There are over 250 IT companies in Goa of which 70 per cent of the companies are in the startup space. Secondly, Goa has a high number of English speaking population, which is more than the other parts of the country, says Ameya Abhyankar, Secretary, Department of Information Technology, Government of Goa, in conversation with Poulami Chakraborty of Elets News Network (ENN).
“IT park will be developed on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) basis unlike the conventional IT parks. We will focus more on having a cluster- driven approach looking at variety of segments.”
What plans do you have for the expansion of IT infrastructure in Goa? We have a clear vision for expanding IT infrastructure in the State. The IT and Electronics Policy was announced in December 2015. A number of incentives have been announced since then, aimed at boosting the greenfield developments, brown field developments and also focussing on small and medium enterprises, particularly in the startup space. There are incentives related to tax, land and availability of reliable and affordable power.
The incentives are also given in terms of relaxation of electricity charges for small and medium enterprises, salary, concession on Internet bandwidths etc. So, right across the spectrum for large, small and medium enterprises, the policies have taken adequate care of all the segments. Apart from that, the Government of Goa has earmarked about 50 acres of land for the IT Park at Chimbel which is about 6 kilometre from Panaji and 150 acres of land at a place called Tuem which is in North Goa.
IT park will be developed on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) basis unlike the conventional IT parks. We will focus more on having a cluster-driven approach looking at variety of segments.
What are the future prospects of Goa?
Our State is best known for its tourism IT sector is also growing significantly. There are more than 250 IT companies in Goa of which 70 per cent of the companies are in the startup space. Secondly, Goa has a high number of English speaking population, which is more than the other parts of country. Third, Goa has lowest attrition rate in the country.
There are a lot of interesting products and services that are coming out of Goa which are presently servicing international market. So, we have Goa-based startups who are developing tourism solutions, logistics solutions, transport solutions and e-commerce solutions for clients abroad. There are large number of companies that are into website design, packaging design and many new areas.
We firmly view IT as a sunrise sector for Goa and we are very optimistic for its growth. As far as infrastructure is concerned, with IT parks coming up and the policy falling into place, over the next five to seven years, Goa would be one of the most preferred IT destinations.
How do you see Goa as an IT and investment destination? What is the broadband connectivity in the State?
Goa is one of the great models of broadband penetration in in the country. Since 2009, we have rolled out and commissioned a Goa Wide Broadband Network where all 189 village panchayats are connected with one GB fibre link. All State, taluka headquarters and district headquarters are connected on 10 GB fibre. Apart from that, we have other locations covering schools and colleges. We are moving towards phase two of broadband affordability where we are planning to connect every house with fibre. There is a sufficiently robust OFC infrastructure in Goa. We are going to leverage it and ensure that the required bandwidth is made available to IT industry or IT companies looking to invest in Goa.
What is your plan for the development of skill development in the State? What role can the IT industry play to boost skill development in the State?
Skill development is very important and needs upgradation in the IT sector. Through the Chamber of Commerce and the various engineering colleges in Goa, we are trying to work out a programme so that students coming out of the colleges are industry-ready and aware of the requirement in the industry.
Secondly, there is a vision in the department to try and create a virtual skill development sector where learning can be taken up through e-learning and different kinds of modules. We are presently scouting for different knowledge partners to provide this kind of virtual education system which can help people to take up short courses where they can develop specific skill sets, based on the extensive interaction and inputs from the industry.
We have very robust manufacturing setup in the State which contributes to 25-30 per cent to the GDP. We have large number of electronic manufacturing companies in Goa like Siemens, IFP, CommScope, Titan etc. These firms are unicorns in their own field.
How are you focussed on emerging technologies? What are the areas that these technologies are being used?
We are significantly focusing on Big Data, Analytics, Cloud and Internet of Things. As the capital city Panjim has already been selected in the Smart Cities Mission and is also a part of Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation -(AMRUT) mission. We are working with the Urban Development department to see how IoT can be leveraged for the Smart City project. As far as cloud is concerned, we are launching a new data centre which will work on virtualisation of servers. So, it will essentially have cloud architecture. As far as analytics is concerned, we are looking at using social media tools for understanding public sentiments about different government services, their delivery, and reaching out to people by addressing their grievances. We also plan to do performance rating of different government departments through the use of big data analytics. We want to work on a platform where small and medium businesses can be visible and can be described as per the product and services they are offering.