‘Young population gives UP an edge over other states’ | lucknow | Hindustan Times
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‘Young population gives UP an edge over other states’

Face to face with Sanjay Gupta, Exec VP, HCL Tech.

lucknow Updated: Feb 21, 2018 16:11 IST
Rajeev Mullick
‘Uttar Pradesh is India’s heartland and offers immense investment opportunities.’
‘Uttar Pradesh is India’s heartland and offers immense investment opportunities.’(HT Photo)

Sanjay Gupta is currently leading HCL’s foray into new locations in India and is responsible to start HCL operations in Lucknow, Madurai and Nagpur amongst others. Sanjay has completed over 22 years in HCL and has spearheaded many challenging portfolios.

Excerpts from an interview…

What are your expectations from UP investors’ summit?

Uttar Pradesh is India’s heartland and offers immense investment opportunities. The state government has designed a new industrial policy which promises ease of doing business, promotes employment and aims at reviving UP’s industrial centres. Naturally, this has evoked a lot of interest for investment in the state. HCL has a long history with UP and it is central to HCL’s growth and success. We are headquartered in Noida and have deeply invested in the state’s development. I believe that the summit has the potential to transform Uttar Pradesh into a dynamic economy.

What do you think Uttar Pradesh needs to do to prevent migration of its educated youth to metros for employment opportunities?

If a state does not have a good industrial and entrepreneurial environment the youth will want to migrate for jobs. There are not many employment opportunities in rural areas forcing educated youths to migrate to metros. Slow industrial growth too has been a challenge. What is needed is more investment, better ease of doing business to promote entrepreneurship in the state. The state government has made employment generation and skill development a priority and it should help.

HCL Technologies follows ‘Stay Rooted’ policy which aims to provide a chance to local residents to pursue global IT career opportunities in their hometown. What is it about?

We have also launched a program called Early Careers Program, which is a power packed IT Training program designed to keep you ahead in life. Whether it’s certified skills training or an opportunity to get mentored by industry leaders – HCL’s Early Career program offers best of both the worlds. When you enroll for it, you get skilled, certified and get an assurance of a job with HCL. Students enrolled for this program also have an option to enhance their education by pursuing an engineering equivalent course from reputed institutions who offer distance learning courses pan India.

Lucknow has been billed as UP’s next IT hub after Noida. What incentives should the state government give to attract investment here and do you think other cities also have the potential and infrastructure to take this forward?

The state government has created a congenial environment for investors with the launch of progressive and sector focused policies like IT Policy 2012 and IT & Start-Up Policy. Lucknow is on its way to becoming an IT hub. In fact, HCL’s IT City project is an outcome of the fruition of the state’s policy. A 100-acre IT City has been built in Lucknow on public private partnership (PPP) model at an investment worth Rs 1500 crore. HCL also set up a Skill Development Centre (SDC) in October 2016 within HCL IT City. It is imparting training to youth which will lead to gainful employment. We believe the government’s progressive and sector-specific policies will lead to development of IT industry in Tier-II & Tier-III cities of the state.

Do you think granting Special Economic Zone (SEZ) status to certain businesses would lure investors?

Special Economic Zones (SEZs) are indeed crucial for varied industries in the state to grow and benefit from. SEZs are notified with the objectives of generating additional economic activity, promoting exports of goods and services, promoting investment from domestic and foreign sources and creating employment opportunities.

What other policy initiatives would you suggest?

Employability is a challenge that all sectors face with respect to workforce. Hence, a higher industry academia co-operation and dialogue will help in creating courses and study material tailored to the requirements of the industries. A policy initiative in this direction will be welcome.

Ease-of-doing business is the catch phrase coined by several states to attract investment. What exactly does it entail?

The Uttar Pradesh seems to have covered a middle ground in the ease of doing business reforms as per the Doing Business Action Plan (DIPP) of the department of industrial policy and promotion. The state has great potential for industrial development in terms of its abundant resources, availability of skilled and semi-skilled labour and huge consumer market.

In which areas do you think UP has an edge over other states?

We believe that the state has an advantage with its young population, diversity and infrastructural expanse. Infrastructure development is one of the key elements in the state’s growth story.

Also, Uttar Pradesh possesses one of the largest populations of young people in the country contributing significantly to India’s employable labour force. In order to work towards the betterment of rural UP, HCL Foundation is also working towards creating model villages through its development project ‘Samuday’. The project has so far touched over 6 lakh people through various interventions in the fields of education, agriculture, health, water, sanitation and hygiene, solar energy and livelihood.

Do you think UP needs a young IT minister who understands technology and delivers in terms of enabling IT ecosystem and job creation for the youth?

We would refrain from commenting on this, as every government has its style of working.

What is HCL’s plan for future investment in the state?

We have multiple investments in UP, including the 48 acre headquarter campus in Noida SEZ and our 108 acre campus in Lucknow. HCL employs over 30,000 people in Uttar Pradesh. The HCL IT City in Lucknow is the largest HCL Campus in North India and it delivers a spectrum of services, including infrastructure management, application development, product engineering, BPO and HCL internal enabling functions. In less than a year, HCL Lucknow has created approximately 2,100 jobs. We are planning for additional 2000 IT jobs in next 12 months on the Lucknow campus.

Why do you think successive UP governments were unable to create a conducive IT and entrepreneurship ecosystem here?

We would refrain from commenting on this, as every government governs and functions in different ways.