GUJARAT is known for its people’s business acumen and entrpreneural ability. However, information technology hasn’t been its biggest strength. Nasscom is now looking to change that. It has suggested that startup warehouses be set up in the state. Such warehouses will allow those with innovative ideas to avail mentorship, exposure to angel investors and venture capital funds, technology and instruments like simulators and emulators for testing their products.
Jaimin Shah, Nasscom regional council member—Gujarat sees these warehouses as “an IT workspace where people can plug-and-play and watch their dreams become a reality”. “Due to institutions such as Indian Space and Research Organisation and even individual investors, we are good at sensor-based technologies. Nasscom wishes to build a Centre for Excellence or warehouses in the state for Internet of Things (IoT). Another vertical that Gujarat is targetting is data analytics,” he says.
About 15 years back, Gujarat was not part of the initial IT boom, unlike Bengaluru and Hyderabad, possibly because the skills were not available then. “Technical education was also not a preferred choice here as there was a traditional business mindset,” says Vivek Ogra, chairman and director, Gujarat Electronics and Software Industries Association (GESIA). “It is now changing towards a value-oriented business, and we should now create our own opportunities in technology excellence. The government should also provide incentives to big companies to set up their units here because we have the talent now.”
In an interaction with mediapersons in Ahmedabad before its first-ever annual retreat in Gujarat, CP Gurnani, chairman, Nasscom, had deplored the “skill gap” between the educational institutes in Gujarat and the needs of the industry. Efforts are being made to address the gap, with Nasscom signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Gujarat Technological University (GTU) to enhance academic and intellectual interaction. Over the next few months, Nasscom will hold discussions with the state government for providing infrastructure for the IT industry.
Nasscom will provide industry-defined curriculum to the nearly 200 educational institutes under GTU. Nasscom’s Shah adds, “Such a curriculum will allow institutes to learn about the needs of the industry and include them in their options for elective subjects.”
These short-term training programmes are not limited to just IT. Nasscom has also defined the syllabus for foundation skills in construction and heavy equipment for mechanical and civil engineering courses. Representatives of firms including Tata Technologies, AXISCADES, Caterpillar, L&T Technology Services and Geometric will come to Gujarat for these courses.
While the excitement is palpable, some work is still required at the ground level to actually realise these dreams. Ogra suggests that the government can kickstart the process by bringing in top five accelerators. “We need to create Palo Alto-like clusters in Gujarat,” he says.