Excerpts form his interview:
My biggest priority is that India must reduce its imports. India imports 94% of electronics. The basic raw material for this is semiconductor and display glass. Both we import, spending about $16 billion. We (Vedanta) are in the glass business, we make optical fibre. We also make display glass in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, we are the fourth largest in the world. So, it was natural that everybody wanted to be our partner in semiconductor manufacturing. We chose Foxconn because it’s a$200-billion company. We are on a very fast track – first is to identify the location. We have an independent committee that is going to all the states. We need to be in close proximity to universities, infra, water. This is like creating yet another Silicon Valley – it will be a cluster. A lot of companies will come up around the plant that will use our semiconductor and glass, because they will be so much cheaper than importing. So, states must have the vision that it won’t be just a chip plant, that it will be a 20-year plan. The project is about $20 billion, but we will start with $10 billion to make the display glass and the semiconductor, both in the same location. At the end of the month, we will pin down the location. We’re just waiting for the report to come.
Around 60% (of total cost). Some are coming from the Centre and some from the state. Taiwan provided 90% subsidy, today everybody – US, China – wants to take over Taiwan only because they have semiconductors. I have no doubt India will be in position to get there. But everybody has to be together, focus on one thing, get the right people in place. It’s also very important to be in proximity to universities. Because so much research is required in this business.