Goa seeks to woo IT industry

Goa seeks to woo IT industry

Wednesday, 03 November 2004, 08:00 Hrs
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PANAJI: Desperate to woo IT companies, Goa is promising the industry cheaper land, good infrastructure and other sops.

India's smallest state of 1.4 million has announced yet another IT policy, after earlier plans got caught in political changes, turning the inflow of IT units to the state into a trickle.

Caught between India's 'Silicon Valley' Bangalore and other IT-savvy cities like Hyderabad, Pune, Mumbai and Kochi, Goa says it would offer infrastructure that would make the state a "plug and play economy".

In recent months, the Goa government has said that some IT majors have shown an interest in the state. But while investments have taken their time in coming, units set up here earlier have floundered or even closed shop.

Under a new IT policy unveiled here, the government has promised to give the IT industry "incentives to reduce the gap of opportunity for IT/ITES (Infotech and IT-enabled services) industries locating in Goa".

It said that land would be given at "institutional rates" for large investments and the top 20 IT companies.

"Scarcity of land mass in the (small) state and substantially high commercial rates of land have been a major obstruction in the development of campuses by key players in the industry," a government official admitted.

The government has promised annual events to "promote local technology" and sales tax exemptions for IT/ITES industry for five more years and has promised to pay 30 percent of the salary to local employees.

It is not clear how sustainable such pledges are, but the Goa government's slow progress in promoting IT has come in for some criticism here.

Earlier, a number of industrial units in other sectors flocked to Goa to take advantage of the state's tax holidays. But with the end of such liberal sops, many units have shut down while a few have begun talking of relocating.

To lure the IT units, the government is promising stamp duty reimbursement and higher FAR (floor-area ratios) that would allow IT units to grow vertically in addition to what is allowed.

This is seen as a move to benefit the sector, without the government having to spend from its own budget.

Source: IANS
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