January 2016

IT EXPANDS ITS FOOTPRINT IN J&K

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Nirmal Kumar Singh

April Issue

In a state devastated by floods consecutively for two years and often making headlines for terrorist attacks, winds of change can be clearly felt, with as many as 74 top IT companies committing to train 94,300 youths in J&K — a huge jump from 54 companies that had evinced interest the previous year. Priya Yadav of Elets News Network (ENN) takes a look

The Jammu and Kashmir Government terms it as their ‘sunrise industry’. For a state, mired in the dual whammy of terrorism and a series of natural disasters, a growing Information Technology industry is nothing short of that.

Just a close look, and one can see the signs of IT footprint expanding in the State. Though the state government adopted a comprehensive IT policy over a decade ago, in 2004, yet it is only recently that a revolution of sorts is gathering pace in the strife-torn State. And, it is the youth wired on the Internet, who are taking the lead – be it in government initiatives or with their own personal inventiveness.

Recently, the Anil Ambani Reliance Group held out hope in the valley announcing that a 500-seat call centre would be made functional by April this year in Srinagar that would provide over 3,000 jobs to the local youth.

Buoyed, the State Government is getting busy to create a pool of human resources with rich knowledge in IT sector – for this, specialised courses are being launched to make youngsters job-compatible, well-versed in English as well as computer-literate.

In a state, which has been devastated by floods consecutively for two years and often makes headlines for terrorist attacks, winds of change are making themselves felt early, with more than 74 top IT companies, including Accenture, HCL, TCS and Wipro, committing to train 94,300 youths in J&K — a huge jump from 54 companies that had evinced interest the previous year.

That the youth, logging online and struggling with unemployment, are waking up to the vast potential and benefits that IT can bring to the State and transform their lives, is evident from the keen interest being evinced at every level, and private individuals are going out of their way to bring cumulative benefits to the society.

A large number of local youngsters have turned into online entrepreneurs – making every use of the Internet, be it then people like Muheet Mehraj’s online shop Kashmirbox.com, which works with artisans, farmers and small-time designers, or Kashif Ahmad Khan, who runs MyRahat.com, an online shopping portal in the Valley

A large number of local youngsters have turned into online entrepreneurs – making every use of the Internet, be it then people like Muheet Mehraj’s online shop Kashmirbox.com, which works with artisans, farmers and small-time designers, or Kashif Ahmad Khan, who runs MyRahat.com, an online shopping portal in the Valley.

Then there are others like 29-year-old techie, Waleed Qureshi, in Srinagar, who after doing jobs in top IT companies in Delhi, returned to the Valley, transforming himself from a local kid to the Managing Director of IAC Software Solutions. His firm has already imparted training to over 500 upcoming techies and he holds programmes at the state university and polytechnics to make students job-ready. His students are bagging jobs in top companies like Dell or working abroad.

The State Government has identified inadequate infrastructure and training facilities as a major weakness, for which efforts have to be bolstered. Even as individuals are showing the way, the State Government’s Education Department is teaming up with the National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology (NIELIT) as knowledge partner that would make the State’s schools ICT-enabled. By March 2016, nearly 220 schools across J&K would be covered under the programme that would include computer learning to make students ready for technological challenges ahead.

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