MeitY to Promote Locally Developed Microprocessors for Strategic Sectors

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In the backdrop of security concerns over electronic devices manufactured abroad, including in China, the ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY) is planning to promote local development of microprocessors.

These will be used initially in strategic sectors including space, defence and atomic energy, two people with knowledge of the plan said.

The microchips will later be used in all electronic items being manufactured in India—from mobiles phones and other electronics items to network routers, to Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

Union law and information technology (IT) minister Ravi Shankar Prasad approved a microprocessor development programme (MDP) in August. The IT ministry has earmarked Rs289.21 crore for the programme over four years.

The first instalment will be released to centre for development of advanced computing (C-DAC) after the IT ministry signs a memorandum of understanding with C-DAC, which is expected this month, one of the two people cited above said, requesting anonymity.

CDAC, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras and IIT Bombay have been roped in for implementation of the project.

Top Meity officials met in August to discuss the development of an indigenous microprocessor to meet domestic needs and shield the country from potential future embargoes on transfer of critical technology.

“Microprocessor is pervasive in all electronic devices including smartphones, network routers, space, defence and atomic sectors. Currently, we import all microprocessors. Microprocessor is the brain of computing system… For critical security sectors, we should have our own microprocessors,” the second person said, also on condition of anonymity.

The MDP will eventually lead to a reduction in overall cost of production, maintenance and upgradation of electronic products and systems in India, and will cut foreign exchange outgo, the second person said.

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