Semiconductor: Sop evaluations are still in progress, the ministry tells the semiconductor applicant

The government is still ‘evaluating’ applications seeking capital incentives to set up semiconductor manufacturing units, reported ISMC Analog, a consortium of Israeli technology firm Tower Semiconductor and Gulf-based Next Orbit Ventures.

He was referring to a $10 billion stimulus plan for semiconductors announced in December 2021.

The government has also asked ISMC to “provide additional information” about the project plan, sources familiar with the development told ET.

The response, from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, came after the consortium wrote to the government urging it to speed up the stimulus approvals needed to start building a plant by the end of this year.

ET reported last month that ISMC had requested assurances from the department that it would “honor its words” about offering approval for the incentives.

However, the response from the Ministry of Information Technology fell short of providing a timetable for approvals.

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We have requested some additional details from all applicants and hope to receive them by the end of this month. “It will take some time to examine that information, and then hopefully we can start announcing the incentives,” a senior government official said.

ISMC Analog is among the three applicants who have proposed setting up semiconductor fab units in the country.

The consortium has proposed a $3 billion analog plant with Tower Semiconductor, which was acquired by US multinational Intel in February.

“By having conversations with the ministry, we hope that the approvals will begin to emerge by October,” an industry representative familiar with the exchange between ISMC and the government told ET.

On whether the acquisition will have a ripple effect on Tower’s partnership with the plant in India, an Intel spokesperson said: “Until the deal is closed, Intel and Tower continue to run their businesses independently, and therefore, we are not in a position to comment on the tower’s plans.”

ISMC is not the only one urging the ministry to move faster.

Singapore-based IGSS Ventures also said earlier that investors had become “cautious and impatient”. IGSS suggested Rs 25,000 Fab in Tamil Nadu.

It has been nine months since the day the stimulus policy was announced. Ideally, the department should have taken a “first ready, qualified, approval first” approach, Aaron Mambazi, an expert in the semiconductor industry, told ET.

In February, the center put the names of the three applicants under Semicon’s stimulus to establish semiconductor factories, reviving a 2012 attempt to seed the nation’s import-dependent semiconductor ecosystem for electronic building blocks.

Capital incentives from the center alone can account for up to 50% of the project cost in some nodes.

With states also overlapping, the fab’s proposals for semiconductors contain a large portion of government-backed incentives in their capital schedule.

The FAB’s proposals led to a race between countries seeking to attract mega investment projects.

On Tuesday, the Vedanta-Foxconn consortium said it had chosen Gujarat for the proposed semiconductor plant.

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