West Bengal rolls out red carpet for IT firms

Bangalore, Oct 28 (IANS) West Bengal, the latest state joining the IT bandwagon, has showcased its strengths and offerings in the knowledge sector at India's premier tech event Bangalore here.

Saturday, October 28, 2006 | 5:31:35 PM IST (+05:30 GMT)
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Bangalore, Oct 28 (IANS) West Bengal, the latest state joining the IT bandwagon, has showcased its strengths and offerings in the knowledge sector at India's premier tech event Bangalore here.

Highlighting the state government's initiatives and pro-active policies for the IT sector, West Bengal IT minister Debesh Das said Saturday that world-class infrastructure facilities were being created across the state, especially in Kolkata, for IT and IT-enabled services (ITES).

'We are creating an additional built-up space of about 13 million square feet to generate over 130,000 jobs seats in the next three years in Kolkata. The IT Park being developed by the Delhi-based DLF group will be the largest of its kind in the country,' he told reporters here.

'In addition, a Special Economic Zone (SEZ), spread over 130 acres, has been approved by the central government exclusively for the IT industry, with 30 acres earmarked for the small and medium enterprises (SMEs),' Das said.

Keeping in view the land requirements for future growth, the state IT department plans to acquire about 330 acres near the airport. The West Bengal Electronics Industry Development Corporation (Webel) has already allotted 200 acres at Salt Lake in Kolkata for IT and ITES companies.

'Our government is also setting up a 'knowledge corridor' at Rajarhat in Kolkata for global IT players, including many from Europe and the Silicon Valley. A new town will be built on 8,000 acres with integrated facilities, including schools, hospitals, playgrounds, theatres, shopping complexes and residences,' Das said.

The state IT department is processing applications from Infosys and Wipro for allotting about 100 acres and 50 acres respectively on priority. The land clearance for both the IT bellwethers is expected during the current fiscal (2006-07).

To ensure uniform growth of the IT industry across the state, the West Bengal government is building land banks at Kharagpur, Haldia, Durgapur and Siliguri in the northern region, where the Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) have set up earth stations to provide connectivity on 24x7 basis.

To attract investments in the high-tech areas such as knowledge process outsourcing (KPO), very large system integration (VLSI) design, mobile computing and electronic manufacturing services, an Advanced IT Park and an electronic design automation (EDA) delivery centre will be located near Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, in about 100 acres.

In a bid to minimise the demand-supply gap in human resources, the state government has begun offering incentives and subsidies for setting up IT-centric training institutions.

'With pro-active policies such as flexible labour laws, permission to employ women on 24x7 basis and declaring the IT firms as public utilities, we have created an eco-system to ramp up human resources.

'We propose to include IT in the list of essential services to prevent disruption in their operations due to strike, protests or demonstrations,' Das pointed out.

'With about 45,000 people employed in the IT and ITES space, West Bengal has been growing at about 100 percent annually over the last couple of years. We are aiming to generate around 15 percent of the country's total IT revenue by 2010-11 from the current three-four percent,' he said.

'We are also taking a number of measures to usher in<

Copyright : Indo-Asian News Service
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