Marching With The Times; Odisha Emerging As A Major Destination For IT Investments With Futuristic Policy Initiatives

Bhubaneswar: While mining, minerals, manufacturing and agriculture sectors in Odisha are flourishing and contributing to the state’s economic growth, the Information Technology sector is also not far behind thanks to the proactive and dynamic policies of the Government of Odisha. The Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik-led Government of Odisha has been continuously pursuing the development of the new age industries in the state with its attractive policies and incentives. Today, Odisha has emerged as one of the best destinations in the country for the Information Technology sector as it has all the ready ingredients needed for a flying start. Odisha today stands among the major states of India that are contributing to the economy through Information Technology. Software exports from the state are also recording consistent growth over the years and today the IT exports from the state have touched to about Rs 7500 crore per annum. Apart from this, the ITES, BPO, KPO and Electronics sectors are also growing due to the various incentives provided by the government.

The Government of Odisha has taken onto itself to make Information Technology as the major growth driver in the coming days. Under the aegis of 5T Initiatives which have become the backbone of the state’s transformative journey, the government has increased spending on Information Technology and Digital Initiatives.

Due to effective execution of the policy initiatives, Odisha has become the destination for modern technology companies in the eastern part of India. While all major IT companies have a long presence in the state, international organizations such as the IBM are also moving into the state because of its futuristic policy initiatives. Ready available infrastructure that includes land, uninterrupted power, water, bandwidth, air, rail and road communication facilities, talent pool and above all the best facilitation mechanism are attracting investments from across the world.

Odisha’s new IT Policy is the best in the country and has already started bearing fruits. The recent Investors’ meeting in Bengaluru is the best example to showcase Odisha’s transformation as the destination next. More than 15 IT majors have given consent to open their facilities in the coming days with IBM going to start its operation in the new few weeks. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has assured the investors to provide the best available help and facilities to them and even said that it a state is giving them X incentives to start operations, Odisha will give them X plus incentives.

Introduced in 2021, the Odisha Electronics Policy 2021 has also the best available incentives for investments in the Electronics and Electronics System Design and Manufacturing sectors. This promotes Odisha as an attractive destination for the electronics industry as well as promote electronics manufacturing in the state by offering a congenial, proactive industrial, and industry-friendly climate with leading infrastructure, policy initiatives, and supporting facilities. The Policy coupled with a skilled workforce aims at creating a favourable ecosystem for growth and development of the Electronics industry in Odisha.

The Policy has provisions that ESDM units will be provided subsidy ranging from Rs 10 crores to Rs 250 crores on the basis of their fixed capital investment. It also assures power incentives, Electricity Duty and Electrical Inspection Fees exemption, subsidy on power bills, 100 per cent exemption of stamp duty, Recruitment Assistance, and SGST reimbursement among others.

The Government of Odisha has marked separate SEZs/Incubation Centers to be setup for ESDM industries. A Semiconductor Characterization Lab at IIIT, Bhubaneswar to facilitate development of ESDM industry has also been set up. Electropreneur Park at Infovalley, Bhubaneswar – a first of its kind of Incubation Centre in the Electronic Systems Design & Manufacturing (ESDM) sector in Eastern India is under progress. The Electronic Manufacturing Cluster (EMC) set up over an area of 203 acres at Infovalley, Bhubaneswar with common facilities for the units and their workers housed there

With the thrust on Data Centers growing worldwide, the Government of Odisha has also brought in a futuristic Data Center Policy that aims to place Odisha as a major destination for Data Center investments.

The Odisha State Data Centre Policy 2022 attempts to put in place a conducive environment for accelerated investment in Data Centre projects through strategic initiatives, concessions, and facilitation so that Odisha could capitalize on the growth opportunities in the IT/ITeS/ESDM sector and eventually emerge as the “Data Centre Hub” in the country.

While the state has a good number of commercial data centres like STPI, Bharti-Airtel, OPTCL, Odisha State Data Centre and NIC’s National Data Centre, the Government of Odisha wishes to tap into this expected growth and attract investments into the State and providing them with an attractive business environment.

The policy shall act as a catalyst in the economic growth of Odisha creating models targeting at the IT/ITeS/ESDM sector, resulting in young talent pool of the State to acquire higher degree of employment skills in the emerging technologies such as Internet of Things, Cloud Computing, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain.

