Ranchi (Jharkhand) : Chief secretary Rajbala Verma today unveiled a roadmap of opportunities for IT and IT-enabled services (ITeS) centred around a proposed information technology investment region (ITIR) in a state with investment-friendly policies for IT, BPO and start-ups, at Momentum Jharkhand 2016.
Verma, who inaugurated the daylong marquee business, technology and leadership conclave, organised by the IT and e-governance department, Infocom (an ABP Group initiative) and The Telegraph , made a strong case for the proposed ITIR as knowledge hub-cum-IT investment region.
Taking a cue from the Bhubaneswar ITIR, Verma said a similar region here could generate over 200,000 jobs and an annual turnover of Rs 50,000 crore to contribute significantly to the state GDP.
“The Ranchi-Patratu industrial corridor development study recommended building an ITIR as a knowledge hub-cum IT investment region along Ranchi-Patratu corridor under the Smart City concept, earmarking a 50sqkm area for it. Government expenditure will mainly be about developing external infrastructure, limited to 10-15 per cent of total investment. The rest will be brought in through public-private partnership,” she said.
Verma clearly listed out why Brand Jharkhand had the potential to deliver in IT and ITeS.
“Jharkhand has some best schools, colleges and professional institutions (XLRI, IIM, IIT, XISS and NIT etc), a most investment friendly IT, BPO and Start-Up policies and its cities like Ranchi and Jamshedpur have the best of core and social infrastructure among tier-II and tier-III cities. The state is on its way to become a digital state as government departments are implementing digitization. Jharkhand can be hub from where IT companies can serve other eastern states,” she said.
She also invited IT majors to be Smart City solution providers as Ranchi has been selected as Smart City by the Centre.
“It is a greenfield project over 400 acres and IT companies can partner its development by helping arrive at smart solutions for core and social infrastructure facilities, e-governance with the partnership of citizens, sustainable environment, safety and security, health and education. Though Ranchi has been identified as a Smart City (by the Centre), the state government also wants Ranchi’s model of smart city replicated in other major cities of Jharkhand too. The opportunity is huge,” said Verma.
Rajesh Jha, Adani Group CEO CTL Business, agreed there was massive opportunity in Jharkhand.
Enumerating about two Adani start-ups in Jharkhand, incubation and engineering application centres to reduce moisture from coal, Jha praised the state for its “vibrancy in getting things done within few months”.
In his address, secretary to chief minister, IT and e-governance and industries, mines geology Sunil Kumar Barnwal gave the brick-and-mortar filling to chief secretary Verma’s outline.
“We have created a conducive investment climate, visible in our good rank in the ease of doing business. Plus, Jharkhand with its industrial base is a big consumer of IT services. If IT players are registered in the state and develop products in Jharkhand, they will get price preference too,” he said.
The upcoming CM Dashboard, a government portal to oversee various departments and schemes in all 24 districts, also makes Jharkhand arguably the first state in India where district governance will soon be paperless, Barnwal said. “Few states have become paperless at the secretariat level. We will become paperless even at the district level. The state aims to be completely paperless by January 2017. We will start with capital Ranchi and few departments on a pilot basis,” said Barnwal.
Interestingly, Barnwal stressed panchayats were a sunrise area for IT players to invest. “Rural IT usage will grow manifold. For instance, all schools in 4,402 panchayats of the state will be digitised. BharatNet will provide high-speed bandwidth to all panchayat schools by December 2018,” Barnwal said.
Encouraging start-ups in IT, Barnwal said the government had now earmarked Rs 50 crore for such ventures in its policy. In the next five years, the government will give Rs 250 crore and Rs 750 crore would be taken from the market for this fund.
He also assured of state government support to Infocom, saying such an annual conference provided the government an opportunity to assess their progress.
Secretary higher education Ajoy Kumar Singh spoke of the need to drive a knowledge economy, admitting the dearth of higher educational institutions in the state. At the same time, he outlined the government’s plans to open 100 educational institutions through private investment and MoUs with premier overseas institutions such Oracle, Cisco and Tata to enhance IT skills in the state and with 40 companies to start skill development centres across the state for the talent pool IT players require.
Earlier, welcoming guests, ABP sales director Chandan Majumdar said he hoped this third edition of Infocom along with the new polices of the state government took Jharkhand to “the next orbit of growth”. Shantanu Datta, the resident editor Jharkhand, The Telegraph, proposed the vote of thanks.
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