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Vedanta Resources Ltd chairman Anil Agarwal on Saturday said his company would do a bigger investment in a downstream facility in Maharastra that would become a big part of the company’s forward integration plan.

The company in September announced a $20-billion ( 1.54 trillion) investment plan for its chip and display facility in Gujarat. The investment plan while being welcomed to transform the semiconductor manufacturing in the country also drew controversy over the investment not coming in Maharastra that first proposed to facilitate such investment.

Mint first reported Vedanta's plan for a second unit in September when the company announced its chip manufacturing in Gujarat.

On the recent controversy between Maharashtra and Gujarat over the Foxconn semiconductor plant, Vedanta Resources Chairman Anil Agarwal said that the group is fully committed to investing in Maharashtra as well.

“Maharashtra will set up one of the largest downstream which will be bigger than Gujarat. This will happen," Agarwal told Sruthijith KK, editor-in-chief, Mint at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit on Saturday.

Speaking at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit 2022, Anil Agarwal said, "We will soon create a hub where Maharashtra will be part of our forward integration." He added that as the project progresses, new doors will open.

He however warned against the politicisation of the issue. "Please don't make it a political issue. India is one and let us make the raw material. "Kuan khudega toh paani sabko milega" (When a well is dug, everyone will get water)", he added.

On government backing on semiconductor project, Agarwal added "after the 5-6 years when the production comes, more than 70 billion dollars return to government of India."

Sharing the details about the mega semiconductor project with Foxconn, Vedanta's boss said that the project aims to create a complete ecosystem by making fundamental raw materials and each state will be able to make its smartphones, TVs.

Agarwal further said that a complete ecosystem has to be created. “We are just making fundamental raw materials," he stated.

“Smartphones, EVs, all these things need to come at an affordable price. A complete ecosystem has to be created. We are just making fundamental raw materials. If we get the fundamental product, then each state will be able to design their own products according to their needs," Agarwal said.

Talking about the timeline of the opening of the semiconductor chip plant, Agarwal said that proven technologies like automobile technology and some of the chips required for laptops will be provided within two years of laying the foundation stone.

On his collaboration with Foxconn and US, the Vedanta chief said, “It has been told in black and white that we do not want to deal with China, and the preferred place is India".

Agrawal mentioned that “$73 out of $100 goes into importing products" and the “world wants that India remains a market and not a manufacturer."

When asked about what changes he has seen in terms of desire to facilitate business, bring in industry, and chase for complex projects like these, Agrawal said, "The trust deficit has narrowed."

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has gained more popularity among the people of the country due to the trust he built during the Covid-19 pandemic, Vedanta chairman said.

Agarwal added that artificial intelligence (AI) and digital technologies are the need of the hour while talking about the overall impact on the electronics manufacturing ecosystem. Citing a report, he said 50% of the businesses that do not involve digital technologies will shut down.

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