With the contribution of Visakhapatnam to IT exports remaining more or less stagnant at Rs.1,200 crore, the entrepreneurs expect a slew of concessions and incentives to improve their share in the total exports from Andhra Pradesh.
The investors have been representing to the government for exemption of Minimum Alternate Tax, continuation of IT holiday, conversion of lease holding in Special Economic Zones into ownership, and establishment of more incubation centres.
Hyderabad has the lion’s share in IT exports from the State. While Hyderabad could record an export turnover of Rs.40,000 crore, entrepreneurs from Visakhapatnam had to be content with Rs.1200 crore, which remained constant for a couple of years.
The city has nearly 70 IT companies employing 10,000 people. The Visakhapatnam IT Association and the Rushikonda IT Park Association want that ‘Brand Vizag’ can gain momentum if the city could achieve an export turnover of Rs.4,000 crore or almost 10 per cent of total exports transacted through Hyderabad-based firms.
Asked to comment on prospects of Visakhapatnam as an IT hub, State IT Minister Ponnala Lakshmaiah told The Hindu that the government was keen on promoting the city as a big destination for investors. He said they were expecting clearance from the Centre for setting IT Investment Region in Visakhapatnam.
He said the city’s first incubation centre, now under construction at Rushikonda, for plug in and plug out operators would be operational by the year-end.
The Centre has also cleared the proposal to locate an electronic manufacturing cluster in the city.
Vouching the demand for more concessions and incentives and exemption of MAT, CEO of Symbiosys Technologies O. Naresh Kumar said there were not adequate jobs for students passing out from 40 engineering and an equal number of MBA colleges from Visakhapatnam.
“Unless we create more jobs, the admissions as well as quality of teaching will drop significantly,” he said, and sought a conducive climate to attract more investors in IT so as to create more jobs.
IT investors said they could attract local talent now working in Hyderabad and Bangalore to Visakhapatnam only when IT units had a booming business in the region.
“We have three SEZs at Rushikonda and Madhurawada. But 90 per cent of companies are either idle or sick due to recession and certain policies,” Mr. Naresh Kumar said.
He also wanted new package like waiver of municipal taxes for two years, free bandwidth, creation of ready-made plug and play facilities with supporting infrastructure like good shopping, schools, and medical institutes of international standards to attract investments.
‘Brand Vizag’ can gain momentum only if the city achieves an export turnover of Rs.4,000 crore or 10 per cent of total exports through Hyderabad-based firms