Mufti invites IT firms to set up parks in J&K

Projecting J&K as a future IT (Information Technology) destination in the country, Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Saturday urged industrialists to invest in the state, which has an available pool of trained IT human resource base of over 4 lakh personnel.

He said the government is totally focussed on creating the right investment climate by offering an attractive ‘Package of Incentives’ to companies interested in setting up units of IT and ITES (IT-enabled Services) in the state. “The country is going digital and J&K cannot afford to lag behind,” he observed.

The Chief Minister said this while interacting with a select gathering of IT industrialists in southern metropolis here today. The meeting was organized by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), Tamil Nadu, that attracted top names of the city’s IT world.

Commissioner / Secretary, IT, Hirdesh Kumar, Secretary to Chief Minister, M. H. Malik and MD J&K SIDCO, Amit Sharma, were present on the occasion.

Assuring the investors of continuity in incentives under the state’s Industrial Policy for IT/ITES, Mufti Sayeed said J&K is a huge reservoir of human resource that can be channelled into the fast-emerging IT sector. He said he has come from the country’s northern to the southern tip to seek investment in an area where the state has made silent but encouraging beginning. “I recently met Anil Ambani of ADA Group in Mumbai who promised to send a team to work out modalities for setting up two 500-seater Call Centres, besides establishing an Institute of Information & Communication Technology,” he said, while inviting IT industrialists for a familiarity tour to J&K to obtain firsthand appraisal. 

The Chief Minister also spoke vividly about ‘reversal of brain drain’ as J&K has a huge repository of trained IT personnel who have excelled in the country as well as abroad but yearn to return and serve in their own state, provided they have the right kind of atmosphere built in IT sector. “With no service tax levied on IT industries, which is a Thrust Area under the State’s Industrial Policy, we offer land on a premium which is one of the lowest in the country to prospective investors intending to set up units there,” he told the company heads.

The Chief Minister made specific reference to the several initiatives taken regarding e-governance, e-tendering and e-procurement in the state and exuded confidence to widen the scope of IT/ITES to offer real-time services to the people. “I have come to Chennai to seek partnership in nurturing knowledge industry which is globally-recognized employment potential area,” he added.

During the discussions, majority of the industrialists stressed upon creation of infrastructure for advanced training of engineering graduates so that they are programmed to handle specialized assignments. They also inquired about government handholding to establish start up institutes to enhance IT skills before venturing into connected industry.

          Earlier, Commissioner / Secretary made a detailed presentation about investment scenario and highlighted the incentives under J&K Industrial Policy which encourages investment in niche areas like VLSI design, chip design and embedded systems. He said there are two high-speed STPIs (Software Technology Parks of India) in the two capital cities of the state.

As per policy, business entrepreneurs will be provided land on a 90-year lease period for development of IT Parks over minimum area of two acres. State government shall also provide road connectivity, dedicated water and power connections and other infrastructure for the proposed parks. 

The State Industrial Policy also provides for ‘Single Window Committees’ to fast-track clearance of cases to set up industries. Additional incentives have been envisaged for large investments and prestigious projects with cost in plant and machinery over and above Rs.100 crore. 

The handholding under the policy also provides for interest subsidy on working capital, installation of pollution control devices, green initiatives, brand promotion, modernisation and substantial expansion of existing units.

Those who attend the business session included Arun Jain, CMD, Intellect Design Arena Limited, A. R. M. Arun,  Chairman, Valingro Exponenta Private Limited, Natarajan Swaminathan, Senior Consultant, Corporate Security, Tata Consultancy Services, R. Ram Kumar, Director, Gemini Communication Ltd, R. Ramamurthy, Chairman, Cyber Security and Privacy Foundation, Sujeet Oommen, Senior Vice President & Global Head, Corporate Affairs Hexaware Technologies, Rafeeque Ahmed, Chairman, FICCI-TNS, P. Murari, Adviser to FICCI President and Mr. Ruban Hobday, Head, FICCI-TNSC.

Later in the afternoon, the Chief Minister visited Mahindra World City, an integrated high-end business centre and the winner of India’s first IGPC Gold Certified Township. He also visited the Tamil Nadu government-owned Tidel Park, which employs over 34000 IT personnel.

At Mahindra World City, the Chief Minister was given a brief presentation, particularly related to IT and ITES sectors. He was apprised that out of the 37000 people working in MWC, 26000 are directly related to the IT sector.

Infosys is MWC’s anchor customer with its infrastructure spread over 129 acres of land and employment base of 15000 techies. 

Located on high growth corridors and primarily working on transforming urban landscape in PPP mode, the attractive business city works on mantra of livelihood, living and life, by taking care of all day-to-day needs of the people.

Spread over 628 ha of land, Mahindra World City has three sector-specific zones including IT, Auto Ancillary and Apparel & Fashion Manufacturing units, which generally operate on plug-and-play basis. It has also reserved 300 acres for residential and social zones and is surrounded by 1000 acres of reserve forests and seven water-bodies.

The MWC has attracted 64 customers including Infosys, WIPRO, WABCO, Renault, NISSAN, Tuk Tuk, The Canopy, BRAUN, Alpha, Timken and FORCE.

The Chief Minister in his meeting with Arun Nanda in Mumbai earlier this month, had discussed the issue of replicating the MWC concept in J&K by taking up two similar projects. 

At Tidel Park, the Chief Minister was given a presentation about the phenomenal growth of IT sector in Tamil Nadu. Established in the year 2000 over an area of 1.3 million sq. ft., the Tidel Park employs over 34000 IT personnel with its cumulative software exports touching Rs.88744 crore. Some of the countries which Park caters to include United States, UK, Germany, Japan, besides many of the Middle East nations.

The Tidel Park and plethora of other IT infrastructure in the private sector have a readymade pool of 200,000 engineers who pass out annually from Tamil Nadu’s 538 engineering colleges.