Yet another plan for semicon fabs in India?


Interesting! I am a bit surprised to read the news item that India is planning to build its own commercial semiconductor fabs, worth Rs. 25,000 crores or $5 billion.

One of the lines in the release by the PIB, Government of India, states that the electronics hardware sector is capital intensive and facing several disabilities and barriers Therefore, the proposal will have significant impact in resolving these issues and help Indian electronics hardware industry to develop localized content/value addition.

Hasn’t this line been repeated time and again? And, what has been the result? Let’s hope that India does not forget the mistakes committed during the initial semicon policy or SIPS.

Coming back to the PIB release, it is stated that the Empowered Committee shall submit its recommendations to the Government by 31.7.2011.  Why does the Committee need so much time? Hasn’t pages and pages been written about India’s semicon policy? I wonder whether folks have even looked into all of this properly!

Next, the timing itself! In a post last April, I had mentioned that  the Indian semiconductor policy, which was announced back in 2007, had supposedly expired on March 31, 2010! What have the so-called industry caretakers been doing up until now? One does not plan to release a revised policy more than a year post its expiry! It should be immediate!!

It was also proposed to extend the deadline of India’s semicon policy up to March 2015! Whatever happened to that?

Where will the proposed semiconductor fab or fabs be set up? At FabCity in Hyderabad? I don’t think so!

One good thing to come out of all this — there is still some hope for having a fab in India. I am using the word ‘hope’ as there are many, including myself, who feel that all of this is perhaps, a wee bit late call!

As of now, India could possibly look globally for any fab or fabs to buy out! It simply does not have the time to build one!  By the time this Committee comes out with its responses by end July 2011, it will be too late. Here’s why!

Let’s say that some folks could actually invest money to build a fab. This will be followed by trying to find a land, and then, possible investors. By the time all of this happens, it will be a good 12-18 months, or possibly, 2013. Next, what’s going to be the nature of the fab that India builds? Is it 200nm, or 300nm, or 28nm? How much would a state-of-the-art fab actually cost? Has any study been done of where the global industry would be by the time a semicon fab start in India?

These, and many more such questions need to answered.

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  1. AN Kishan Kona
    April 22, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Hi,

    I think that the government has to do lot in this direction. Because kind of infrastructure requires for fab is huge, starting from water supply, electricity, logistics, etc. Apart from the above kind of skills we have, we need to have semiskilled, skilled persons. Domain specific diplomas need to be introduced.

    As we are aware, the kind of research put out in India as compared to China is less. But definitely, if we can catch up it provides a huge employment opportunity to India. Because agriculture dependancy is reducing, the government can provide good opportunities to next generation if we set up fab at the earliest.

    Regards.

  2. Deepak Vardey
    April 22, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    It’s important to note that India’s electronics imports will be higher than oil imports by 2020. The government is now looking it from new perspective to rely too much on imports to build internal capabilities, and also GDP, employment and other parameters. But, the government will have to take very strong steps as to what the future looks like for electronics dependency. Never too late for India.

  3. April 22, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    Thanks Kishan and Deepak.

    Let’s all hope that India gets a semicon fab at the earliest. As it is, way too much time has been wasted. Cheers! ;)

  4. Vikram
    May 14, 2011 at 8:12 am

    “I wonder whether folks have even looked into all of this properly!”. Spot on! In addition to that, these guys never worked in semiconductor fab. With 5 billion USD, one can buy 10-15 200mm fab globally. If at the same time, if this money is given to any govt organization – including ISRO, DRDO, etc., to make fab and run it, first, it will take them five years to make and bring fab up with yield and reliability. Secondly, they will be back within five years with losses and begging.

    • May 14, 2011 at 2:50 pm

      That’s an accurate assessment, Vikram. The time lost so far — no one is even looking at that! It seems more of an agenda that India must have a fab. Well, at what and who’s cost?

  5. Extras.co
    June 30, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    Great post! Keep doing post like this, very informative and have helpful information. Keep up the good work!

  6. Jeff Milner
    July 28, 2011 at 10:10 am

    Yeah, I agree the government must do the right thing. On other hand, it will give more jobs to many people.

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