Union minister and Janata Dal (United) leader HD Kumaraswamy on Friday questioned the need for investments in the country from a United States-based semiconductor manufacturer as well as the Rs 3.2 crore in subsidies that it was getting in return for every job it creates, The Times of India reported.

However, Kumaraswamy later told reporters that he had been “misquoted” and said that the semiconductor industry was one of “strategic” importance for India.

The Janata Dal (United) leader on Tuesday assumed charge as the Union steel and heavy industries minister in the recently formed Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government.

During a live address to party workers in Karnataka on Friday, Kumaraswamy asked why India needed investments from US firm Micron Technology, which is setting up a $2.5-billion (approximately Rs 200 crore) unit in Gujarat and could receive as much as Rs 3.2 crore in subsidies for each job created as a result, The Times of India reported.

“The new manufacturing unit will generate about 5,000 jobs,” Kumaraswamy said. “For this, we are giving them $2 billion in subsidies...If you calculate, that’s 70% of the company’s total investment.”

Kumaraswamy told party workers that he had asked officials whether it was justifiable to allocate such a significant amount to the semiconductor project.

“Conversely, there are small-scale industries...In Peenya [an industrial estate in Bengaluru], there are small-scale industries. How many lakh jobs have they created? What benefits have we provided to them?”

Later on Friday, the Union minister clarified his remarks on the US firm and said that bringing the semiconductor manufacturing sector to India was required, Moneycontrol reported.

In a post on social media, he also said that semiconductor manufacturing was a “basic requirement for electronics and automobile manufacturing”.

Kumaraswamy said that both the electronics and automobile sectors are important sources of employment. “I greatly appreciate the semiconductor related initiatives taken by the Office of the Prime Minister [Narendra Modi] and will work towards fulfilling them through my ministry,” he added.