the current government’s clarity of purpose, or ‘niti’ and ‘neeyat,’ is driving transformative policies. The semiconductor policy, launched in 2022, reflects a comprehensive understanding of the industry’s intricacies, fostering an environment conducive to growth and sustainability.
7. Global Confidence: Micron, Applied Materials, and AMD
The successful handling of the Micron investment has instilled confidence among global players. Applied Materials and AMD’s interest in India further solidifies its position as an attractive destination for semiconductor investments.
The global acknowledgment at Davos underscores that India is not just catching up. It is also emerging as a frontrunner in the semiconductor race.
8. Semicon 2023
Semicon India 2023 was an exhibition that took place in Gandhinagar, Gujarat from July 28–30, 2023. Additionally,the exhibition’s brought together global leaders from industry, academia, and research institutions to showcase India’s semiconductor strategy and policy.
One of the most monumental announcements was the setup of the “India Semiconductor Research Centre (ISRC)” an institution intended to be a collaborative effort involving both public and private partnerships. ISRC has numerous overseas and academic institutions, global semiconductor companies, Indian enterprises, and the government as the main contributors.
In conclusion, India’s semiconductor journey, as outlined by Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, is a testament to visionary leadership, strategic planning, and a commitment to long-term success. The stage is set for India to not only meet domestic demand but to emerge as a significant player in the global semiconductor market.