Information Technology companies of south Tamil Nadu with the guidance of Confederation of Indian Industry established their association called Software Industries Development Association (SIDA) here in Madurai on Saturday. The Association aims to promote south Tamil Nadu as an IT and ITeS destination on the global map.

K.Purushothaman, Regional Director, The National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom), Tamil Nadu and Kerala, inaugurated the association in the presence of R.Sivarajah, president, SIDA, S.Radhakrishnan, Vice President, International Business Promotion, SIDA.

Mr.Purushothaman said that 3.25 lakh people from Tamil Nadu were working in the Information technology industry, out of which 20 per cent were from the southern districts of Tamil Nadu.

“Students from institutes like Thiagarajar College of Engineering, Mepco Schlenk Engineering College and a few other institutes form a part of this major workforce and were contributing to the industry for more than a decade.”

Answering a query on what could be the significance of SIDA (Software Industries Development Association of South Tamil Nadu, Mr.Purushothaman said that tier II locations like Madurai had abundant low-cost destinations and right manpower which could be tapped for the industry and SIDA could be a platform to identify talent. Moreover SIDA could play a major role in bringing large, medium and small IT industries here and take the existing industries to the next level by sharing knowledge and showcasing models. “This platform could help in working together to meet the challenges and become a global player.” Nasscom and SIDA could help the small software companies by providing information and could guide them on how to get e-governance projects which are largely taken by major companies.

Soft skills

Speaking about the lack of soft skills among students from southern districts, he said that they were very good in curriculum but lacked the exposure and soft skills. Nasscom also conducted employability test to assess the competence levels of freshers and in 2007 found that only 27 per cent were competent to be employed.

Tamil Nadu has been doing a great job through their Information and Communication Technology Centres where faculty development programmes were being conducted to impart technical skills. Anna University's State-level placement programme (SLPP) has helped the students to get placement opportunities. Mr.Purushothaman said that there would be more campus recruitments this year and stated that Nasscom expected that this year software and services exports would touch 60 billion US dollars. This is largely because a lot of domestic software business is going on especially in the manufacturing sector, pharmaceutical industry, healthcare and telecom industry.