Blame game in Maharashtra as Gujarat wins $20bn chip project

Wednesday 21st September 2022 07:15 EDT

The decision of Vedanta-Foxconn to choose Gujarat for their $20 billion semiconductor project instead of Maharashtra triggered a political blame game in Maharashtra even as the Gujarat government signed an MoU for the unit. The opposition in Maharashtra targeted the Eknath Shinde-Devendra Fadnavis government for losing out on a mega opportunity while deputy CM Fadnavis blamed the erstwhile MVA government for not inviting Foxconn for two years when they were working on the deal with Gujarat.

Anil Agarwal, Vedanta Group chairman, said the investment will be funded through internal accruals and the company will not raise any fresh funds. “India will now be the fourth country to soon start manufacturing semiconductors. We hope to finalise the land over the next fortnight and perform the ground-breaking ceremony within the next three months and the project is expected to operationalise over the next two years. We expect to break even in the business in next five years,” said Agarwal. Vedanta will hold 60% of the equity in the JV while Foxconn will own 40%. Vijay Nehra, secretary, department of science and technology, said that the MoU is a big development for not just Gujarat but India too.

The company has been given 25% capital subsidy in addition to a Rs 3 per unit of subsidised power tariff for 20 years, among others by the state government. This is the first big-ticket investment, aimed at creating 100,000 jobs, after the state government announced Semiconductor Policy in 2022-27.

Officials met CM Bhupendra Patel in Gandhinagar where the state offered all support, assuring a dedicated team led by IAS officers would support at all levels for faster implementation of the project.

Responding to a tweet by Anil Agarwal announcing that Gujarat was the pick, ex-Maharashtra minister Aaditya Thackeray tweeted, “Although I’m glad to see this in India, I am a bit shocked to see this. New dispensation had tweeted photos, claiming to have brought this to Maharashtra, but it seems intent/ commitment was to send this away from Maharashtra. Our Maha Vikas Aghadi government had brought this to the final stage. Then industries minister Subhash Desai and I held meetings to bring this semiconductor project to Maharashtra. For a project almost finalised, and a new dispensation claiming credit over it, only shows lack of commitment from them for our state’s progress.”

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