Give fillip to IT startups, Kuncolienkar tells govt

Nitin-Kunkolienkar_passportPANAJI: Stating that Goa does not need a high-profile IT policy, the IT advisory committee of the state government, which will be redrafting the IT policy of Goa, maintained that the state government should ‘pamper’ IT startups in Goa and provide their manufactured goods – mostly electronic system design and manufacturing products – with preferential access to market, if the objective to develop job-creating IT industry in Goa is to be achieved.

Startup is an entrepreneurial venture or a new business in the form of a company, a partnership or temporary organisation designed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model.

Maintaining that there is a need to create a model of backup service and key driver to attract IT jobs, Nitin Kuncolienkar, a member of the committee, speaking to ‘The Navhind Times’ said  the committee will meet soon after Diwali, and seek suggestions from the stakeholders. “The meeting will be preferably held during the weekend, as also video conferencing would be employed to interact with members who cannot make it to the meeting,” he added, informing that one or two new members could be added to the panel.

The committee headed by Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar includes technocrats and stalwarts from the Indian IT industry as its members. They are R Chandrashekhar, former Union secretary for telecom and president of the National Association of Software and Service Companies, Dr Omkar Rai, Director General of Software technology Parks of India, M N Vidyashankar, president of the Indian Electronics Semiconductor Association, and T V Mohandas Pai, chairman of Manipal Global Education, besides Kuncolienkar.

Ajai Chowdhry, a founder member of HCL and Ashank Desai, the NASSCOM co-founder are tipped to be included in the committee.

Coming out with the information that altogether 2,586 IT professionals pass out of various educational institutions in Goa annually, Kuncolienkar said that the modified IT policy of Goa is expected to annually create business  opportunities in the state by generating 5,000 jobs in IT sector, employing 2,000 IT professionals, besides 3,000 non-IT professionals in areas such as call centres and so on. He pointed out that the IT-related manpower development courses available in Goa, should however be redesigned to suit the requirement of the IT industry – possibly with introduction of skill training centres – as the passing out IT professionals are found to be lacking in the desired IT skills.

“A total of 2,586 youths who complete IT or IT-related courses, pass out from Goan educational institutions every year, besides many of the local students moving out of the state to undertake IT or IT-related courses,” Kuncolienkar observed, pointing out that the IT field could be broadly classified into five categories namely ESDM, IT software development, IT enabled services, creative IT – including animation, gaming software, film colorisation, film restoration, digitisation of documents and pictures, and so on – and finally, IT startups.

“Annually, Goa can generate a workforce of 680 to 700 youth for ESDM-related jobs, and 850 to 900 youth for IT software development,” he maintained, adding that non-IT professionals can work in the sector of IT enabled services like call centres, business process outsourcing and document process outsourcing, while creative IT sector would required specialised training, presently not available in the state.

Kuncolienkar stated that the IT policy of Goa needs to stress on creation of IT zones in every taluka of the state in an area admeasuring between 1,000 sq mts and 2,000 sq mts, with the provision of good telecom infrastructure including broadband service, subsidised power, and so on.

“Furthermore, around 10,000 Goans active in the IT field reside outside the state, and at the most 10 per cent of them could return if an IT revolution takes place here,” he mentioned, “And this percentage will not go up as Goa will never be able to create IT clusters as available in Hyderabad, Bangalore and Pune.”

Kuncolienkar said that international company like IFB, which has its unit in Verna, imports 6 lakh controller cards from China, and they could be provided in Goa itself.

“And then there are many such IT-related jobs available here,” he stated, observing that most of the IT-related units in Goa are working only 30 per cent to 35 per cent of their capacity.

Kuncolienkar revealed that 65 per cent of the electronic goods consumption takes place in southern and western India, 25 per cent in North and the remaining 10 per cent in the eastern part.

“Goa, for the import purpose, mainly depends on Mumbai, and the related freight charges are very expensive,” he noted, adding that the state government needs to provide incentives on these freight charges for IT-related field, besides abolishing the central sales tax on ESDM products.

On a parting note, Kuncolienkar said that Chief Secretary R K Srivastava, during the recent meeting of the IT advisory committee has directed that a meeting of the ESDM units existing in Goa be convened soon to find out if they are willing to move to the electronic city, proposed in Tuem in North Goa, as also the future requirements of these units.