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India gives green light to chip plants worth $15.2 billion

FILE PHOTO: Illustration picture of semiconductor chips

NEW DELHI (Reuters) -India gave the go-ahead to construction of three semiconductor plants worth 1.26 trillion rupees ($15.2 billion) by firms including Tata Group and CG Power on Thursday, as the country pursues its goal of becoming an electronics powerhouse.

India, which is seeking to rival countries such as Taiwan in chipmaking, expects its semiconductor market to be worth $63 billion by 2026, but does not yet have a chipmaking facility.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to make India a chipmaker for the world as his government tries to overcome setbacks faced in its bid to offer $10 billion in incentives to the industry.

Indian Electronics Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said construction will begin on the plants within the next 100 days, adding that they will manufacture and package chips for sectors including defence, automobiles and telecommunication.

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"This is a big decision for the country and a key accomplishment towards making India a self-dependent country," Vaishnaw told reporters.

He did not give updates on other key chipmaking applicants, including Indian conglomerate Vedanta, Taiwan's Foxconn and Israel's Tower Semiconductor.

Tata will partner with Taiwan's Powerchip to set up India's first chipmaking plant worth 910 billion rupees in Gujarat state's Dholera, he said, while CG Power will partner with Japan's Renesas Electronics Corp and Thailand's Stars Microelectronics for a 76 billion rupees chip packaging plant, also in Gujarat.

A third chip packaging plant worth 270 billion rupees will be set up in the eastern state of Assam by Tata unit Tata Semiconductor Assembly and Test Pvt Ltd, Vaishnaw added.

($1 = 82.9061 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Shivam Patel in New Delhi; Editing by YP Rajesh and Alexander Smith)