AP brewing IT policy that has companies asking for more
The sunrise state’s constant determination to form a cohesive and efficient IT policy is seeing its bureaucrats tweak and adapt to a policy that would not only be best suited for companies but also stand out as a model policy in the country.
The DTP (designated technology park) policy was lauded by the industry as an effective policy and a policy that gave the much needed impetus to companies to come and establish presence in the state.
‘We walk the talk’ says Mr Anoop Singh, IFS, Special Secretary to government, group CEO APEITA. We have moved swiftly catering to the demands of the IT industry here and more importantly resolving their concerns and apprehensions.
There is soo much happening in the IT space in Andhra Pradesh that we are soon going to be short on space here he says.
This state of euphoria certainly augurs well for the sunrise state considering that AP had taken a major hit on the IT front post the bifurcation. IT exports of the combined state of Andhra Pradesh wherein Hyderabad used to be the jewel of exports garnered well over Rs 70,000 crores. Post bifurcation Andhra Pradesh’s IT exports are miniscule when compared to the behemoth numbers of its neighbor Telangana.
Though the exact numbers are still being worked upon IT experts put the export figures at a mere Rs 2000 crores.
As the sun rise state gears up to rebuild an efficient IT and startup policy kudos is being given to the dynamic leadership of the young IT minister, Mr N Nara Lokesh.
We are fortunate to have such a young and capable minister leading us on the IT front says Mr RL Narayana, president ITAAP. Agrees Mr Murali Krishna, Chairman CII, Vizag chapter, the IT minister meets us once every month to take stock of things.
He has really transformed things for the better and we are seeing great traction in terms of companies evincing interest in setting up their bases here.
Talking on the policy front Mr Sankara Reddy Vaka, Joint Director (Promotions), ITE&C, GoAP says that the government has come up with a new consolidated IT policy which will see a healthy mix of both large and small companies.
To the lack of available space for IT companies, Mr Reddy states it will soon be a thing of the past.
‘We are working towards creating 10 million sq ft of additional IT space just in Vizag. Companies will certainly not have a space problem here’ says Mr Reddy.
This will do two things one solve the problem for IT companies who have complaints of not finding space here while give a fillip to developers who were apprehensive of not finding enough takers for IT parks.
Projected to be developed over the next 2-3 years, the government is said to be in discussion with a couple of developers who will not only build this gargantuan space but also market it to companies.
Attracting companies is one thing however hiring and retaining talent has been a major issue that has bogged IT companies for long in this region.
To address this concern Mr Narayana says that ITAAP will focus on skill development and making hires employable.
Out of the 20,000 graduates in Vizag majority of them need skill up gradation. Their communication skills need to be worked upon he says. Similarly awareness among young graduates on the number of IT jobs available in the city is also very poor.
We face mass migration to metropolises as young job seekers assume that the city has nothing to offer.
‘18000 jobs is what the city will create in the next 1 year alone’ says the ITAAP president.
He says ITAAP will hold road shows and awareness camps in order to market these job openings.
Another major concern faced typically by smaller IT companies has been the lack of implementation of Preferential Market Access (PMA), which gives local IT companies access to the large number of government projects. As per PMA about 30% of projects of AP government need to be given to companies of AP or companies that have significant presence here.
This says an IT veteran is still not addressed by the government. ‘You have companies that for paper sake have 1 person/registration in Andhra Pradesh but are actually registered and operated in Hyderabad. These non-resident companies get significant contracts leaving local Andhra companies out of access. This is not fair and needs to be corrected at the earliest’ says the IT veteran.