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Govt should provide steady broadband, power to expand in smaller cities

The $227 billion domestic information technology industry on Tuesday sought uninterrupted power supply and broadband connectivity from the government to expand into smaller cities of the country.

Along with the infrastructure support, the presence of people with sufficient skill sets, a world-class place of work learning for the kids, and sufficient job opportunities are also necessary for smaller cities so that people do not have to migrate to tier-1 cities, key executives of lobby grouping Nasscom said.

The government wants the IT sector to grow deeper into smaller towns for broad-based economic growth, while the sector facing issues with attrition has also been looking at it as one of the ways to retain manpower, which is apprehensive about migrating to bigger centres like Bengaluru or Hyderabad.

”When I talk about infrastructure, it is not just broadband, but things like power connectivity, electricity, etc. There are quite a few things that have to be addressed. And, we are talking to the government,” Nasscom President Debjani Ghosh told reporters.

She said hiring in tier-II and tier-III is becoming a part of our growth strategy and is a key imperative for the growth of the industry, which aspires to take the overall revenues to $350 billion by 2026.

Without elaborating details, Ghosh said a pilot project will be launched between the government and Nasscom across a few cities for the same.

”We also need to invest in skilling in tier-II, tier-III cities and that is something Nasscom and companies are doing by working with the engineering colleges and others in these cities to grow the pipeline,” she added.

Pravin Rao, immediate past chairman of the body, said it is also important to create world-class educational institutions and healthcare facilities because, today, a lot of migration happens to tier-I cities as people are looking for good-quality education and job opportunities for spouses.

”We need to start creating that kind of ecosystem in tier-II, tier-III cities as well, so that people don’t have to migrate to tier-I cities,” he added.

Terming it as a ”win-win” equation for the industry and the country, Ghosh said micro IT hubs have been created by the industry in centres like Indore, Jaipur, Kolkata, Coimbatore and Ahmedabad.

Meanwhile, Ghosh also sought a clarification from the government ”as soon as possible” to accommodate the hybrid work model where employees can shift between work from home and office as per the demands.

As for the overhaul of the SEZ Act, Ghosh said the sector is also in touch with the government to make hybrid work as a ”design principle” and accommodate aspects like work from home and working in smaller centres.

Meanwhile, Ghosh also pitched for having data privacy and cybersecurity laws in the country, saying it will benefit the sector.

”A few areas where we need more clarification (on data protection) are about the inclusion of non-personal data, cross-border data flows, etc,” she said.

Krishnan Ramanujam of TCS, who is the vice-chairman of Nasscom, said the clarity in regulations will help the IT sector. The Free Press Journal

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