Around a decade ago, Madhya Pradesh was just a blip in the Information Technology map of the country, but with IT giants Infosys and TCS planning to start operations in Indore from 2017, the state — especially Indore — is emerging as a favoured destination for IT companies.
In Madhya Pradesh, the majority of the action remains confined to Indore. At present, there are over half a dozen big companies with over 500 employees in the city, with 50 other companies employing over 50 employees. There is also a huge number of start-ups, and going by estimates of the Indore-based start-up community, there are over 250 such entrepreneurial ventures functioning in the city.
“Four to five years down the line, Indore will become a major IT hub at the national and possibly at the global level also,” Impetus Infotech vice-president (operations and human empowerment) Sanjeev Agrawal predicted.
There are reasons for this optimism and one of them is the 2014 state IT policy, with most entrepreneurs giving it their thumps up. “The state IT policy is pretty good as it encourages both large and small entrepreneurs (start-ups) to set up a base in Madhya Pradesh,” Info Beans CEO Siddharth Sethi said.
One of the cornerstones for giving fillip to IT sector is the Crystal IT Park, a dedicated IT SEZ in Indore. “It is really a boon for smaller units and new entrepreneurs as you can get a good environment with space on lease at reasonable rents,” says Rakesh Jain, who heads Infocrats Web Solutions, an Indore-based company that started operations in 1996.
Now, the state government is constructing another building adjacent to the existing one at Crystal IT Park for small IT companies and start-ups, which is expected to become operational in 2017. Another IT Park, though not an SEZ, is coming up at Sinhasa, spread over 112 acres. These facilities are expected to cater to the growing demand for the next decade.
The pluses for Indore as an IT destinations are many. “The city has a moderate climate, an accommodative culture, a burgeoning night life, a relatively safe environment and a growing talent pool,” Jain said.
Agrawal said Indore’s central location and uninterrupted power supply were also major attractions.
But while there is a general sense of optimism regarding IT sector, there are some hindrances too. “Indore still has a long way to go. We aren’t in the top 10 IT destinations in the country. We need more air connectivity to other IT destinations, especially day-trip flights, where one can go and come back the same day. A better entertainment infrastructure is also a must for people to migrate in larger numbers,” said Sethi.
Agrawal pointed out another negative, “While the IT policy is great, the problem arises when we have to deal with officials of other departments. They are often not aware (of the policy) or sensitive to our needs,” he says.
The dearth of a local talent pool is also a cause of concern. “The quality of the local candidates is not good. Apart from pass-outs from two to three local engineering colleges, the rest are not employable,” said Jain.
While big companies can afford to pay the big bucks, the smaller ones find it tough to hire talent from outside. “Remember, the smaller IT companies are the backbone of the industry and provide a steady stream of relatively cheaper talent for the big names,” said LMS Solutions director Ajay Gadikar.
HOW THE CITY FARES
IT Policy encouraging start-ups
Positive govt support
Burgeoning night life
Relatively safe environment
Uninterrupted power supply
Lack of air connectivity to other IT hubs
Problems in implementing IT policy on ground
Entertainment infrastructure in nascent stage
Lack of local talent pool
Exports from Crystal IT park
2015-16: Rs 183.16 crore
2014-15: Rs 90.61 crore
2013-14: Rs 73.47 crore
2012-13: Rs 10.27 crore