Kapil Sibal finds it tough to convince govt departments on starting chips manufacturing

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Telecom and IT minister, Kapil Sibal

Wednesday, 07 August 2013: Minister Kapil Sibal said that he is having a hard time in convincing different departments on certain issues including the establishment of an electronic chips manufacturing plant. The setting up of the plant comes under India’s ambitious Rs 25 billion project.

The minister said that some of the departments are in support of the tender process for establishing semiconductor fab, which is not feasible for high-tech projects, particularly the ones that are set up for strategic reason.

“Everything in this country is subject to fear that court may put you in jail tomorrow. We have to get out of that fear. If I have to go to jail for children of India, I’d rather go to jail than not empower my children. We have to take decision,” the minister said according to a TOI report.

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“One of the big decisions we have to take is that we have to have fab unit (computer chip plant) in India. It takes so much battling to be done to convince our government agencies and our own government how necessary it is to have our fab unit,” remarked Sibal at the Telecom Summit organised by the industry body Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

The responsibility of identifying technology and investors for establishment of chip plant was bestowed on a high level committee headed by Sam Pitroda, Advisory to Prime Minister. The committee was able to acquire two private consortia on board for the high-tech plant, a semiconductor wafer fab. Some of the government departments that are part of the panel opposed the project.

Sibal stressed on the fact that electronic chips are important components and therefore, India should manufacture own chips because the country cannot afford to import chips for all devices. There is every possibility that by 2020, the import bill of electronic chips may amount to USD 300 billion.

The Minister has ordered bureaucrats from his own departments to impose fine on telecom service providers who violate even minor rules.

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