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Business News/ Technology / News/  Intel lauds chip policy; govt extends an invite
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Intel lauds chip policy; govt extends an invite

A top executive of Intel lauded the ₹76,000 crore scheme for chip making

While comments by Randhir Thakur, SVP at Intel, are being interpreted as an expression of interest for manufacturing in India, Intel said it has no such plan as of now.Premium
While comments by Randhir Thakur, SVP at Intel, are being interpreted as an expression of interest for manufacturing in India, Intel said it has no such plan as of now.

NEW DELHI : The government’s warm response to a social media post of a senior Intel Corp. executive lauding India’s new semiconductor policy is being viewed as a sign that the world’s largest chipmaker is exploring the idea of setting up a fab or at least an assembly, testing, marking, and packing (ATMP) unit in the country.

On Tuesday, Randhir Thakur, senior vice-president at Intel, who is also president of Intel Foundry Services, lauded the 76,000 crore incentive scheme for semiconductor design and manufacturing in India, a proposal that was approved by the Union cabinet on 15 December.

“Congrats to @GoI_MeitY @AshwiniVaishnaw @Rajeev_GoI for Semiconductor design & manufacturing incentives for India as a hub for electronics & semiconductors. Glad to see a plan laid out for all aspects of the supply chain: talent, design, manufacturing, test, packaging & logistics," Thakur said on Twitter. Ashwini Vaishnaw, minister of communications, electronics and information technology, responded, “Intel, welcome to India."

While Thakur’s comments are being interpreted as an expression of interest for manufacturing in India, Intel said it has no such plan—at least for now.

In response to an email query, an Intel spokesperson said, “Intel India is Intel’s largest design centre outside of the US, and we have been investing towards accelerating innovation and design engineering in India over the last two decades. However, we have no new plan to announce at this time."

Thakur reports to Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger. He has also been inducted as a board member of Tata Electronics, a Tata group company planning to venture into semiconductor manufacturing. The Tata group set aside up to $300 million to build a semiconductor ATMP unit in India and has been in talks with several states to set up the plant, Reuters reported recently. Thakur took up a board position at Tata Electronics in August while continuing in his existing role at Intel, Mint recently reported.

Tata Electronics did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

"I think the minister's tweet has been misinterpreted. While Intel has praised the government's incentive package, the government's asking them to come to India," said Rajeev Chandrasekhar, minister of state for electronics and information technology.

"After the government's semiconductor policy and package announcement, there has been 100% significant interest from major global players in semiconductor manufacturing, design, testing, packaging as well as research.  Therefore, all major players—and there are a handful of them in the semiconductor space—are actively looking at India and much more seriously than before. Our policy and package are a clear signal to the world that India is ready and has the ambition to become a significant player in the space," Chandrasekhar said.

"Setting up a semiconductor fab is the most complex manufacturing process and it will take painstaking work from both government as well as interested companies to take it forward. It is clear that there is significant interest in all the areas, including design, compound semiconductors, silicon semiconductors, testing and packaging, but some will take a longer lead time than others and some will be rolled out much quicker. So, design, compound semiconductors, silicon semiconductors, testing and packaging, et al will take shorter lead times," he added. 

Industry analysts believe the tweet by Intel was purposeful.

“Intel is a very important player in the entire semiconductor value chain, and the government’s announcement is a promising move. So not just Intel, other players will be looking forward to it. A strong semiconductor ecosystem will push the overall Make in India programme," said Tarun Pathak, research director at Counterpoint, a market researcher.

Intel has manufacturing plants in several countries; so, if they want to shift some portion of it to India, they would have to see what advantage they will get, according to Jaipal Singh, research manager, client devices at IDC India. “Earlier, there was no incentive from the government, which is happening now. We will see these companies initiate some of the foundry business to India. We also need to keep in mind that the foundry business is very capital intensive and requires a long-term sustainable plan to shift it to another country," he said.

India aims to build more than 20 units for semiconductor designing and manufacturing in the next six years and will train 85,000 semiconductor engineers.

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Abhijit Ahaskar
Abhijit writes on tech policy, gaming, security, AI, robotics, electronics and startups. He has been in the media industry for over 12 years.
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Published: 28 Dec 2021, 10:29 PM IST
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