By Manoj Mishra
Very few states in India have undergone such profound changes as Odisha in the past decade. The state has radically transformed and expanded and enormous growth has been the hallmark of the state. The state is marching ahead with renewed confidence towards a new Odisha adopting new ideas, innovation and entrepreneurship. Odisha is now fast emerging as a technology resource hub of India.
Professional services are on the rise and executive spending power has boosted the state’s economy and the state is truly now a "Destination of the Future" with the growing scale of investment, talent pool and ambition.
One thing Odisha has in abundance is even more room to grow. More startups and young creatives are to be found than before now boosting the state’s burgeoning ecosystem for business growth.
IT sector is an area where Odisha is gaining national attention. Odisha today stands among the major states of India that are contributing to the economy through Information Technology. Software exports from the state are also recording consistent growth over the years and today the IT exports from the state have touched to about Rs 7500 crore per annum. Apart from this, the ITES, BPO, KPO and Electronics sectors are also growing due to the various incentives provided by the government.
As part of its marquee 5T Initiatives which have become the backbone of the state’s transformative journey, the Odisha government has increased spending on Information Technology and Digital Initiatives.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik recently inaugurated IBM’s client innovation centre (CIC) at O-Hub, Chandaka Industrial Estate in Bhubaneswar, further emboldening the IT ecosystem in the state.The new centre will position Odisha as a technology resource hub of India.
The innovation centre will have a capacity of 500 employees as the company is looking to expand its capacity to serve global clients outside India. It will create opportunities for existing employees and also enable the company to harness potential talent including graduate hires from the technical educational ecosystem in Odisha.
PwC further opened its first office in Odisha with which it aims to tap into the multiskilled talent pool of the state and neighbouring regions. This expansion isin line with the firm’s commitment to create 10,000 additional jobs in the country.
The recently concluded ‘Make In Odisha’ conclave further spotlighted Odisha’s transformation as the ultimate IT destination. More than 15 IT majors have given consent to open their facilities in the coming months.
The ‘Ease of doing business and efficient policy initiatives have made Odisha a formidable destination for modern technology companies in the eastern part of India. While all major IT companies have a long presence in the state, international organizations such as IBM have moved to the state because of its futuristic policy initiatives. To further complement the policies, the readily available infrastructure that includes land, uninterrupted power, water, bandwidth, air, rail and road communication facilities, talent pool and above all the best facilitation mechanism are the reason the state is attracting investments from across world.
Introduced in 2021, the Odisha Electronics Policy 2021 has also the best available incentives for investments in the Electronics and Electronics System Design and Manufacturing sectors. This promotes Odisha as an attractive destination for the electronics industry as well as promote electronics manufacturing in the state by offering a congenial, proactive industrial, and industry-friendly climate with leading infrastructure, policy initiatives, and supporting facilities. The Policy coupled with a skilled workforce aims at creating a favourable ecosystem for the growth and development of the Electronics industry in Odisha.
The state has unveiled a New ICT Policy 2022 with a vision to transform Odisha into a leading destination of investment for IT. The policy has specific incentives for IT parks. Twenty five per cent of fixed capital investment will be provided as capital subsidy limited to Rs 20 crore. Greenfield IT parks will be eligible for 100 per cent reimbursement of stamp duty, registration fees and conversion fees. The policy standout in offering additional incentives for companies investing in frontier technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Cyber Security, Extended Reality (XR), Automation, Blockchain, Big Data, Cloud Computing, Internet of Things (IoT), Machine Learning (ML), Cleantech, Edu-tech, Agri-Tech, Health-tech and other emerging technologies.
Also, the government has rolled out a Data Centre Policy 2022. Over and above infrastructure subsidy, interest subsidy and exemption of electricity fee for 10 years, this policy provides for reimbursement of net SGST for 7 years. Separately, the BPO Policy 2021, is also forward looking and growth oriented with special focus on large scale job creation.
(The author is secretary, electronics & IT, government of Odisha)