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Maha IT policy offers exemption in taxes, additional FSI for IT and ITeS indutry

The IT policy eyes on Rs 50,000 crore investments, employment to over 1 million people by 2020

Rolling out various attractive incentive schemes and tax benefits to the sector, the government of Maharashtra unveiled its IT and ITES policy 2015 on Tuesday. The new IT policy eyes on the investment over 50,000 crore and employment generation of more that 1 million by 2020. Additional FSI of up to 200 percent to IT/ITeS units, exemption in local body taxes and special emphasis on the development of Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming and Comics (AVGC) industry are some of the highlights of the IT policy.

The government has showered various incentive schemes for the benefit of the industries. In a good news to IT entrepreneurs, the government has announced exemption of ITeS units from Octroi, Local Body Tax (LBT), entry tax, escort tax and other cess. IT / ITeS units, including IT Hardware and Telecom Hardware manufacturing units will be entitled to Stamp Duty exemption. Similarly, all the IT / ITES units operating from registered IT park or notified IT SEZ, which has a Green Building Certification, will be exempted from obtaining consent of the MPCB.

In a major relief to ITeS units, except IT hardware and Telecom Hardware Manufacturing Units, all other IT and ITeS industries allowed to be set up in residential and no-development Zones. The policy drafts states that the River Regulation Zone (RRZ) policy of state will not be applicable to IT/ITES units.

Addressing the press, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis announced that the government would issue necessary directives to the local bodies to give the benefit to the sector. He said that an Empowered Committee , chaired by the Chief Secretary would be constituted at the state level to monitor the implementation of the policy.

The policy also provides real estate benefits to the industry by offering 200 percent additional floor space index (FSI) over the base FSI for IT parks at a premium charge. Special incentives have been proposed for setting up BPOs in rural and semi-urban areas. The policy also proposes the construction of integrated IT townships at permissible 2.5 FSI in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) and Pune.

The policy has placed lots of emphasis on giving a boost to Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming and Comics (AVGC) sector. As per the draft IT and ITES policy, private AVGC parks will be promoted and they will be entitled to all incentives given to IT and ITES units. The chief minister said that  the state would offer an impetus to the animation industry. The government has proposed to set up Centre of AVGC excellence on public private partnership (PPP) mode in with financial assistance towards capital expenditure and purchase of equipment.

To meet the needs of the IT industry and the workforce there in to provide necessary amenities and accommodation in the vicinity of the IT units, a promotion of Integrated IT Townships (IITT) is being introduced in the policy. Special emphasis has been placed on the development of human resources in the industry. The Maharashtra Knowledge Corporation Limited (MKCL), the Maharashtra State Board of Technical Education (MSBTE) and other agencies will institute training-based certification and placement programmes. They would collaborate with NASSCOM and other associations as well as the local IT / ITES industry to understand their human resource requirements.

IT Growth in Maharashtra at a Glance…

According to the market statistics, Maharashtra ranks second in the country for the IT & ITES export after Karnataka. According to the Software Technology Parks of India (STPI), the state contributes nearly 20 percent of total IT export in the country. The exports by this sector in Maharashtra was Rs. 5,508 Crore in FY-2003 which reached to Rs.49,796 Crore in FY-2013. Pune ranks second in the country in software exports after Bangalore. In the financial year 2012-13, Pune’s software exports were at Rs 29,589.25 crore. Pune is followed by Mumbai, which reported exports of Rs 21,811.13 crore. With new IT policy, the government intends to pour in Rs 50,000 crore investment in next five years.

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