By Robin Alex Panicker
The recent announcements regarding IT in Kerala could help in accomplishing major leaps in the sector, generally for the State and Thiruvananthapuram in particular, thanks to Nissan’s entry along with its partner companies like Tech Mahindra. Similarly, Ernst and Young is setting up another centre at Technopark and H&R Block is making big plans for the capital city.
Besides, many companies which are working in Thiruvananthapuram are on the path of admirable growth. With the materialisation of these projects, it could create employment opportunities for not less than 15,000 in the technology space. In addition are the jobs to be created in Embassy Taurus World Technology Centre.
It goes without saying that these changes are the result of the brilliant teamwork displayed by Pinarayi Vijayan, Chief Minister; Shashi Tharoor MP and senior members of the State’s bureaucracy and administrators like K M Abraham IAS, Paul Antony IAS, Tom Jose IAS, M Sivasankar IAS, Usha Titus IAS, Hrishikesh Nair, Jayasankar Prasad and Saji Gopinath. K J Alphons, Union Minister for Tourism (I/C), too played a crucial role in bringing Nissan to Kerala. If this team continues to work in the same fashion, Thiruvananthapuram will be able to match Pune as an IT city in next four to five years.
These observations about the current progress of IT industry in Kerala arise from the opportunity I had in witnessing the changes from a close quarter while working with the key players who enabled it. Having said that, I have some suggestions that may help in aiding the growth of the industry.
- Firstly, the High-Power IT Committee (HPIC), formed for ensuring the growth of the IT sector, should be restructured. Some of the members of the committee should step down. While the main objective of the HPIC is to pave the way for companies to come to Kerala and create more job opportunities, the reality is that these members are not in any position to facilitate this. Such members should be replaced with enablers
- In my opinion, the IT Fellows team is irrelevant as it hardly creates any value addition
- The idea of event-based marketing should be thrown into the dustbin. The fundamental criteria for market plan should be the number of IT jobs and their quality
- It is imperative to wipe clean the leftover stains of sabotage attempts in Kerala’s IT industry. Towards this, actions are being taken at governmental and Technopark levels. They can do more in this regard. The immediate goal should be to make IT business more viable in the State. I believe that there were deliberate attempts in the past to make Kerala’s IT sector unviable
- Now that more and more companies are showing interest in moving to Kerala, more private developers need to come here. It is recommended that the government change its role to that of a facilitator
- The IT business community needs to have a stronger spine and this is a self-reflection
Just noted down some of my thoughts as I want my State to become a Knowledge Hub.
(The author is an exponent of technology and Co-founder of Finotes Inc. The opinions expressed are personal)