Leading business icons came together to discuss opportunities in e-governance, at the e-Revolution-09 conclave, which opened here on Thursday with “Transforming region: harnessing technology through inclusive growth” as the theme for the fifth edition of this two-day IT conclave.

Delivering the keynote address, Pramod Bhasin, Chairman National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom) and CEO Genpact, said there was a need to harness the potential for industrial growth, employment generation and wealth creation in the tri-city region.

Signs of recovery

Signs of recovery in the world economy and large consumption of IT and software by the government made Nasscom hopeful of seeing double-digit growth in IT exports.

“We feel that IT software and service exports will attain growth in double digit in the next financial year on the back of revival of economies of the U.S. and Europe which were hit by the meltdown,” Mr. Bhasin told reporter

The country had the potential to achieve IT exports of $225-300 billion while the total direct employment in the IT sector was expected to reach from 4 million to 14 million in the next five years, he said.

However, Mr. Bhasin found the lack of suitable human skills for the IT sector a major hindrance in its growth. Lamenting the fact that the IT industry at present can employ only 8-10 per cent of the total graduates due to their lack of skills, he emphasised the need for an updated curriculum and industrial training to hone the entrepreneurial skills and talent of the young populace.

Highlighting the initiatives of the Chandigarh administration to augment industrial growth such as setting up of the IT park which is expected to create over 30,000 IT jobs by 2010 and nurture budding entrepreneurs through the installation of the Entrepreneur Development Centre (EDC), S. F. Rodrigues, Governor of Punjab and UT Administrator, said that there was a need to make growth inclusive and ensure that the benefits of development trickle down to the masses.

He said that the educational curriculum had been remodelled with a focussed attention on vocational courses to produce students with professional capabilities to meet the requirements of growing industry.

Tier-I city

Calling Chandigarh, a Tier-I city, due to its strong social infrastructure, educational facilities, and safe environment, Mr. Bhasin said that it could be the next Singapore because the city had all the requisite elements to attract people with potential, emerge as an IT hub and surpass cities like Pune and Bangalore in terms of industrial growth and employment opportunities.