NEW DELHI: The chips may have been down at Indiaâ€™s computer hardware sector for some time now, but an ambitious government programme is looking to change that. Top scientists at some of the countryâ€™s ace scientific institutions are pooling energies, and the government some money, in an attempt to design a home-grown microprocessor, which they hope will ward off the rising threat of espionage into strategic segments like defence, telecom and space. The project to make the India Microprocessor, as it is being tentatively called, will see scientists from the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), and IIT Delhi coming together under the aegis of the department of IT. An entity, to be called Zerone Corporation for now and with an initial investment of $200 million, will carry out the project, according to a government official involved in the process. A draft proposal in this regard is likely to be presented to the cabinet soon requesting funds, the official said on condition of anonymity. Zerone, which will start operations from the facilities of a government-owned company, is also expected to give a leg up to Indiaâ€™s struggling semiconductor industry. Demand for microchips from Indiaâ€™s booming technology sector is expected to touch $315 billion by 2015, but a semiconductor policy of previous years to encourage firms to manufacture them locally evoked little interest from the private sector. However, the current plan has national security as the first priority, especially after reports of a global network of Chinese hackers breaking into sensitive installations worldwide, including the headquarters of Dalai Lama in Dharamshala and telecom networks in the UK. Just a week ago, South Korea had complained of an organised effort by North Korea to hack its government network. The government document, a copy of which is with ET, presents several such scenarios. If the Indian Army's WAN (Wide Area Network) is cut off from other networks, hypothetically the armyâ€™s equipment can still be activated wirelessly by foreign parties to transfer information or compromise it, the document says. â€œUnless India has its own microprocessor, we can never ensure that networks (that require microprocessors) such as telecom, Army WAN, and microprocessors used in BARC, ISRO, in aircraft such as Tejas, battle tanks and radars are not compromised,â€ the document points out. It further cites recent UK reports that have raised concerns over importing a Chinese telecom majorâ€™s equipment for use in Britainâ€™s telecom network, which may lead to espionage or a shut down during a war. A consultative process is already on to decide the chip architecture and finalise the final name of the corporation along with other modalities. The revenue source of Zerone is likely to be from the sales and support of microprocessors and by providing training on the advanced technological architecture. The India Microprocessor is likely to adopt Sun Microsystemâ€™s Open Sparc open source chip design technology, along with Linux operating system and MySQL database software.