US memory chip manufacturer Micron Technology has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Gujarat government, seen as an important step for the Indian semiconductor industry.
Micron, which signed the MoU to build a $2.75 billion semiconductor assembly and testing plant, had announced last week that it plans to hire 5,000 workers and create 15,000 additional jobs over the next five years. create in the community.
Along with the details of Micron’s plans, two other major semiconductor announcements were made related to Applied Materials and Lam Research. But Micron’s MoU signing with the state government is now seen as the first step towards producing Atmanirbhar memory chips.
India has been waiting a long time to witness this milestone. It started with Semiconductor Complex Limited (SCL) – the state foundry for semiconductor manufacturing in Mohali since 1976.
The SCL was initially successful, producing a number of chips for the Indian market. In 1989, however, a fire broke out in SCL’s factory and destroyed much of the factory.
Although officials from the Intelligence Bureau visited the SCL to investigate the cause of the terrible incident, no clear information was released about the cause of the fire.
The SCL was able to resume production in 1997, but the factory was outdated and could not compete with more efficient fabs (factories) in other countries. Later, in 2006, it was renamed Semi-Conductor Laboratory.
But it’s hard to ignore that the fire was a devastating setback to India’s semiconductor manufacturing effort. Separately, the SCL is believed to have faced a number of bureaucratic hurdles in its history. For example, it was difficult to get approvals for new projects.
In addition, the SCL did not receive the government support it needed. There was also a lack of skilled manpower needed to support a thriving semiconductor industry that needed initiatives to grow the talent pool, unpredictable policy changes, which first came in 2007, and higher taxes on imported semiconductor wafers.
All this made it difficult for SCL to plan for the future, compete with foreign companies and slow down growth. However, SCL is currently doing R&D in microelectronics to achieve the country’s strategic goals.
The government has decided to invest in this facility to modernize it. In May, it was said that the center will invest $2 billion in the SCL for research and prototyping.
However, the need to become a chip hub was felt during the pandemic given the booming demand. The government then launched the India Semiconductor Mission.
Since then, many companies have been in talks with the government and changes have been made to the program, taking into account the demand in each sector. So it is no longer about making advanced chips, even if the Taiwanese TSMC is an undisputed leader in that case.
Now it is believed that nearly half of the semiconductor industry will be about mature nodes, while the rest of the industry will focus on smaller and advanced nodes.
As the center has asked applicants to change and resubmit their plans, the Vedanta-Foxconn JV apparently submitted a new proposal based on the new guidelines for making simpler and less expensive 40-nanometer chips.
While India’s semiconductor dream has taken a long time to become a reality, with the right policies, measures to grow the talent pool and the involvement of private giants, the manufacturing hub objective can be achieved.