Recently, the Odisha Cabinet also gave its not to one of the biggest investments to be made in the Data Center Space by the Adani Group. The cabinet approved the proposal of Adani Enterprises Limited to set up Datacenter facility offering cloud hosting services at a cost of Rs 500 crore.

One of Odisha’s best advantage is it has a large land bank dedicated exclusively for the services sectors including Information Technology and ESDM sectors. The Government has developed an Electronic Manufacturing Cluster Park in the InfoValley on a 200 acre land parcel which has already received investment commitments of over Rs 200 crore. Odisha’s own expenditure in the IT space is also significant.

The massive digital revolution being implemented under the 5T Initiatives to transform the governance mechanism has already started bearing fruits. More than 400 services are now available to the citizens on digital mode thereby bringing in transparency and ease for the common man.

One of the positive aspects that are propelling Odisha’s IT movement is the availability skilled manpower. Odisha has about 200 Engineering Colleges and 1000 it is that are producing the best quality manpower for the growth of industry initiatives. World Skill Centre Bhubaneswar is one of its kind institution that is imparting advanced skill training to the youth of the state in various futuristic industry oriented trades.

The Odisha IT Policy 2022 wants to transform Odisha into a leading destination for IT investments. It has some of the best incentives for the investors in the form of tax relaxations, interest subventions, capital subsidy and other reimbursements industry specific investments that have no match in other states. Industry specific incentives for IT parks, subsidies on fixed capital investment, reimbursement of stamp duty on greenfield IT Parks are some of the major interventions through whicg the government wants to attract investors in the IT, ITES and ESDM sectors. In order to attract new age technologies, the Government also made provisions of incentives to Companies/Units investing in the area of Artificial Intelligence (Al), Cyber Security, Extended Reality (XR), Automation, Blockchain, Big Data, Cloud Computing, Internet of Things (loT), Machine Learning (ML), Clean-tech, Edu-tech, Agri-Tech, Health-tech and other emerging technologies with additional concessions.

Infrastructure wise, the state government has also exempted electricity duty and electrical inspection fee for five years. While the new IT Policy has been making waves in the industry circles for its attractiveness, some big ticket investments have already lined up in the state. Odisha is on the way to become the lead destination for the IT and Electronics sector very soon. The new IT Policy of 2022 is a result of detailed consultations with all stakeholders. It will become a benchmark for other too. Guided by the 5T Initiatives, the IT revolution will take the state’s economy to new heights and on the same time transform the lives of the people of Odisha through e-Governance and Digital interventions.

The Electronics and Information Technology Department has been crucial it the state’s transformation journey. It has been the proactive enabler for bringing in a systematic change in governance and providing citizen centric services to all. Led by the dynamic Secretary Manoj Kumar Mishra, Odisha’s Electronics and Information Technology Department has been in the forefront in the country for transforming governance through digital initiatives. Speaking of Odisha’s emergence as a serious contender to other states in attracting Information Technology investments, Manoj Mishra says that today Odisha has the best available infrastructure in the country. Odisha’s policy continuation and a strong leadership are crucial in attracting investments. While the infrastructure in the bigger cities such as Bengaluru and Hyderabad is getting exhausted, Odisha is becoming the suitable destination for both global and national IT Majors. Odisha Government’s Digital Transformation initiatives today have become an example for the whole country. Be it Land Records Digitization, BSKY Smart Health Cards, Online Kalia assistance, Mo Seva Kendras, Odisha One Portal for Citizen Services, i3MS, OSWAS or OSWAN, and Digital Transformation of High Schools, under the aegis of 5T Initiatives, Odisha’s transformative Journey has become the torch bearer in the country.

The Go Swift initiative is the best digital initiative in the country that promises and facilitates ease of doing business in the state. It has automated the major clearances, permits and approvals required for the establishment and expansion of industries. The Integrated Mines & Minerals Management System is the one of its kind digital initiative that has streamlined the whole management of the mining activities in the state.

In the recently concluded Odisha Investors’ Meeting held at Bengaluru, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik met a number of industry captains, especially from the IT and ITES sectors and apprised them about the opportunities Odisha is providing to set up shot. He also held one-to-one discussions with Venkataraman N, CFO, Happiest Minds Technologies; Ajay Vij, Managing Director of Accenture India; Girish Menon, President of Concentrix Daksh Services and Amit Sharma, Managing Partner of IBM India in Bengaluru who have also assured to be partners in Odisha’s transformative journey.

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