Saturday, May 29, 2010

Karnataka: 'Tech address'ing the world

Karnataka is a formidable avatar when it comes to the tech front. Little wonder that it is a prestigious address in the world of tech business today. We bring you some facts and figures which makes Karnataka what she is in the tech galaxy.

As a Knowledge hub Karnataka has 103 R&D Centres, 20 Universities, 158 Engineering Colleges, 39 Medical Colleges, 44 Dental Colleges, 47 International Schools and 1003 Industrial Training Institutes. Powered by over 5 lakh IT professionals, Bangalore, better identified as the IT Capital of India is the 4th largest technology cluster in the world, the other 3 being Silicon Valley, Boston and London. Bangalore has over 2,184 IT Companies of which 743 are MNCs. Of the 87 CMM Level-5 IT Companies in the world, 32 are in Bangalore. And with each passing day Karnataka's family of knowledge workers is only getting bigger.

Foreseeing future growth, the Government blue print on the infrastructure scene has a lot to offer. A fast track elevated expressway leading to Electronic City, hardware tech park near Bangalore International Airport, robust telecom OFC network of over 60,000 Kms etc. are some of them.

Secondary cities are being actively promoted through establishing IT Parks and Networks. High speed data facility operating centres are to soon dot the landscapes of Mangalore, Mysore, Dharwad, Belgaum, Shimoga, Gulbarga, Tumkur and Davanagere. An IT Investment Region (under the GoI scheme) covering a minimum area of 40 Sq Kms or 4,000 hectares of land is being setup near the Bangalore International Airport. If all this were not enough, the Government is also planning Industrial corridors from Bangalore to Davanagere through Tumkur, Bangalore to Bidar, Honnavar to Shimoga and Chitradurga to Belgaum through Haveri, covering most of the districts. The Animation and Gaming Academy is also round the corner.

Strengthening vital infrastructure in Tier-II and III cities seems high on the Government's agenda. Air-connectivity is being augmented in these cities. While the existing airports at Belgaum, Hubli-Dharwad and Mangalore are being upgraded, Greenfield airports are being planned in Shimoga and Gulbarga. An IT Park with 2.75 lakh sq ft built-up facility catering to IT & BPO companies and the Aryabhata Tech park at Hubli are already functional.

The Semiconductor Policy 2010 is tell tale of the Government's intent to give a thrust to the hard ware front. Financial assistance to firms for filling IP, assistance to augment the Orchid Tech Space in STPI to a Characterization Lab, special incentives for setting up of ATMPS on a case-to-case based on specific employment potential, a focus school under IIIT equipped with state-of-the- art research labs etc. are some of the policy highlights. There also is a special fund of Rs.10 crores earmarked for semi conductor excellence which will encourage innovation and R & D in Chip Design, product development, telecom etc. apart from the fiscal incentives as per the Karnataka Industrial Policy 2009-2014.

Also in the proposal stage are the ICT and the Electronic Hardware policies. The later may raise the curtain on the Electronics Hardware Manufacturing Hubs (EHMHs) proposed in four corridors. The ICT policy may see the creation of a separate authority for the IT & BT sectors, entry tax exemptions on capital goods and power tariff concessions. Both the policies will have the fiscal incentives as per the Karnataka Industrial Policy 2009-2014.

The Millennium Biotech Policy II is to bring in BT parks such as Nutri-Nutraceutical and Phyto-pharmaceutica l (Medicinal Plant) Parks at Mysore, Marine Biotech Park at Mangalore, Vivarium (Animal House) at Bidar and Agri-Biotech Park at Dharwad. The Government also seeks to fund Rs.1 crore per BT finishing school which will bring in 10 BT Finishing Schools. All Research Labs will automatically come under the Green Category. All fiscal incentives and concessions offered under the Karnataka Industrial Policy 2009-2014 shall be extended to the Biotechnology industry and the R & D Centres. The Bangalore Helix - Bangalore Biotech Park with SEZ facilities already offer world class Infrastructure, state-of-the- art Biotech Incubators, Common Instrumentation Facilities and R&D centres. While on the functional aspect are the Institute of Bioinformatics and Applied Biotechnology (IBAB) and Centre for Human Genetics (CHG) Campus, elements like Biotech Incubation Centre (BIC), Common Instrumentation Facilities (CIF), Biotech Industries Cluster and Common Effluent Treatment Plant bring in the required value adds for the investor.

Besides, the State Government is now in the process of formalizing steps that may soon bring in the much needed element of 'flexibility in policy initiatives' to cater to the changing demands of the industry. As part of a few more new initiatives, KEONICS is to set up IT parks in secondary cites like Mysore, Mangalore, Shimoga, Belgaum and Gulbarga. BPO units in rural areas are to enjoy fiscal incentives from the Government. As a move to popularize Internet usage in rural areas by, Electronic Public Consumer Outlets (e-PCOs) are to be set up.

If one were to catogorise the existing biggies, the Karnataka tech theatre looks something like this:
Integrated Chip Design - Texas Instruments, Intel, AMD, Siemens, Synopsys, Philips, Analog Devices, National Semiconductors, Freescale Semiconductor, Broadcom etc.

System Software - Oracle, SAP, Novell, Sun Microsystems, HP, Network Associates etc.
Communication Software - Lucent Technologies, Nortel, Siemens, Motorola, Cisco Systems, Ericsson, Sony, Sasken, Nokia etc.

Multinational R&D centres - Texas Instruments, Motorola, Daimler Chrysler, General Motors, GE,SAP, AstraZeneca, Microsoft, Intel, Philips, Cisco, Oracle, AMD, IBM etc.

Biotech Exporters - Biocon India Ltd, Sami Labs, Sartorius India Pvt. Ltd, Aurigene Discoveries, Astra Zeneca India, Strand Genomics, Metahelix, Avesthagen, Novozymes Sigma Aldrich, MWG India, Cipla, Himalaya Drug Co., Natural Remedies etc.

In all, Karnataka is on the threshold of a renewed technological revolution. One now has to see how many more await to enter Karnataka when the doors open at the Global Investors Meet 2010.

Sayeed Mohiuddin
B.E. (C. Sc.), M.B.A. (I.S)
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

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