‘Long wait’ for Indian semiconductor industry?

April 12, 2011

I still don’t quite understand the submission made by the IT Taskforce on recommendations for the Indian hardware and electronics manufacturing! The first proposal was submitted by this Taskforce, back in Nov. 2009! Now, a leading daily comes out with a report about a new prescription to boost electronics manufacturing. What is all this?

By itself, isn’t this a ‘long wait’ for the Indian semiconductor and electronics industries?

I repeat: Have we really done enough, even in  the past, to even boost electronics hardware manufacturing in the country? If yes, then where are the mini Hsinchus and Shenzhens within India? N. Vittal had said something similar (such as developing mini Hong Kongs and Singapores) some years ago, but that seems ages ago, now!

Back in April 2010, I had written a post titled: Did you know that the Indian semicon policy had expired and now requires an extension? The next thing one heard was in July 2010: Indian industry proposes to extend deadline of India’s semicon policy up to March 2015!

What is really happening with the Indian semiconductor industry? First up, the semiconductor indusrty is NOT the IT industry. However, it appears that it is being treated like one!

Did anyone really look into the reason why fabs never happened in round 1 of the SIPS? Perhaps, not! I had asked a question, back in Feb. 2009: The Indian silicon wafer fab story seems dead and buried. Should we revive it?

Lest I be repetitive, and boring, I had suggested a 10-point program for the Karnataka semicon policy — in another blog post — on June 29, 2008. The points were:

1. A long-term semiconductor policy running 20-25 years or so.
2. Core team of top Indian leaders from Indian firms and MNCs, as well as technology institutes in Karnataka to oversee policy implementation.
3. Incentives such as government support, including stake in investments, and tax holidays.
4. Strong infrastructure availability and management.
5. Focus on having solar/PV fabs in the state.
6. Consider having 150/180/200mm fabs that tackle local problems via indigenous applications.
7. Develop companies in the assembly testing, verification and packaging (ATMP) space.
8. Attract companies in fields such as RFID, to address local problems and develop local applications.
9. Pursue companies in PDP, OLED/LED space to set up manufacturing units.
10. Promote and set up more fabless units.

All that one needs to do is to simply extend this all across India, rather than waste time in devising policies that have either expired, or well, take ages to see the light of the day! We should also refrain from discussing wafer fabs for now, and focus on fabless. Although, if we do attract and develop a local fab, that would be great for India!

Wonder, whether anyone in India is even listening!

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  1. Dr. MP Divakar
    April 12, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Pradeep, at least some of us not physically located in India, are listening!

    When I say the 10 points you made in 2008 are still valid today, it really makes me very disappointed, because NOTHING has happened in that direction since 2008! In the meanwhile, much more maturity has been witnessed in the RFID market while our contribution in the development side has been pitiful – we largely remain as consumers of the technology. While it is true many tags are being made/printed in India, none of the equipment & conductive ink makers are from India.

    The point you make about smearing semiconductor/electronic hardware technology in general with IT industry is quite valid. I get blank stares at Bangalore airport when I tell them I neither work in IT/BT! When we have such people in policy-making positions, what can you expect?

    Any updates on the compound semi / OLED effort that was talked about last year at this time?

    Dr. MP Divakar

  2. Natti
    April 13, 2011 at 5:19 am

    Hello Pradeep,

    If we can set up OLED manufacturing units in India it would be a wonderful business proposition. The possibility with this material is amazing and having local vendors can help various products come out of India at a low cost.

  3. Meenu Sarin
    July 18, 2011 at 9:31 am

    My take………. Setting up fabs has been a point/initiative that keeps popping in and out in the Indian semicon landscape; and has been happening ever since India’s main fab (SCL) in Mohali had a major fire in late ‘80s! (incidentally STMicro and IME/S’pore owe a lot to that as the SCL employees moved to these and other pastures following the fire!)…

    Cheers, Meenu

  4. July 18, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    Thanks everyone, for the comments! Let’s see what India does — if it does, at all! ;)

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