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India, Ireland sign MoU on IT working group

By Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, APRIL 8. India and Ireland today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for setting up an Indo-Irish Working Group on Information Technology. The MoU was signed by the Information Technology Minister, Mr. Pramod Mahajan, and the visiting Irish Deputy Prime Minister, Ms. Mary Harney.

The scope and objectives of the Working Group on Information Technology and Electronics include collaboration in the areas of Hitech IT Parks, HRD Development in areas of IT, Promotion of Joint Venture, Trade and Business Partnership between the two countries.

The group would be co-chaired by the Secretary MIT, Government of India and the Assistant Secretary General, Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment of Ireland. Some of the other members of the Indian side constituting the group include the Joint Secretary, (Policy) Ministry of IT, the Director General Electronic Research and Development Corporation of India, the President, NASSCOM, the Director, Irish Software Association, the Director, National Software Directorate, the Principal Officer Overseas Division, DETE, would constitute the group from the Irish side.

According to an official release, the setting up of the working group is an important landmark in expanding bilateral cooperation between the two countries. The IT sector in India achieved a compound annual growth rate of 25.5 per cent in production and 43 per cent in exports during 1994-98. The Irish economy grew almost by 80 per cent between 1990-99 due to the performance of the hitech segment of industry.

Both the countries have become significant world centres for software development because of their highly skilled and educated work force, supply of infrastructure, cost competitive environment, and sophisticated telecommunications network. Such joint alliances would help competing in third country markets particularly in US and the European Union. Research and Development is another area of immense bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

Ireland offers excellent opportunities for Indian Software Industry due to its vast local market and suitable base for software opportunities in the European Union market. India on the other hand offers opportunities as an IT Investment Destination and resource base for skilled manpower. The total Irish software market is estimated at $ 800 millions.

This is an area which can be utilised by Indian entrepreneurs to increase software export targets. It also offers tremendous opportunity to identify new markets for the core competence sectors of the Indian software industry. The electronic component segment occupies a market position of around $4.8 billions market. Ireland imports around 40 per cent of the total demand which clearly indicates substantial market opportunities for Indian companies.

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