West Bengal aiming to become IT destination

West Bengal aiming to become IT destination

Friday, 05 November 2004, 08:00 Hrs
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BANGALORE: West Bengal is seeking to emerge as one of the top three top IT destinations in the country by 2010, aiming to generate at least 15 percent of India's total IT revenue by the end of the current decade.

The West Bengal government has drawn up an ambitious 'IT vision' for attracting investments by global and Indian IT majors towards this ultimate target.

West Bengal IT Minister Manabendra Mukherjee said here that several IT majors in software and business process outsourcing (BPO) services had shown interest in setting up their units in the state as part of their expansion plans to capitalise on the booming outsourcing and off-shoring business.

"In IT services, we are targeting 12-14 percent of software exports, 15 percent of all product development and R&D outsourcing and 10 percent of domestic software services and product development," Mukherjee said at the state's pavilion in the IT.Com exposition here.

"Similarly, in the IT-enabled Services (IteS), we are aiming to achieve 20 percent of BPO revenues, 18-20 percent share of call centre business and 30 percent of animation and knowledge services," Mukherjee told IANS.

India's IT bellwether Wipro, which is opening its software development and BPO centre (Wipro Spectramind) in Kolkata Nov 19, is seeking an additional 50 acres of land for expanding its West Bengal operations over the next two years.

"Wipro's first facility in West Bengal is located at the Salt Lake Electronics Complex with an investment of 1 billion to house about 2,000 software professionals.

"It plans to ramp up its headcount to 6,000 in the next 24 months by expanding its operations at the New Salt Lake Hi-Tech City, coming up near the Dum Dum international airport," Mukherjee disclosed.

Reliance Group has also agreed to set up a centre of excellence, christened Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information Technology in Kolkata.

It is Infocomm division that has laid out the optical fibre cable network across the state as part of its national broadband access project.

"We are in dialogue with Reliance Infocomm for setting up a 500-seat call centre, a telecommunication centre with R&D facilities and a large IT centric infrastructure project over 100 acres known as Knowledge City," the minister said.

In a bid to attract big-ticket companies from Karnataka, the minister has held discussions with a dozen IT and BPO firms located in Bangalore.

"A few major IT firms such as Texas Instruments, Sun Microsystems, iGate Global Solutions, Sasken Communications, 24x7 Customer.Com and Ness Technologies have responded positively to our invitation.

"Even Infosys officials have assured us to send a team to Bengal soon for studying the enabling environment to set up its offshore development centre in Kolkata," Mukherjee claimed.

With IBM, HSBC, GE Capital, TCS, Siemens, Cognizant Technology Solutions and the Chatterjee group making Kolkata their base, the state capital has 205 IT firms, employing about 21,000 people and generating 17.6 billion in revenues last fiscal (2003-04).

As part of its 2010 IT Vision, the West Bengal government is developing secondary cities such as Kharagpur, Durgapur, Siliguri and Haldia.

"The Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) is opening its new tech parks at Durgapur, Siliguri and Haldia in the next 10-12 months. With two STPIs in Kolkata and Kharagpur, the state will have five STPI centres for providing state-of-the-art facilities to technology firms," Mukherjee affirmed.

Highlighting the state's USP, the minister claimed Kolkata had significantly lower cost of operations vis-à-vis other cities in the country, besides quality infrastructure, surplus power, high-speed connectivity and plenty of built-up space and land.

"The DLF group from (New) Delhi is building one of the single largest IT projects in Kolkata at a cost of 2 billion. Spread over 600 acres, the park is scheduled to be completed by 2007," Mukherjee added.



Source: IANS
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