Special Correspondent

Says the policy is silent on several issues

Thiruvananthapuram: Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy on Thursday lashed out at the State Government's draft Information Technology (IT) policy, terming it "ambiguous and disappointing" and "unattractive for investors."

He came out strongly against Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan's stand against Special Economic Zones (SEZs), the proposal to allow trade union activity in the IT sector and use of Free Open Source software in governance.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr. Chandy said the draft IT policy was silent on several issues including incentives. The United Democratic Front's IT policy was clear about incentives and laid them out for investors to choose from. The Left Democratic Front's policy stated that the Government would announce fiscal incentives. Other States had already come out with policies prescribing incentives in unambiguous terms, besides initiating steps to attract investments. While the policy as such was welcome, it did not give any indication of the level and nature of private participation.

He said the Chief Minister did not seem to have understood the importance of SEZ while opposing it. The SEZs offered a number of incentives, including tax-free regimes. All other States were lobbying for SEZs. Instead of including packages to deal with issues such as rehabilitation of affected people, the Chief Minister's summary opposition to SEZs would prove to be a setback to investments in the State, he said.

The Opposition leader opposed the policy proposal to allow politicised trade unions in the IT sector.

He wanted the Government to adopt a practical approach like the one taken by West Bengal. Both existing IT units and prospective investors would have a rethink on investments and expansions.

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