T.N. aims to be South Asia’s ICT hub, says Revenue Minister

Udhayakumar requests industry to take advantage of investor-friendly policies

The State government is actively promoting IT in the State with the objective of becoming the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) hub of South Asia by creating a knowledge driven ecosystem, leveraging entrepreneurship and promoting socially inclusive growth to achieve a 25% production share of the Indian ICT industry, said R.B. Udhayakumar, Minister for Revenue and Disaster Management, and Information Technology.

Addressing the inaugural session of CII Connect 2020 — the flagship annual ICT conference and exhibition, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry in partnership with the Government of Tamil Nadu — the Minister requested the industry to take advantage of the investor-friendly policies of both the Central and State governments and establish IT industries in emerging technologies like blockchain, artificial intelligence and IoT and in electronics manufacturing, thereby increasing employment opportunities in the State.

Increased exports

Mr. Udhayakumar pointed out that the State attracted investment of ₹11,974 crore in the IT/ITeS sector during the second Global Investors Meet held in January 2019. IT/ITeS exports increased by nearly 12% to ₹1.39 lakh crore in 2019-20 as against ₹1.23 lakh crore the previous year. Employment by the sector increased again by nearly 12% to 7.4 lakh in 2019-20.

Hans Raj Verma, Secretary, Information Technology Department, indicated that the State government would be releasing a series of policies for the IT sector. “Using COVID-19 as an opportunity, the IT sector with all its strategic partnerships, all the stakeholders can look for a bright future,” he said.

Hari K. Thiagarajan, chairman, CII Tamil Nadu State Council, said that the current pandemic had created both challenges and opportunities for the Indian IT industry. “Due to COVID, a lot of opportunities have opened up in the IT industry, such as the growing need for 5G technology. Telehealth is one of the developing industries. This could help people to get diagnosed, treated and operated without the need of a physician to be physically present. A lot of apps have been built in the past few months to help achieve this,” he said.

Mr. Thiagarajan said there were many patients — who were in self-quarantine, who needed medical supervision and medical assistance every day — and these applications could help them achieve that.

Many success stories

C.K. Ranganathan, deputy chairman, CII Southern Region, said Tamil Nadu was an innovation-based economy with a strong presence in manufacturing and services. “Chennai has also become a hub for software-as-a-service startups with many success stories from players in the State,” he said, highlighting that senior leaders should link up mentors and startups.

Suresh Raman, chairman, CII Connect 2020, mentioned that over the last few years, the event had been successful in implementing several initiatives in the State — like ICT Academy, specialised technology parks, new developments in the aero park, MRO hub and IT consortium for skill development — which could be attributed as a direct outcome of Connect.

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