A high-level task force for the information technology (IT) industry has recommended constitution of ‘National Electronic Mission’, a nodal agency for the electronics industry within the Department of Information Technology (DIT) with direct interface to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). It has also supported the IT industry’s demand of extending existing tax holidays to ensure fast growth of the industry.

The task force has said that the nodal agency would help in the synchronised functioning of the industry through effective coordination across various ministries and government departments. The report envisions a $140-billion electronics and $105-billion software and services industry by 2014.

It has also called for immediate building of adequate basic, business and social infrastructure; favourable business policy and regulatory environment; fostering a sustainable ecosystem for innovation, R&D and manufacturing; and maintaining globally competitive tax regime.

The task force, which submitted its report to Communications and IT Minister A. Raja here on Friday, was formed in August to suggest measures to stimulate the growth of IT and ITeS and the electronics hardware manufacturing industry in the backdrop of significant challenges being faced by the sector owing to global economic crisis.

Headed by HCL Infosystems Chairman and Chief Executive Ajai Chowdhry, it comprised representatives of various industry bodies like the National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom), the Manufacturers’ Association for Information Technology (MAIT), the Telecom Equipment Manufacturers’ Association of India (TEMA) and other experts.

“To address the issues facing the industry, the Ministry will examine the recommendations and initiate a dialogue with various other ministries and departments concerned for appropriate implementation of the recommendations on a fast-track basis,” Mr. Raja told journalists after receiving the report.

According to Mr. Chowdhry, “A definite action plan needs to be put in place by the industry and the government to achieve targets. Some immediate measures are needed to tackle the current sluggishness in the market.” He also said the scope of the STPI Act should be extended to provide parity with the SEZ scheme. Though the government has extended the tax holiday scheme till 2010-11, IT sector seeks further extension and benefits as given to the SEZs.

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