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Goa Inc still waiting for IT Policy

It has been over two years, since the new ‘Information Technology (IT) Policy’ has been launched. In fact, it was launched with much fanfare in December 2015. However, the Policy which promised the moon was never in action. It is now learnt that it will finally see the light of the day by March 2018, after it gets some deft touches by well-known consultancy firm – Ernst Young. Notwithstanding, the IT firms of Goa have already started their self-defined alternate route, just to survive in the ever-changing and fast-moving world.This is what an IT czar who knows a thing or two about this space had to say on a recent visit to Goa. “Goa needs to do a lot in infrastructure development and connectivity, especially seamless wireless connection to draw in big ticket companies. The basic eco-systems are required for big companies to come in and set up their units,” said Mohandas Pai, Former Chief Financial Officer of Infosys.The Minister of Information Technology of Goa government, Rohan Khaunte said, “There is a lot of tuning which is required and we needed someone to come in and fine tune the policy with a focussed and time-bound approach. Professional help was required. Hence it was given to Ernst Young. The target of the government is to complete everything before March 2018, which includes infrastructure requirements. However, we will be rolling out our Start-Up Policy by January-end or first week of February, 2018.”
In the recent past, a seven-member delegation of Goa Technology Association (GTA) met with Chief Minister, Manohar Parrikar to request him to consider releasing the new amended IT Policy as early as possible.President of GTA, Mangirish Salelkar had also presented some pointers to Chief Minister Parrikar which may have helped him and his cabinet to frame the new policy better. GTA had also presented a document with data which they obtained after doing a survey of at least 100 IT companies based out of Goa. GTA had already presented these before the government earlier.“IT revolution in Goa started decades ago, when the government of Goa did not have an idea of what this industry was all about. However, the government still continues taking their new year’s resolution to release the IT policy every year. Existence of more than 150 IT companies in Goa itself proves how focused and dedicated the tech entrepreneurs are in doing business and generating employment in Goa despite there being any support. The scene today looks like, the tech start-ups and companies in Goa are no more waiting for the policies from the government for doing ease of business or support, they have already started scaling up with their alternatives,” said Mangirish Salelkar, CEO and Co-Founder of Umang Software Technologies who is also the President of the Goa’s largest tech body the Goa Technology Association (GTA).
The All India President of the Manufacturing Association of Information Technology (MAIT), Nitin Kunkolienker meanwhile raised a new issue that seeing the problems in Goa, “We cannot create more centralisation in and around Panjim. We need to create a different model to work for Goa. It is very clear that no big IT companies will come to Goa for establishing their work set-ups. We have talked to plenty and looking at the availability and the quality of educational infrastructure and manpower. Do not expect Infosys or Wipro to come to Goa. We do not have the eco-system to drive them. We cannot blame anyone and we need to understand that we can get Tier-II or Tier-III business houses in IT sector and mid-level people who are design centric. Goa has great potential in that sector. If you have one lakh square meters of space in Goa for a plug and play, one needs to have 40-50,000 people working there. This is not possible in Goa.”
Mr Kunkolienker added that one needs to create more locations in a small state rather than creating a hub like Chimbel. “Why should government give a subsidy of Rs 200 crore for employing hardly 2500 people in Chimbel? According to my calculation it may amount to Rs eight lakh per person as subsidy. Instead of that government can create entrepreneurs and job creators rather than creating employment. The education system needs to be transformed and aligned to industry needs,” added Mr Kunkolienker.But with the formal IT Policy on the anvil, the road map is likely to be defined in 2018. It’s a space worth watching .[H]

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