Rajeev Chandrasekhar: India begins chip journey in just 15 months: MoS IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar

In just 15 months’ time, India has seen the construction of its first-ever semiconductor plant, received more manufacturing proposals along with 8 chip designing startups now operational in the country, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Union Minister of State for Electronics and IT, said on Monday.

Speaking to IANS, the Minister said that semiconductor manufacturing — which is at the frontier of engineering and science/technology and a very high-level area — opportunities in the country are now immense and investments in this field will go to states that respond fast while creating an enabling environment, infrastructure and policies.

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Giving an example of mobile manufacturing, he said that in 2014, the country had zero mobile export and today, we are exporting Apple and Samsung smartphones’ worth Rs 1 lakh crore.

“The sheer transformation in the electronics sector is the reason our Prime Minister Narendra Modi believes in India becoming a semiconductor nation,” said Chandrasekhar.

In 2014, the country used to import 82 per cent mobile phones and now, 100 per cent smartphones are being manufactured/assembled here.

“Similarly, in the near future, we will see more positive data on semiconductors as we begin the journey with the Micron plant. I have no doubt that the state-of-the-art plant in Sanand, Gujarat, will become a beacon to all investors, manufacturers and participants in the global semiconductor ecosystem,” Chandrasekhar told IANS.

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The chip for ISRO-created GPS navigation system called NavIC — now part of Apple iPhone 15 Pro series — has been designed by Bengaluru-based Accord Software and Systems. They’ve built more than a million NAVIC IC chips using advanced 28-nanometer technology.

The government will soon make it a “standard practice that all devices using GPS technology should have NAVIC-powered chipsets or NAVIC chips inside”.

“When you look at the IT PLI scheme this time, it includes incentives for system designers and manufacturers who incorporate Indian-designed chips into their products,” said Chandrasekhar.

The first India-made chip from the Rs 22,500 crore Micron plant is likely to arrive in December 2024.

The Assembly, Test, Marking and Packaging (ATMP) of the company is being set up on 93 acres in Sanand GIDC-II industrial estate and is expected to be commissioned within 18 months.

The facility will focus on transforming wafers into Ball Grid Array (BGA) – integrated circuit packages, memory modules and solid-state drives.

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