What are semiconductors?

  • It is a material product usually composed of silicon, which conducts electricity more than an insulator, such as glass, but less than a pure conductor, such as copper or aluminium. And used in various electronic devices and technologies.
  • Semiconductors are the thumbnail-sized building blocks of almost every modern electronic device from smartphones to connected devices in the Internet of Things (IoT).
  • They help give computational power to devices.
  • The basic component of a semiconductor chip is a sliver of silicon, which is etched with billions of microscopic transistors and projected to specific minerals and gases, forming patterns to control the flow of current while following different computational instructions.
  • Semiconductors having higher nanometre value are applied in automobiles, consumer electronics and so on, while those with lower values are used in devices such as smartphones and laptops.

What are fabs?

  • Semiconductor fabrication units, or fabs, turn raw elements such as silicon into integrated circuits that are fit to be a part of practically all electronic hardware in the world.
  • Fabs are highly capital-intensive undertakings, costing billions of dollars for large facilities.
  • The chip-making industry is a highly-concentrated one, with the big players being Taiwan, South Korea and the U.S. among others. According to a New York Times estimate, 90% of 5nm (nanometre) chips are mass-produced in Taiwan


Indian Government Initiatives:

  • Production-Linked Incentive (PLI): In 2021, India announced its roughly $10 billion dollar PLI scheme to encourage semiconductor and display manufacturing in the country.
  • It also announced fiscal support for a Design-Linked Initiative (DLI) scheme to drive global and domestic investment related to design software, IP rights etc.
  • India Semiconductor Mission: It will be led by global experts in the semiconductor and display industry. It will act as the nodal agency for efficient and smooth implementation of the schemes on semiconductors and display ecosystem.
  • Chips to start-ups programme: It would develop 85,000 well-trained engineers.