This is a discussion on West Bengal IT hubs within the Investment forums, part of the Financial Services category; West Bengal, in the midst of an IT boom, is promoting "secondary cities" as technology hubs to accommodate the large ...
West Bengal, in the midst of an IT boom, is promoting "secondary cities" as technology hubs to accommodate the large number of IT companies rushing to the state.
West Bengal has identified Kharagpur, Durgapur, Siliguri and Haldia as emerging IT hubs to ease the infrastructure burden on Kolkata, which has attracted a large number of IT firms in recent years.
With the creation of adequate human resources and infrastructure, these small towns could attract a large number of Indian and international IT firms, according to West Bengal's Minister for IT Manabendra Mukherjee.
"We want to package the secondary cities in a way that more and more Indian and foreign IT companies get attracted," Mukherjee told in an interview here.
"Although Kolkata is and will continue to be the prime IT business destination in the state, we don't want it to get overcrowded, adversely affecting the basic infrastructure facilities," he added.
Durgapur, Kharagpur, Siliguri and Haldia have been identified as cities that can emerge as preferred destinations for software development and outsourcing companies.
The government plans to set up one state-of-the-art software technology park each in Siliguri and Haldia by September this year. Software technology parks in Kharagpur and Durgapur began operations early last year.
"We expect at least one or two big companies to move to one of these secondary cities in the years ahead, adding fuel to the growth and enthusing others to explore the potential offered by these places," said Mukherjee.
Kolkata has been increasingly attracting domestic and overseas IT firms in recent years due to lower operational costs, availability of a large pool of qualified and cheaper manpower, and policy support.
The state has attracted major IT players like Tata Consultancy Services, Wipro, Cognizant Technology, ITC Infotech, Computer Associates, IBM, Siemens, United Airlines, The Chatterjee Group and Reliance Infocomm.
The state considers IT as a priority focus sector to be developed into a growth engine.
"There are many industrial success stories already happening in cities like Durgapur and Haldia but people are not aware of them. We are planning to showcase the potential of these secondary cities," Mukherjee added.
Communist-ruled West Bengal, long seen as an industrialist's bane with labour unrest and poor infrastructure, have been going all out to roll out a red carpet to technology firms by harping on its competitive advantages.
According to Mukherjee, West Bengal's vision is to rank among the top three IT states in India by 2010 and contribute 15 percent of the country's total IT revenue, up from a little over five percent now.
While the state will target both IT and IT-enabled services in the long run, its focus in the short term will be on the latter.
The minister said the government had drawn up an ambitious plan to significantly increase the availability of trained professionals for the technology industry all across the state.
While intake in existing engineering colleges will be increased, new colleges will also be set up to take care of the demands of the manpower-intensive business process outsourcing (BPO) and software development businesses.
Over 25,000 professionals are currently employed in the state's thriving IT industry and the number is likely to swell to 70,000 by the end of the year.
"To achieve our exports target by 2010, the industry would need to hire 410,000 people. Out of this 175,000 will be employed in the core software business while 227,000 people are for the outsourcing sector," said Mukherjee.