T. Ramavarman

‘More companies to come to State’

Educated manpower available in abundance

Need to work out systematic plan for augmenting growth

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Infosys Technologies Limited S.D. Shibulal has said that Kerala is fast becoming attractive to the Information Technology (IT) industry.

Talking to The Hindu here, Mr. Shibulal said: “Educated manpower is available here in abundance, infrastructure growth is taking place and the government is supportive. Already the four major players in the IT sector—Infosys, Wipro, TCS and Cognisant Technologies—are in the State. More companies are likely to come here soon.”

He said what was important was to sustain the momentum.

This could be done by working out systematically-designed plan for augmenting the growth in the areas like manpower and infrastructure, besides an intense effort at brand building to project Kerala as an industry-friendly State.

Experience matters

The State might find shortage in getting experienced people compared to Bangalore. The State would have to develop infrastructure like education and health care facilities in order to attract experienced people here. Already some efforts were on in this direction, he said.

“We also need to augment the manpower availability both in quantity and quality. There would be more demand for manpower in future, and therefore, we need to enhance their supply. Also when we talk about enhancing the quality, the focus must not only be on the technical aspects, but also on other aspects like soft skills. A large number of students in Kerala are studying in English medium schools. But only a few can express themselves in English. There is no concerted effort to develop their communicative skills, which is vital for enhancing their employability in the IT industry,” he said.

Asked what could the IT industry do in this area, Mr. Shibulal said: “We have started a campus connect programme for engineering college students. Here we share our intellectual property with the students so that they will be employable in the industry as soon as they come out of the campus. Campus connect programme is not limited to us. Any number of colleges can make use of it. There are other IT orientation programmes for mainstream colleges as well.”

Land availability

Pointing out that major companies would require to operate from big campuses, Mr. Shibulal said it was important to make land available to them on time. The facilities like single window clearance system could also make it easy for the industry to operate from here.

He said the private-public partnership mode could be an important approach to mobilise resources for infrastructure build up in the State. Apart from resource constraint, it was also important to focus on utilising the available resources effectively.

Mr. Shibulal made it clear that “it would not be affordable” for Infosys to build infrastructure though “we work with the government and contribute occasionally for it.”

When his attention was drawn to the congestions and squeeze on infrastructure in areas like Bangalore where the IT industry is concentrated, he said, “you will be surprised to note that in 1999 nearly 90 per cent of our employees in India were in Bangalore. Today only 25 per cent of our employees are working there, and the rest are working from our centres in other parts of the country. We have already spread our operations across the country.”

On the labour situation in Kerala, he said: “We have been working here for the last four years and we have not lost even a single day because of labour problems.”