Rs.2,500 crore turnover * 25,000 employees in IT industry
The exercise launched by the YSR Congress Party Government to roll out a new IT policy has raised high hopes among investors in the State.
The Hyderabad-centric approach before bifurcation had denied the place due to large, medium and small investors in IT and IT Enabled Services in the State.
This time the major players in the industry hope that instead of empty rhetoric, concrete action will be taken to give much needed booster dose to the highly potential export-oriented sector.
Incidentally, Visakhapatnam, the Executive Capital proposed by the government, remained the second largest IT hub after Hyderabad before bifurcation. The city has all the ingredients to become a major IT destination with an excellent scenic beachfront, green-capped valley, availability of talent pool, air connectivity, affordable housing, and social infrastructure.
Andhra Pradesh has 250 IT companies of various sizes with a workforce of 25 000. Major employers include Conduent, Concentrix, WNS, Patra India BPO, Tech Mahindra, Fluentgrid, Miracle City, and Symbiosys Technologies.
Software Technology Parks of India Joint Director Mr. M.P. Dubey said Visakhapatnam accounted for 90% of Rs.2,500 crore turnover recorded in the State last year. Lion’s share of revenue is from exports and the majority of companies are into business processes management.
Hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry in Visakhapatnam, however, is credited with being the first among tier-1 and 2 cities to migrate to work from home (WFH) mode immediately after the declaration of nationwide lockdown.
“This was possible due to our preparation to face any eventuality after Hudhud cyclone devastated the city in 2014 and excellent support from the district administration,” IT Association of AP (ITAAP) president Sreedhar Kosaraju said.
He said though the pandemic had hit their expected growth this fiscal, they were confident of making significant strides during 2020-21 with health, pharma, and insurance sectors already showing signs of encouraging growth.
He sought a roadmap for creating built-up space to plug and play operators and efforts with local industries to propel investments in emerging disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning, internet of things, analytics, cloud computing, cybersecurity, and data science, security, and mining.
He thanked the government for issuing GO for releasing pending incentives and hoped that an amount of Rs.22.59 crore pending till January, 2019 would be released soon to benefit 136 firms. Mr. Kosaraju said concerted efforts were required to roll out a pro-active IT Policy for 2020-25 to send positive signals that AP offers a conducive climate and ecosystem for the growth of the IT industry.
Besides Visakhapatnam, Kakinada, and Rajamahendravaram region, which is emerging as the second largest IT destination in AP after Visakhapatnam also needs to focus on improving existing infrastructure.
Mr. Kosaraju said Tirupati, Anantapur, and Vijayawada should be developed as prominent IT clusters to generate jobs and increase foreign exchange earnings.