Anand Parthasarathy

HYDERABAD: 'The critical mass for the Indian semiconductor industry has been reached. The time is now and the place is Hyderabad', said Prithiviraj Chavan, Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, on the concluding day of the Indian Semiconductor Association's Vision Summit, here. The long awaited national semiconductor manufacturing policy is expected to be released before the union budget later this month and it would offer direct subsidies for qualifying players, over and above the incentives that special economic zones or state governments might offer, he added. He lauded the Andhra Pradesh Government initiative to set up India's first Fab City: `We are moving from fab-less to fabulous' he quipped.

Mr. Chavan was releasing on Tuesday the first ever study on India's competitiveness in the global semiconductor design business, carried out for ISA by Ernst &Young (E&Y). The study compares India with seven other destinations: Canada, China, Czech Republic, Israel, Taiwan, the U.K. and the U.S. Announcing the highlights, E&Y's Sunil Shenoy said India came out number one in the availability and scalability of talent but only fourth when it came to quality. There was also need to demonstrate the Intellectual Property regime in action India had one of the lowest number of IPR registrations among the countries investigated.

Overall the study found India `well poised to play a leading role in the semiconductor design ecosystem.'

SCL revival

In a related development, the Union Government has decided to revive the moribund Semiconductors Complex Ltd., the first and only silicon fabrication attempt in the country. It is being relaunched as Semiconductor Lab, a society under the Atomic Energy department, Mr. Chavan revealed. It will concentrate on the manufacture of chips for strategic requirements in defence, space and atomic energy, working in the 190 nanometre space.