‘We aim to grow ICT exports to Rs 400,000 Crores by 2020’

by Darinia Khongwir    Feb 01, 2013

ISN Prasad
The department of the IT-BT, Biotechnology and Science and Technology, Government of Karnataka is a busy office these days. After submitting the ICT Report to the state Chief Minister recently, it is now awaiting implementation nod. CXOtoday.com spoke to I S N Prasad, Principal Secretary, IT-BT, Government of Karnataka, on how the implementation will be carried out.

What is the IT-BT department gearing towards?

The IT-BT department, Government of Karnataka, is continuously engaged in the promotion of the IT, BT and S & T sectors in order to take these sectors to the next level of growth. Karnataka ICT Group was constituted under the Chairmanship of T V Mohandas Pai and Co-chairmanship of B V Naidu on June, 2012, during the Global Investors Meet. The ICT Group was asked to look into all aspects to enable growth of the sector and suggest road map for taking up initiatives for -
a) Increasing the ICT exports from the present Rs 1,350,00,00 Crores to Rs 400,000 Crores by 2020
b) Increasing the employment in ICT from the present 8 lakhs to 20 lakhs by 2020.
c) Create/ help incubate 1000 start-ups /entrepreneur-driven companies by 2020.

The ICT Group submitted a comprehensive report to Jagadish Shettar, Chief Minister of Karnataka on January 8, 2013, within a short span of about 6 months. The government have accepted the recommendations of the ICT Group and would implement the same in phases.

In the recent report to the CM, it was recommended to clear all IT projects in the next 90 days. What are these projects? How can they be cleared in such a short time?
The ICT Group recommended clearance of all pending IT projects within the next 90 days, as some projects are delayed due to non-allotment of land by Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB). Some projects which require land from KIADB get delayed due to prolonged land acquisition process, litigation cases in the courts, challenging land acquisition or payment of compensation. KIADB has been requested to expedite and clear such cases in the interest of the projects.

What are the benefits of declaring Bangalore a MICE Center?
Bangalore is internationally renowned city for various conventions both in the knowledge sector and traditional manufacturing sector. Conferences and exhibitions covering ICT, biotechnology, retailing, aerospace, construction, realty, furniture, clothing, automobiles, machinery and tools, engineering products etc. happen throughout the year. Most of the meetings, conferences and exhibitions happen in the ICT sector. Almost every other day, there is conference or exhibition organized by a trade body or a company, an organization and the like. Bangalore is, therefore, already a Centre for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) and a formal declaration to this effect would have a positive impact globally for the ICT sector.

Karnataka also wants to be a leader in Electronic System Design & Manufacturing (ESDM) in India. How do you plan to achieve that?
Karnataka is a leader in semiconductor designing, as 80% of the chip designing is done in Bangalore. About 80 of the 120 companies engaged in chip designing in India are located in Bangalore. We intend to be leaders in ESDM as we have the core competencies for the same. The various recommendations made by the ICT Group for promoting Karnataka ESDM companies would be implemented. Electronics Manufacturing Clusters would be established as per the National Electronics Policy and a focussed ESDM fund of about Rs 500 crores would be considered.

The state also wants to be preferred destination for ESDM investments in India. What is the department doing to get that in place.
Karnataka has an edge over the other states as we have the right ecosystem for attracting ESDM investments. The holistic approach recommended by the ICT Group would, when implemented, further enhance the global status of the state as an ideal destination for ESDM investment. Preferential market access to Karnataka based ESDM companies, branding, incentives for investments, incentives for Electronic Manufacturing Clusters, a focussed ESDM fund, incentives for promoting R & D, innovation, Patents and IPRs would be considered by the state government for the ESDM companies investing in the state.

The state also wants to achieve 5,000 patents filing till 2025. Is that feasible? What kind of patents are we looking at?
There is a huge global and domestic market for electronics products. The total revenue from the ESDM sector in India is expected to reach $400 billion US by 2020. Karnataka aims to capture 10% of the same by 2020. The ESDM export market is expected to reach $80 billion US by 2020 and Karnataka is expected to contribute to 20% of the same, that is, about $16 billion US. Karnataka is already a leader in chip designing and embedded software and this pre-eminent position will be maintained. Karnataka has core ESDM competencies in specific verticals such as defence electronics, telecom electronics, avionics, energy and automotives. There are many innovative products in these verticals, developed especially by the SMEs. Most of the innovative products are not patented as the SMEs find the process to be too cumbersome, time consuming and expensive. Mechanisms and systems would be put in place to enable registration of patents which will significantly enhance the number of patents for the State.