Chip sector plan: Training hubs for 6K scholars, 2.5L workers

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) is in talks with select government funded higher education institutions to develop training and education programmes for around 2.5 lakh junior engineers for plant and shop floor management and around 5,000-6,000 research scholars who have at least a PhD, senior government officials said.

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“We have a three-layer plan for creating talent for the semiconductor companies. The first one is scholarly capabilities, which will be useful in process and design element of manufacturing and fabrication. Then we have VLSI plant manufacturing capacity, which is the 85,000 engineers we will train. Then we have plans for plant and shop floor, manufacturing and testing types of skilled people,” an official said.

For training 85,000 engineers who will work on core semiconductor technologies, the MeitY will seek inputs on the specific course and technology requirements of the semiconductor companies willing to set up units in India.

For people on the plant and shop floor, the ministry plans to check for specific areas and industries from which workers can be picked and either be re-skilled or up-skilled through certain short-duration training courses.

“Instead of saying the government will be doing the up-skilling or re-skilling, we will actively seek inputs from the industry for the capacity. The companies can lay down their demands in terms of broad skill set, specific skill set and high-end skill set. We can work with them to create educational and training hubs around their manufacturing unit or cluster,” another senior MeitY official said.

These educational hubs, which will be created around the manufacturing units or such design and innovation clusters, will have a mix of high school, medium skill training centres such as industrial training institute (ITI) and high-end technology schools such as engineering colleges, the official added.

Specifically for training of the 85,000 engineers and 2.5 lakh shop and floor workers, the funding will come both from the government and the industry, the official said, adding that the Centre will fully finance these training programmes only if the companies commit to 100 per cent absorption of trained students and professionals, one of the officials quoted above said.

“So we will have all the programmes which will be NSQF (National Skills Qualifications Framework) compliant, and will be globally certifiable. Unlike in the past, these training programmes will be in part designed by the company which will so to say consume the trainees, and not some advisor who is unaware of the new changes,” said an official.

The training programmes for researchers and PhD candidates — which needs both ample support in terms of funds and time — will, however, be funded “in totality at least initially” by the government, an official said.

“We want India to also start holding patents and intellectual property rights. There is no semiconductor company which does not have a designing base in India but most of the intellectual property for such designs are held by these companies, which in turn means that the governments of countries where these companies have their headquarters have much more leveraging power. We are also looking to enter that club,” one of the officials said.

As per the latest All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) of 2019, which was released in June 2021, the total number of PhD admissions in the country increased from 1.26 lakh in 2015-16 to 2.02 lakh in 2019-20.

As per the report, 52,478 students were enrolled in various PhD programmes across the country in 19 sub-streams of engineering and technology, while among these computer science engineering had the most 7,682 students enrolled for PhD courses.

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