Gujarat has made a solid start, with two of five major semiconductor bids parked in the state. However, maintaining the pace will be difficult.

The second Semicon India conference and expo, a six-day event, began on July 25 in Gandhinagar. Following the success of the inaugural edition in Bengaluru, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat claimed the right to host the event because two of the five semiconductor proposals approved by the Union government are located in Gujarat.

Union minister of state for electronics and information technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar said at the exhibition’s inauguration ahead of the main conference that his ministry was poised to revolutionize the semiconductor industry and that the Semicon India event would provide a good understanding of the latest technologies and innovations in chip-making. Around 80 of the world’s leading semiconductor businesses showed their products and advancements in 150 exhibits.

Within months of the central government initiating the Semicon India Programme in December 2021, a joint venture of Vedanta and Foxconn revealed plans to establish a manufacturing facility in Dholera, Gujarat. The statement, made right before the 2022 Gujarat assembly election, promised an investment of Rs 1.54 lakh crore, however the joint venture failed earlier this month.

At the exhibition’s opening, Chandrasekhar stated that Foxconn and Vedanta were currently in talks with the government for two independent factories, and that the real bids were awaited. According to sources, at least one of the two plants, if not both, would be housed in Gujarat because land allocation and other permits have already been obtained.

During PM Modi’s recent visit to the United States, semiconductor giant Micron Technology announced plans to establish a factory in Sanand GIDC on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. The project would not be a production facility, but rather a new testing and assembly facility at $85 million (about Rs 700 crore).

With an investment of Rs 76,000 crore, the central government’s semiconductor manufacturing strategy provides a fiscal incentive of 50% of the project cost for establishing semiconductor fabs of any node in India, as well as similar incentives for establishing display fabs in the country.

Furthermore, Gujarat, the first state in the country to do so last year, has unveiled its own semiconductor policy. The policy of the state provides 40% of the capital expenditure assistance provided by the Centre, a 75% subsidy on the first 200 acres of land purchased, and a 50% subsidy on additional land purchased for semiconductor fab units or affiliated upstream or downstream projects, such as Micron’s testing and assembly unit. Other enticing offers include power tariff subsidies, stamp duty, and electricity duty.

Despite the fact that the Vedanta-Foxconn joint venture is no longer in the running, the state’s intention to establish a Semicon City in the Dholera Special Investment Region remains in place–a prominent highlight of the Semicon India show. Despite the substantial governmental incentives, the first window of attracting ideas for producing the more expensive 28 nm (nanometer) fabs received only three applications in a 45-day window in January 2022. The government has had to raise the incentive packages since then. A second application window, open through December 2024, has broadened the scope for players, encompassing connected activities in addition to the main activity of fab production. Under the revamped system, the government has received 26 applications, five of which have been granted and the others are in various stages of evaluation.

Gujarat’s ambitions to become a Silicon Valley are founded on liberal policies, infrastructure, and a reliable electricity supply from both conventional and renewable sources. What is lacking, though, is the availability of indigenous talent. In reality, the overarching goal of all of these expenditures is to create job opportunities.

Semicon India worked together with educational institutions to plan the conference and expo. The show featured educational institutes including as IIT Bombay, IIT Madras, BITS Pilani, Ganpat University, and Nirma University. The state government stated in a statement, “Enrollment of students in electronic engineering courses has decreased in the last five to six years, but the growth of the semiconductor sector has led to a significant increase in student enrollment in electronic engineering courses during the last year.” The display also features SCL (Semi-Conductor Laboratory), ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation), and Space Applications Centre. According to the release, the event will also showcase 25 start-ups displaying their inventions.

By Deesha

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