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India launches semiconductor and incubation acceleration programme

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) is collaborating with NXP India to launch the first Semiconductor Start-up Incubation and Acceleration Programme. NXP India is among the biggest research and development centres for NXP Semiconductors.

The Fabless Chip Design Incubator (FabCI), under the Indian Institute of Technology in Hyderabad (IIT-Hyderabad), is also part of the collaboration. The programme aims to find, facilitate, and mentor semiconductor and IP design Indian start-ups in technological and business aspects.

According to a media report, the programme will support India’s vision to become a self-reliant (Atmanirbhar Bharat) nation as it creates a platform to support start-ups that want to design semiconductor chips in India. The local hardware design and manufacturing of products will strengthen the core technology-driven system pillar vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat.

The next decade will be all about creating a world that anticipates and automates through interconnected smart systems. This infrastructure will be based on core semiconductor technology at the centre. In that context, the programme has the potential to bring the core impetus to the strengthening fabless semiconductor designs in the country.

A representative said that the team has created a technology start-up-focused framework with two key initiatives. First, the Tech Start-Up challenge to recognise the most innovative Indian start-up products aligned with NXP businesses and technologies. Second, the Tech Start-Up Incubator to nurture and groom young start-ups with complete enablement, funding, and day-to-day guidance using a unique collaboration with the government and top academic institutes.

It is a significant step as India is poised to increase its share in innovation-driven global manufacturing of mobile phones, IT hardware, automotive, industrial, and medical electronics, IoT, and other devices, he added. Up to five start-ups will be incubated for a period of two years, every year. Participants will include Semiconductor Chip Design, IP Design, Design Services start-ups with an IP focus, and Chip Design Tool-related start-ups.

The start-ups selected for the core programme will have the following benefits:

  • EDA tool access for design and simulations
  • mentoring access during the design and development phase
  • selective IP access for processor or interconnect aspects
  • foundry/packaging access
  • characterisation lab access
  • demo day visibility with NXP

The government has been working towards promoting the ESDM sector to bring electronic manufacturing to India. There is also a need to build a thriving fabless design ecosystem in India. The programme will work to facilitate and train semiconductor and IP design start-ups across India, Ajay Sawhney, the Secretary of MeitY, explained.

The Indian semiconductor market stands at around US$300 million. If semiconductor fabs are added to this, the value could go up to US$4-5 billion, according to a news report. India imports all semiconductor fab units from China right now. About 1-2% of the products are also imported from Taiwan, another upcoming location for this industry.

As per data from the India Cellular and Electronics Association, the growth of the semiconductor sector in India has been witnessing a significant rise. The country can gain a sizable share of the global market by becoming the hub for laptops and tablets. This will provide a manufacturing value of US$100 billion by 2025 and will also create 500,000 additional jobs.

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