To position Bhubaneswar as one of the most sought after destinations for IT and IT-enabled services, Orissa needs to build a world class workforce for IT and BPOs, ensure digital acceleration and focus on upgrading social infrastructure to attract global IT citizens.
This was pointed out by Ganesh Natarajan, chairman, National Association of Software and Services Companies at an IT conclave on Destination Bhubaneswar, organised jointly by Nasscom and the Orissa IT department.
Natarajan pointed out that apart from education and skills development, Nasscom's current focus was on encouraging creativity and innovation in the IT sector, developing remote infrastructure management through the setting up of data centres and reaching out to people through various IT applications.
On the Satyam issue, he said, "The Satyam fiasco will have no bearing on the IT industry in the country."
Speaking on the occasion, Orissa IT Secretary Pradipta K Mohapatra said, "Today Orissa ranks ninth among all the states in terms of software exports; the state has been recording a year-on-year growth of 35 per cent in software exports. The Orissa government has embarked upon a programme to train 100,000 youth in computers and Rs 20 crore (Rs 200 billion) has already been sanctioned for this initiative."
Talking on the various IT projects under various stages of implementation, he said, "Genpact has proposed to set up a global delivery centre while ICICI intends to set up its eastern regional hub in Bhubaneswar. Both these projects are expected to be operational within two years and the two projects taken together would generate employment for 20,000 people.
"The state IT department is going ahead its plan to build the second tower of the Orissa Computer Application Centre which would offer plug-and-play offices to IT and ITes units. Infocity is the first operational IT SEZ in the state while three other IT SEZs are in the pipeline including DLF Infopark, Mindspace IT Park by the Raheja Group and Infovalley IT SEZ being developed by the Orissa Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation."
Bijoy K Sahoo, president, Confederation of Information Technology Enterprises, said, "The Orissa government has set a target of software exports worth $1 billion and a pool of 200,000 professionals in the IT and ITes sectors in the state by 2012. To achieve these targets, we have to upgrade social infrastructure and also ensure that a vast pool of our engineering and non-engineering graduates are made employable.
"Moreover, the ICT (information and communication technology) policy of the Orissa government needs to offer fiscal as well as non-fiscal incentives to attract the IT and ITes units. The local IT units should also be given an opportunity to bid for the various e-governance projects being implemented in Orissa", he added.
P K Das, director, Software Technology Parks of India, said, "Today, Bhubaneswar is one of the most attractive destinations for IT and ITes sectors as it offers cost competitiveness and has low attrition and high productivity among IT professionals. The IT industry has recorded an average growth of 26 per cent during 2000-08 and sustains the high growth momentum; the tax holiday on STPI units needs to be extended beyond 2009-10."
Vishal Dev, director, Orissa IT department and managing director, Idco, said, "We have taken up 45 e-governance projects of national importance in the past one year. Our e-shishu project has been extremely successful and we have been invited to implement this project in states like Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh."