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An opportunity to leapfrog towards urbanization using IT: Secy, Info Tech, Jharkhand

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The IT sector has the potential for massive employment generation especially making it a dominant player in the global outsourcing sector, believes Sunil Kumar Barnwal, Secretary, Information Technology, Jharkhand, in a conversation with Ankush Kumar.

Some Edited Excerpts :

With an aim to promote IT and electronics in the state of Jharkhand, what are the steps that have been taken to ensure that the IT industry manages to grow and thrive in your state?

We have initiated several steps to promote IT & electronics industry in the state. The following are the various kinds of support to ensure the growth of IT and electronics :-

Policy related support: The Government of Jharkhand presently has a user friendly IT Policy. However, we have recently appointed EY as a consultant for promotion & implementation of IT/ ITeS sector in Jharkhand State, in which IT / ITeS policy and ESDM Policy as well as Electronic Policy are being, framed a fresh. We have also strategically planned various action steps/plan for organizing the IT summits, various conference to establish Jharkhand as an Investment Brand, Investment Promotion Strategy/ Program and Road Shows.

Infrastructure Support: Recently the World Bank has ranked Jharkhand 3rd in ease of doing business. We are developing infrastructure like land, internet connectivity, road/ air connectivity & power. Approx 170 Acres of land in HEC Area has been identified for establishment of IT Park, Incubation Centre/ Innovation Centre. Four STPIs have been sanctioned at Jamshedpur, Bokaro & Deoghar. Construction at Jamshedpur & Dhanbad have started.

We are connecting all Gram Panchayats on OFC with the help of BBNL. Recently OFC connectivity has been implemented in 1040 GPs of 7 districts in the State of Jharkhand. For the rest 17 districts we are creating SPV.

Well connected Road/ Rail & Air infrastructure is available for Ranchi. Power facilities are available in Jharkhand and we have implemented SCADA like system across the state for proper monitoring of the electricity.

Skilled Manpower: The State boasts few of the top technical institutes of India, such as Indian School of Mines – Dhanbad, IIM- Ranchi, BIT- Sindri, XLRI- Jamshedpur, NIT- Jamshedpur, BIT- Mesra, Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT-R) at Ranchi in the eastern region. They are nurturing skilled manpower. Apart from this Govt of Jharkhand is associated with NIELIT & CDAC for IT Training Programs.

What is your view of the Information Technology sector in the state, given the fact that now we are seeing lot of new interest from the international investor community in India?

The IT sector has the potential for massive employment generation especially making it a dominant player in the global outsourcing sector. The IT sector focuses on providing low cost solutions in the services business of global IT. We have been working on improving the IT infrastructure in the state. BharatNet is being implemented in full swing to ensure Internet connectivity down to the village level. We are also setting up technology parks in Bokaro, Ranchi, Dhanbad and Jamshedpur. Government of Jharkhand is also mulling upon setting up an air cargo station in Jharkhand and also planning to take steps to ensure availability of skilled workforce for the IT industry.

Talking about challenges, IT infrastructural problems are one of the issues which is now being addressed by Government initiatives. Air Connectivity in Dhanbad / Jamshedpur is a major concern and Government is taking all efforts to get this done. Land tansfer were also deterrents in the IT sector development.

Connectivity has been the real challenge for most of the less developed states. What steps are being taken to ensure that the connectivity situation in the Jharkhand becomes better than what it is today?

Connecting all Gram Panchayat on OFC. Presently BBNL has provided OFC connectivity in 1040 GP out of 1412 GPs of 7 districts in linear mode. Ring connectivity of rest GPs of 17 districts and ring structure of present 7 districts will be done by state SPV. We have started work of formation of state SPV for OFC connectivity upto GP and further extension to all Govt. establishment in GPs.

Presently 1200 CSCs is being put on wireless connectivity. Govt of Jharkhand has published industry friendly mobile tower policy. Operators are providing connectivity in all areas.

For further strengthening of e-Governance in rural areas we are setting up Rural WiFi. WiFi in 10 Gram Panchayats has been inaugurated by MOCIT Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad and it will be extended to 404 GPs in three months time.

Please share your plans to revamp your state into an entrepreneurial hub by encouraging private investment in various sectors?

We have recently appointed EY as a consultant for promotion & implementation of IT/ ITeS sector in Jharkhand State, in which IT/ ITeS policy and ESDM Policy as well as Electronic Policy are being framed. We have also strategically planned various action steps/plan for organizing the IT summits, various conference to establish Jharkhand as an Investment Brand, Investment Promotion Strategy/ Program and Road Shows.

The Government is providing various incentives/ concessions to attract investors- Major players like Tata Technology Ltd, Louis Finance, White Tiger and Nath Corp. have their presence in the State and are on the road to further expand their operations under the favorable industrial policies and IT initiatives by the State Government.

Large IT players ike HCL, Persistent, Wipro and TCS are also geared up to make their presence in the State.

The State is also setting up four software technology parks (STPI) in Bokaro, Dhanbad, Deograh and Jamshedpur. These parks will be equipped with all modern facilities which are required for smoothly operating software export units.

What are some of the key initiatives and projects that is transforming the state with the help of Information Technology?

Some of the key initiatives and projects that is transforming the State with the help of Information Technology are as follows:-

Works and Accounts Management Information System (WAMIS) – Maintaining & monitoring the works and accounts of Works Departments (DWSD, RWD, Forest, Water Resource & Road Construction) in a seamless way.

Skill Development Project – Training of ST/SC Candidates of the State is being given by NIELIT & C-DAC under Skill Development Project. In 1st Phase NIELIT will provide training to 600 ST/SC candidates of 10 Districts (Gumla, Ramgarh, Latehar, Chatra, Jamtara, Saraikela-kharsawa, Dumka, Lohardaga and Simdega). C-DAC will provide training to 640 ST/SC candidates of the state in two districts (Ranchi & Dhanbad)

Comprehensive Labour Management System : Online registration, renewal and amendment under 17 labour acts – Shop & Establishment Act, Factories Act, Boilers Act, Contract Labour Act, Building & Construction Worker’s Act are online. Single sign-on started. Rated as No-1 site for CLMS by DIPP. This has been developed in-house by JAPIT.

Other initiatives are e-Office, State Data Centre, JharNet 2.0, Software Technology Park, Integrated Finance Management System for Finance Department, National Land Record Modernization Program, National Land Record Modernization Program, e- Mulakat – State Video Conferencing Solution, Mukhyamantri JanSamvad and e-District.

Our some of the upcoming projects are City Wi-Fi which is a ubiquitous wireless coverage, primarily using Wi-Fi technology allows a broad range of end users (citizens, students, tourists, businesses) to access the Internet at high speeds from desktop, PCs, laptops and Wi-Fi equipped hand-helds.

The other futuristic project is for operation of Rural BPOs where a total of Rs 100 lakhs is proposed for FY 2016-17.

Also under IT/ITeS Incentive, recruitment incentive of Rs 2.5 lacs per 50 local people including those who have studied in the State, will be given to the IT/ITeS unit to encourage employment of local people. This will be onetime benefit with maximum limit of Rs. 25 lacs. For this purpose the fund proposed for the FY 2016-17 is Rs. 200 lakhs.

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