Global financial crisis hits IT industry in Punjab

Written by Swarleen Kaur | Chandigarh | Updated: Dec 4 2008, 06:55am hrs
The information technology industry in Punjab , which began in the year 2008 on a positive note now faces harrowing times towards the year-end as the global economic slowdown started to spread its wings into India.

The impact of global meltdown spilled over to Punjab in October when a software major in Mohali, Quark, showed 147 contractual staffers the door. Besides the growth of IT, special economic zones (SEZ) in the state remained sluggish. Though there are more than 18 SEZ projects proposed in Punjab but till date only one SEZ belonging to Quarkcity became a reality.

The slow growth of these projects exhorted the state government to introduce SEZ Act, which suggested a single-window system so that developers get all the necessary clearances from one single point. The Act has received deemed approval and will be implemented shortly.

Talking about some significant decisions to push the growth of IT sector in the state, senior executive director of Punjab Information and Communication Technology Corporation Limited (Infotech), Rakesh Nangia said, To bring the IT revolution in the state, for the first time state government roped in leading consultancy Ernst and Young to prepare strategy and action plan for IT/ITES industry. Now the consultancy will help us in implementing this action plan, which has strongly recommended improvement of infrastructure, connectivity and introduce some changes in the existing IT policy in the state. A special task force and vision group will be constituted for creating the brand image for the state to attract the IT investments. The state government spent Rs 40 lakh in carrying out the IT action plan and will further spend few crores in executing it.

The main problem in the coming times will be of talent crunch. There is proposal that courses like Global Think Tank (GTT) and The Nasscom Assessment of Competence (NAC) programme should be introduced in Punjab, which will help in creating a talent pool. Apart from this, the state government has decided to build IT parks in Kapurthala (on 100 acre), rail majra (12 acre) and Ropar (100 acre). Important decisions have been taken but the implementation will take some time, Nangia added.

IT sector in Punjab has been dominated by small and medium enterprises (SMEs). More than 250 units are registered with Software Technology Park of India (STPI) Mohali out of which around 135 units have been lying non-functional from the last three years. The state government has failed to motivate these units. However, STPI registered exports to tune of Rs 822.27 crore this year.

Ripple effect

The impact of global financial meltdown spilled over to Punjab in October when a software major in Mohali, Quark, showed 147 contractual staffers the door

Allthough there are more than 18 SEZ projects proposed in Punjab but till date only one SEZ belonging to Quarkcity became a reality