India’s Electronics and IT ministry (MeiTY) says that it is aiming to train over 85,000 engineers for chip design, and is expanding a centralized chip design infrastructure to 120 academic institutions across the country in the next five years.
MeiTY is now setting up the chip design infrastructure at the India Chip Centre of the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), an autonomous scientific society of the ministry.
In an official statement, MeitY said the initiative is in line with the ‘Design in India’ vision of the country, and that understanding chip design is a strategic necessity.
MeitY is also partnering with industry vendors from EDA (Electronic Design Automation), Electronic Computer-Aided Design (ECAD), IP Core and design solution providers and fab aggregators, including Synopsys, Cadence Design Systems, Siemens EDA and Silvaco.
The ministry said that it conducted a pilot deployment in 2021 under a special manpower development programme for Chips to System Design (SMDP-C2SD). Under the programme, it enabled a centralized design facility at state-run C-DAC for remote access by over 50,000 engineering students at 60 academic institutions for designing chips.
The government is also getting into specific collaborative arrangements with Synopsys, Cadence Design Systems, Siemens EDA, Silvaco, and other leading tool vendors, IP and design solution providers, and fab aggregators.
US-based chipmaker Qualcomm India is also collaborating with C-DAC to strengthen homegrown semiconductor startups by providing a Semiconductor Mentorship Programme.
“Qualcomm India is committed to help semiconductor design startups capitalize on India’s design and engineering talent to drive innovations that will power the intelligent, connected future we foresee, not only for India but the world,” Rajen Vagadia, VP and President of Qualcomm India & SAARC said in a separate statement.
India’s electronics and IT minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said at the recently concluded Semicon India conference that India’s democracy and talent pool sets it apart from other countries fighting for chip sovereignty.
Separately, Vaishnaw told the media that the country will need at least 10 semiconductor fab units in the coming years, and the government is ready to invest in several more projects.
The Indian government approved the Semicon India Programme in December 2021 with an outlay of $10 billion. It recently received five applications for semiconductor and display fabs with total investment of $20.5 billion (Rs 153,750 crore) under the India Semiconductor Mission, which has been set up as a dedicated institution for the Semicon India Programme.
The Indian semiconductor market, worth $15 billion in 2020, is estimated to reach $63 billion by 2026, the government said.