What is a Semiconductor?


What is a Semiconductor?

o Semiconductors are materials which have conductivity between conductors and insulators. They can be pure elements, silicon or germanium or compounds; gallium, arsenide.

o They are the basic building blocks that serve as the heart and brain of all modern electronics and information and communications technology products.

o These chips are now an integral part of contemporary automobiles, household gadgets and essential medical devices such as ECG machines.

What led to this mission?

–The Covid-19 pandemic-driven push to take sizable parts of daily economic and essential activity online, or at least digitally enable them, has highlighted the centrality of the chip-powered computers and smartphones in people’s lives.

–The pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns across the world also forced shut crucial chip-making facilities in countries including Japan, South Korea, China and the US. Its shortage causes cascading effects, given that the first one creates pent-up demand that becomes the cause for the follow-up famine.

–With the bulk of semiconductor manufacturing and supply capability concentrated in a handful of countries including Taiwan, South Korea, U.S., Japan and, more recently, China, governments worldwide have realized that it is in the national interest to treat chip manufacturing as a strategic imperative.

India’s Stand?

–India being one of the countries to recently give recognition to semiconductor chip manufacturing, has initiated a semiconductor mission to power the development of the chip and display industry.

–India currently imports all chips and the market is estimated to touch $100 billion by 2025 from $24 billion now. The Union Cabinet has recently allocated an amount of ₹76,000 crore for supporting the development of a ‘semiconductors and display manufacturing ecosystem’. It is a belated but welcome acknowledgment of the strategic significance of integrated circuits, or chips, to a modern economy.

–So, with an objective to position India as the global hub for Electronic System Design and Manufacturing, the Union government has formulated a comprehensive program for the development of sustainable semiconductor and display ecosystem in the country. The program will usher in a new era in electronics manufacturing by providing a globally competitive incentive package to companies in semiconductors and display manufacturing as well as design. This shall pave the way for India’s technological leadership in these areas of strategic importance and economic self-reliance.

Benefits to India

–In the current geopolitical scenario, trusted sources of semiconductors and displays hold strategic importance and are the key to the security of critical information infrastructure.

–The approved program will propel innovation and build domestic capacities to ensure the digital sovereignty of India.

–It will also create highly skilled employment opportunities to harness the demographic dividend of the country.

–Development of semiconductor and display ecosystem will have a multiplier effect across different sectors of the economy with deeper integration to the global value chain.

–The program will promote higher domestic value addition in electronics manufacturing and will contribute significantly to achieving a USD 1 Trillion digital economy and a USD 5 Trillion GDP by 2025.

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