Maharashtra Industries Minister Uday Samant has announced that the state government intends to present a white paper addressing the factors that led to the Vedanta-Foxconn project being relocated outside of Maharashtra.
The minister stated that the white paper will be presented during the upcoming monsoon session of the legislature.
On Monday, Foxconn made an announcement regarding its withdrawal from the chip-making joint venture with Vedanta. Originally, the project was planned to be established near Pune but was later relocated to Gujarat in September 2022. This decision sparked accusations from the opposition Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi, who alleged that the move was orchestrated by the BJP to support its government in Gujarat ahead of the assembly polls.
Foxconn had inked an agreement with Indian conglomerate Vedanta in February 2022, to manufacture semiconductors in India. The step was termed as “a significant boost to domestic manufacturing of electronics in India”. Later, in the last week of July 2022, a Foxconn delegation met Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, following which the MIDC issued a press note stating that Vedanta is in active discussion with the government of Maharashtra for their proposed manufacturing facility for semiconductors and display fabs.
“With a high concentration of skilled manpower, connectivity to the port, seamless domestic supply chain and highly developed industrial infrastructure, Talegaon in Pune has emerged as a prominent option for Vedanta and Foxconn for their $22 billion investment that can generate more than 200,000 direct and indirect jobs,” the press note read.
The project was seen as a win-win for the Shinde government. It was estimated to bring close to Rs 26,200 crore SGST, generate 80,000 to 1,00,000 direct and indirect job opportunities, and $21-billion direct investment and $5-8 billion additional investment, helping the state’s GDP growth. Around 150-plus companies across the value chain would have benefited, creating 70,000 to 1,00,000 direct and indirect jobs.
However, on September 13, 2022, Vedanta and Foxconn moved the project to Gujarat, signing a pact to invest $19.5 billion to set up the semiconductor and display production plant. The MoU with Gujarat left Maharashtra officials stunned and the Opposition slammed the Shinde government over the “missed” opportunity. The attack on the government was renewed after the Foxconn announced withdrawal from the project.
Against this backdrop, the announcement made by the Industries Minister holds significant importance.
The minister stated, "We are currently working on a white paper that will elucidate the reasons behind the relocation of the Vedanta-Foxconn semiconductor project outside of Maharashtra. This white paper will be presented during the upcoming monsoon session, commencing on July 17."
He added, "I am unable to provide any comment without having proper information at hand. However, I can assure you that the white paper will indeed be presented before the legislature."