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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday laid the foundation stone of three semiconductor facilities in India at Rs 1.25 lakh crore, and said the country is eager to play a big role in the semiconductor sector and days are not far when it becomes a global power in this field.

Addressing people after virtually laying the foundation stone of the three semiconductor facilities – two in Gujarat and one in Assam, PM Modi targeted the Congress, accusing the previous governments led by it of failing to convert India’s semiconductor dreams into reality due to the “inability” to understand the country’s potential, priorities and futuristic needs and its “lack of will and efforts”.

Referring to his government’s commitment to make the country a semiconductor manufacturing hub, he said when India commits, it delivers, and added that chip manufacturing opens the door of development with infinite possibilities.

“Two years ago, we declared a Semiconductor Mission and announced that we would take initiatives. Within a few months, we signed MoUs and today we are laying the foundation stones for three projects. India commits, India delivers and democracy delivers,” he said.

India is already decades behind in semiconductor manufacturing, but will not lose a single moment any longer, he said. India’s semiconductor dreams were first envisioned during the 1960s, but the then governments failed to act upon them due to their lack of will and efforts to convert the resolutions into accomplishments, he said.

“For the first time, India dreamt of semiconductor manufacturing in the 1960s. But even after this, the then governments did not take advantage of those opportunities. The biggest reasons behind this were lack of will power, lack of effort to convert our pledge into achievement, and lack of capacity to take far-sighted decisions for the country,” he added. Because of this, India’s dream of manufacturing semiconductors remained a dream, he alleged.

“People who were in those governments said there was no need to hurry as this is a future need. Hiding behind India’s poverty, they kept ignoring all such investments of modern needs. They would commit corruption worth thousands of crores of rupees, but would not invest in semiconductor manufacturing,” he said.

No country can develop with such a thinking, he said. “Therefore, our government is working with forward-looking thinking and a futuristic approach. Today, we are moving ahead with the ambitions of competing with developed countries in the semiconductor sector,” he said.

“Only a few countries in the world are manufacturing semiconductors, and COVID-19 has given us a lesson to have a reliable and resilient supply chain. India is eager to play a very big role in this direction,” the prime minister said. He said the country has always been a space, nuclear and digital power.

“In the coming time, we will begin commercial production of semiconductor products. Days are not far when India becomes a global power in this field as well,” he said.

“The 21st century is a technology-driven century, and we cannot imagine it at all without an electronic chip. Made in India and Design in India chip will create a big capability to take India towards self reliance,” he said. Modi said India will get the strategic advantage of decisions taken and policies framed by his government to encourage the ease of doing business by removing over 40,000 compliances, making FDI policies liberal in defence, insurance and telecom sectors, etc.

India has further strengthened its position in electronic and hardware manufacturing in recent times through PLI, he said.

“Today, India has emerged as the world’s second largest mobile phone manufacturer. It is also working to encourage innovation and the artificial intelligence mission. India is not just working towards technology adoption but also towards technology advancement,” he added.

The country’s youth will be the biggest beneficiary of the semiconductor industry, the PM said. Chip manufacturing is not just an industry, but opens the door of development that is full of infinite possibilities. The sector will not just create jobs for India, but will also develop technology advancement, Modi said.

“We are completing the cycle of the talent ecosystem,” he said. He said that India has already become the world’s third largest start-up ecosystem in such a short time. After this programme, the semiconductor sector will create new opportunities for our start-up systems.

PM Modi laid the foundation stone of three facilities – semiconductor fabrication facility at the Dholera Special Investment Region (DSIR) in Gujarat, outsourced semiconductor assembly and test (OSAT) facility at Morigaon in Assam and the OSAT facility at Sanand in Gujarat.

The foundation stone-laying ceremony in Dholera was attended by Minister of Railways, Communications and Electronics & Information Technology Ashwini Vaishnav, Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel, and Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekaran.