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West Bengal set to become IT hub

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DQW Bureau
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Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) recently held a two-day conference

on the prospects and the growth scenario of IT, communication and telecom in

Kolkata.

Major IT enablers and investment drivers in the state attended the event. The

conference focused on the investment and technological possibilities in Kolkata.

Appreciating the efforts made by the state government to woo IT investors in

the recent years, Dr Debesh Das, IT Minister, Govt of West Bengal said, “Last

fiscal, we had a steady growth of 45.6 percent in the IT sector in Bengal with

IT exports topping the charts. We are now targeting to double the IT exports in

software. With IBM and Wipro as the major growth enablers in Bengal, we have

revised our IT policy to make it more investment friendly.”

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Speaking on the global scenario of IT and the role India can play in the

global forum, Kaushik Chatterjee, CFO, Tata Steel elucidated, “The major

economies in Europe are heading towards stagnation parti­cularly in the field of

IT and manufacturing. As production costs are gradually becoming higher in

Europe, there is an urgent need for them to look at other nations for production

at cheaper rates.”

Touching key issues in investment and expansion process in the region,

Amitabh Ray, Director, IBM India stated, “Eastern India is less crowded in terms

of investment and capital growth. However, there is a pool of skilled manpower

and a developed distri­bution system, where IT companies can look for greater

potentials.”

He further added that as the attrition rate is becoming higher in India

particularly in the southern and eastern quarters, companies across the nation

are developing aggressive technical training programs for IT freshers who are

pulling up the company costs. “Moreover, small and medium NRI investments are

generating employment on a very small scale but the prospects seem to be dim

compared to the MNCs in terms of operations, marketing policies and the

infrastructure it has,” he said.

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Citing the importance of IT companies, Arup Dasgupta, MD, Metalogic Systems

emphasized that academia cannot produce skilled and industry ready professionals

and the onus lies with the IT companies to make them more productive. “IT

companies share the bulk of software exports, Rs 1.5 lakh is being spent on each

employee every year for training and refresher courses,” he added.

HCL Infosystems and Capgemini Consulting India are all set to make their

presence felt in the eastern region. In this effort, Capgemini has plans to

increase their headcount by 2,000 in Bengal by the end of Q3 FY 08-09.

Sharing his plans about India operation, Baru S Rao, CEO, Capgemini

Consulting India said, “We will be shifting to the new Unitech SEZ facility by

the next week-end where 1,700 employees may be accommodated. Also, by 2010, we

aim to have 40,000 employees in India raising our Indian person­nel headcount to

40 percent of the global operations. Currently, 26 percent of our total global

workforce operates from India.”

Discussing the possibi­lities in IT in Bengal, Kiran Karnik, former

President, Nasscom said that Bengal should concentrate on engineering and

security services in the domain of IT, while multimedia and gaming options can

be explored at a later stage.

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