IT grows but development an issue

Written by Vani Aseem Grover | Preeti Parashar | Chandigarh, Dec 28 | Updated: Dec 29 2007, 06:36am hrs
A couple of years ago, Chandigarh had no presence on the IT map of the country. Then came Infosys and everything else is pass. The company set up its largest campus in north India at the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park (RGCTP). It is notably the IT sector leader in the region clocking the largest software exports ever since it started operations. Not only that, the number of software professionals in the RGCTP increased from 2,500 in Dec 2006 to more than 5,000 in Dec 2007 (100 % growth). In addition, total Investment in RGCTP touched 1,000 crore with Parsavnath launching the sale of high-end apartments in RGCTP. As the year ends on a positive note FE talked with industry experts.

Sanjay Tyagi, additional director, STPI, Mohali said that the region has been progressing well on the exports side and the growth of about 30% is in sync with the national figures. However, a slight decline as an after effect of dollar decline cannot be ruled out. "The good thing is that most companies in the region are in an expansion mode. In all probability, this year the region will touch Rs 750 crore of exports," he asserted.

Seconding his argument, Puneet Vatsayan, director Mobera Systems added that the past year witnessed IT sector in the entire three states gathering huge momentum. "The biggest achievement of the region is that attracting talent from Delhi, Bangalore is no more difficult. However, one issue that still needs to be resolved is development of IT across the tricity of Panchkula, Mohali and Chandigarh needs to be synchronised. Local governments have to appreciate the efforts put in by small IT companies otherwise where will small IT companies go," he said.

"A few concerns that remain are manpower crunch and various regulations which do not let the incubation concept pertaining to IT companies develop in the region," felt Pratap Aggrawal, MD, IDS Infotech. He, however, affirmed that the industry in the region is getting "meaty deals" from across the world. "To match up to the level of competency required for such work, even small players have worked hard to introduce quality management systems. Interestingly, majority of the players now operate in niche areas and provide to specialised clients only. A trend which could emerge next year is of mergers and acquisitions in the IT arena," he said.

Besides, the current year also witnessed players like Tech Mahindra starting operations from Chandigarh. Developing its campus over 10 acres in the second phase of RGCTP, the company plans to pump in Rs 150 crore and employ about 2,000 people initially for its software development center. This number is likely to swell to 5,000 within a year's time.

Even Infosys is all set to raise the headcount to 4,000 from the current about 2,000 at its Chandigarh campus. In addition to that, plans have been chalked out to invest about Rs 400 crore in the near term. This year, it would be even better since the company has added one more software development block.

The year also witnessed the launch of Entrepreneurs Development Centre at RGCTP. The Rs 16 Crore project which was conceived a couple of years back is expected to be completed by October 2008. Further, Chandigarh Administration in collaboration with NASSCOM and PEC also set up the Cyber Security and Research Centre at the Punjab Engineering College here.