IT dream bursts like a bubble

Bhubaneswar: The state government in a presentation had mooted to achieve the target of Rs 5,000 crore annual turn over from the IT sector by 2012 while it dreamt of creating two lakh jobs in the IT sector by 2015. Companies like the Infosys and Satyam-Mahindra including ICICI, Genpact ITES and BPOs were on the loop. But what is the reality and how far the state is from achieving the target?

The ICICI bank entered into an agreement with the government on May 27,2007, to open its Eastern Hub Centre in Bhubaneswar and to provide jobs to 15,000 IT personnel. However, the company till date functions only on pen and paper.

Consider the IT SEZ project by DLF. The company signed an MOU with the government on November10,2006 to open the SEZ with an investment of Rs. 1,000 crore. Chief minister Naveen Pattanaik laid the foundation stone of the company nearly two and half years after the MOU in February, 2009. The company however has withdrawn from the SEZ clause and instead commenced the work of its Info Park. It took almost five years for the inconsequential achievement.

Likewise, the K Raheja Group on May 27,2008 to open an IT Park named Mindspace in Bhubaneswar with an investment of Rs 250 crore. The project was to be completed in three years and provide employments to 12,000 IT professionals. Three years after signing the MOU the project is yet to take off. Similarly chief minister Naveen Pattanaik on November 21,2007, laid the foundations of the IT SEZ proposed project by Genpact. The state government had a stake in the project as well. It had to create 4,000 jobs for IT professionals. The joint venture remains in pen and paper till date.

Another software giant Wipro has just opened its office in Bhubaneswar while there has been no recruitment. The IT division of Posco too has already shifted its Posco-ICT office to New Delhi in March last year after its steel project ran into trouble in Paradip. Insiders in the Science and Technology department revealed that Gens Technology and IPJ Sunder Group too have lost interest to invest in the IT sector in the state. The only consolation for the state government in the recent past was that the Bangalore based IT company Mindtree opened its branch in Bhubaneswar.

Barely 12,000 IT professionals were engaged in the sector at present. In 2010-2011 the volume of IT trade was hardly worth Rs 1,300 crore. No one knows when the dream will be fulfilled or will remain a dream only.