Mr. Arup Dasgupta    
Mr. Arup Dasgupta
Chairman & Managing Director
Metalogic Systems
Kolkata, West Bengal
 

1. What is your perception of the Indian electronics and semicon industry

Clearly, with the economy improving in the country over the past couple of decades, the consumption of electronic goods has also increased. Today, electronics and semiconductors are so pervasive that every product has some portion of electronics and semiconductors. As our economy continues to grow in the future, the market for electronics and semiconductors will only grow in the country.

Despite this growth, the amount of development and manufacturing happening in our country is very limited. There was a lot of talk of a semiconductor fab but it did not happen. Even in other areas of the value chain where components, subsystems and systems are put together (integrated), there is very little happening to be proud about. With consumption forecasted to increase, it is expected that more and more of manufacturing would begin to happen.

For manufacturing to happen, besides cost, the material supply chains have to work very smoothly without hiccups. This is where the infrastructure in the country will need to improve drastically. Infrastructure does not mean only roads and buildings – it also means clean water and air. And the Indian market needs to become important to suppliers such that they would prioritize their shipments to manufacturing plants in India. Governmental policies can play a crucial role to encourage more manufacturing in the country versus finished goods coming to the country. The manufacturing sector would have a much bigger impact on creating jobs than the design and development sector. Hence the government should play the cards correctly to encourage that.

On design and development, there are many companies, big and small, that have excellent capabilities. Many foreign based companies have design centers in India where excellent work is being done. However, almost all of this work caters to developing products defined elsewhere by people looking at markets elsewhere. Thus, it would be naïve to expect these design centers to design and develop innovative products for the Indian market. It’s only the entrepreneurial types from these companies that would leave from there to set up their own outfits where products for the Indian market would get visualized and then developed. May be when the Indian market becomes important to these companies they would create marketing and product marketing positions in India to define products for this market.
 


2. Why do you think the VLSI industry has so far struggled to come up in the state of West Bengal?
 

  • Lack of a proper eco system for this industry
  • The critical mass of enough companies is not there. Thus, opportunities for young graduates are not there. West Bengal produces excellent electronics and semiconductor engineers but they end up going to other cities/places in the country to find job opportunities
  • Delay in materializing/ achieving results from Govt initiatives

     

3. How is Metalogic working with the Govt. of West Bengal and Bengal Engineering & Science University (BESU) to promote VLSI industry in the state of West Bengal?

Metalogic believes that the main issue is 'retention of quality manpower in the state'. In order to incubate VLSI companies in the state, the first priority should be on specific initiatives, supported by the Govt and prime academic institutions, to develop skilled workforce. Once that is available adequately, on one hand it will cater to the national and international requirements but at the same time it will incubate business entities locally and also will attract the VLSI giants to start their operations here. This in turn will develop the ecosystem and consequently will be able to retain talents in the state. With this vision Metalogic has come forward and has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Bengal Engineering and Science University (BESU) to jointly collaborate on a number of initiatives. The local Govt especially the Minister concerned is himself fully aware of this joint effort and is providing full support to this initiative.

The main features of this collaboration are as follows:
 

  • Metalogic is sponsoring a post graduate course in VLSI for 20+ students per year.
  • Metalogic and BESU are working together towards improvements in the standards of learning in terms of analyzing the (i) course contents, (ii) teaching learning resources and (iii) teaching learning processes and whenever necessary / expedient and possible, to provide additional appropriate inputs to (a) enhance the quality of education and to (b) make the courses more industry oriented.
  • Metalogic is helping final year students of undergraduate engineering courses to undertake industry specific project / dissertation work and organizing at least ten lectures, each of two hours duration, for the students, to be delivered by prominent industry leaders every year
  • Metalogic is undertaking collaborative projects. Two such projects have been initiated involving senior professors and research fellows.
  • Metalogic is helping to build and set-up a software innovation and design centre at BESU for which the space would be provided by the University
  • Metalogic has sponsored a position of Emeritus Professor Chair of Excellence
  • One member of Metalogic has joined Board of Studies (BOS) in the departments of (i) computer science and technology and (ii) information technology.



4. What steps are being taken to incubate companies in the VLSI/electronics space in West Bengal?


Of late, state Govt. has come up with few initiatives to build up this industry. Moreover, looking at the global potential of this business, local business houses are showing their keen interest. This is the right time when effective mentoring, guidance and projection of business potential with proper perspective can start the ball rolling much faster. Local presence of a platform like IESA can expedite the entire process.


5. How are local companies being mentored?


Actually this is missing. Individual entities might be getting support from their big brothers in India or abroad thru their own contacts and connections but there is hardly any structured forum or initiative for mentoring. But there are enough resources in terms of highly knowledgeable personalities with national/ international reputation and interested business houses with vision, financial strength and established business credibility in this state. A local IESA chapter can serve this purpose very effectively by creating a platform, pulling the right resources and mentoring the entrepreneurs and business houses as per need.


6. So far, not many companies have managed to focus on the domestic market. How can this be changed?


The domestic market has to grow. On one hand this depends on the overall industrial/ financial growth of the country and at the same time it depends on the development of the domestic ecosystem. Growth fuels growth. The same thing has happened in Software and IT industry over last two and half decades. There is no reason why VLSI industry, if we can manage it well, should not follow the same path