India to turn hub for chip fab, design in five years: Vaishnaw

India to turn hub for chip fab, design in five years: Vaishnaw

New Delhi: India is set to emerge as a design and manufacturing hub for semiconductors in the next five years, said Ashwini Vaishnaw, the Union minister for electronics and information technology, in a conversation with Hindustan Times editor-in-chief R. Sukumar during a virtual session that kick-started the 21st edition of the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit on Tuesday.

India, Vaishnaw argued, has three core strengths that will power its growth in this sector.

“When we look at our strengths and capabilities, the biggest strength is design. The second strength we have is clean power, green power. The third strength is the ability to handle very complex liquids and chemicals. These are three large strengths which place us in a sweet spot, where we can become a player which is designing and manufacturing chips,” Vaishnaw said.

Vaishnaw also expects the global semiconductor market to double in the next 6-7 years to over a trillion dollars in value. The minister also announced plans to skill 80,000 people with the talent required to grow India’s position in the semiconductor ecosystem.

Vaishnaw also stated that India will see at least two large fab facilities providing “world-class technology” for India’s economy.

The minister also pointed to the ongoing construction of a facility by US-based Micron as an example of the speed at which India’s semiconductor ecosystem has developed.

He also revealed that India’s homegrown 4G and 5G stack had been developed and will be launched around Diwali.

By the next Diwali, Vaishnaw expects India to become an exporter of telecom technology. India already exports technology equipment to 70 countries, he said.

The minister stressed the turnaround in the sector over the last decade.

“The industry was bleeding. There was continuous litigation. The scenario was such that nobody would like to touch the telecom sector. Today, telecom has become a sunrise industry,” Vaishnaw said.

Ashwini Vaishnaw, who also serves as railway minister, stressed the importance of India’s high-speed railway networks to creating a large economy.

The senior minister also cited the example of Japan to underscore how a high speed railway network provides a multiplier effect on economic growth.

“So when we develop the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed corridor, and in future there will be many more such corridors, what we are doing, in essence, is we are connecting Mumbai, Thane, Vapi, Baroda, Ahmedabad, Surat, Anand — all these large economies, which are very vibrant and rapidly growing, they all become one large economy,” he added.

The minister also revealed that the railways was creating a new concept of refurbishing old coaches, that can run at higher speeds, provide more comfort to passengers, and be used for their full life of 35 years, instead of discarding it midway.

Vaishnaw also spoke of plans to divert a significant chunk of cargo, at least 3000 million tons, to railways in an effort to reduce the need for trucks. This will also have the knock-on effect of reducing India’s dependence on the Middle East for diesel, Vaishnaw said.

“There’s a strategic thinking on shifting cargo to rail to reduce energy consumption and achieve energy independence,” he said.

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Updated: 31 Oct 2023, 10:22 PM IST

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Author: Shirley