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India's foundry policy attracts applicants

Posted: 20 Dec 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:India? semiconductor and electronics manufacturing policy? Titan Energy Systems?

India's semiconductor and electronics manufacturing policy has attracted applicants. Three firms have formally applied, while more than a dozen other firms have made enquiries, a government official has said.

Of the three that have applied, indigenous storage device manufacturer Moser Baer plans to manufacture solar photovoltaic cells and modules, while Titan Energy Systems plans to start with solar cells and modules and later on, get into the manufacture of wafers and poly-silicon.

The third applicant, Videocon Industries Ltd, proposes to set up a unit to manufacture LCD panels, and the investments planned by the three companies is about $5 billion, the official said. Investments of such a scale to manufacture any kind of electronics and related items are unprecedented in Indian industrial history, though, strangely enough, none of the companies that have announced plans to manufacture semiconductors in the country figure on the list so far.

According to a report in The Hindu Business Line from New Delhi, the enquiries have come from some of the biggest industrial houses in India, such as the Tata Group, Reliance Industries and others such as Suzlon Energy and Solar Semiconductor.

"The response to the semiconductor policy has been positive, and although it is still early days, applications by the various players and the interest generated is heartening. The policy, along with the Information Technology ministry's initiatives on hardware manufacturing and Information Technology Investment Regions will provide the necessary impetus," the report quoted M. Madhavan Nambiar, additional secretary of the federal Department of Information Technology.

All the investment proposals are to be evaluated by an appraisal committee set up by the ministry and headed by Nambiar. The concessions and subsidies are to be offered on a first-come first-served basis and only the first two or three applications that are cleared will be eligible for the various benefits on offer, the government has previously said.

The federal government had announced a capital subsidy for investors setting up semiconductor manufacturing units of an incentive of 20 percent of the capital expenditure during the first 10 years for those manufacturing plants that come up in the special economic zones and 25 percent of the capital expenditure for those located in non-SEZ regions.

In order to encourage local manufacturing of high technology electronics, the federal government announced in February benefits for companies that intend to set up facilities to manufacture plasma display panels, liquid crystal displays, organic light emitting diodes, photovoltaic cells, storage devices, solar cells and micro and nanotechnology products, including the assembly and testing of these products. The guidelines to apply for benefits under the policy were however announced only three months ago.

- K.C. Krishnadas
EE Times

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