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Jio plans near $1 bn data centre in UP

Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, India’s largest wireless operator, plans to build a data centre in Uttar Pradesh at an investment of around $950 million, two people aware of the development said.

This data centre may be powered by its own renewable energy plant.

“This is an important focus area for Reliance Jio,” said one of the two people cited above, both of whom spoke on condition of anonymity.

A top minister in the state government confirmed the development. “For the data centre, a 20-acre plot had been allotted to the company, and the project is to cost approximately ₹7,000 crore,” Sidharth Nath Singh, who heads the ministries of investment and export, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) and textile in the UP government, said in a statement in response to a Mint query. “The centre will consist of six interconnected data centre buildings offering 30,000 racks capacity and 200MW of power. It is expected to generate thousands of job opportunities in IT (information technology) sector,” Singh said in the statement.

Reliance Jio’s data centre plan comes against the backdrop of the government projecting India’s digital economy to grow to $1 trillion by 2025. The Reserve Bank of India’s norms on data localization has necessitated the need for data centres.

Data localization refers to storing data on any device that is present within the borders of a country where the data is generated. Queries emailed to a Reliance Jio spokesperson on Sunday night remained unanswered till press time.

According to the government, India has around 375MW installed power capacity for data centres, which may triple by 2025. Also, there is a $4.9 billion investment opportunity by 2025 to set up data centre infrastructure.

The Centre also plans to implement a policy to encourage firms to build data centre parks, including providing infrastructure status which will help them access benefits such as long-term credit at easier terms. Also, the Union and the state governments may provide fiscal and non-fiscal incentives.

“Need for data centre infrastructure within the boundaries of the country is further necessitated by the data localization provisions of proposed Data Protection Act and for protection of the digital sovereignty of the country in an increasingly connected world,” said the draft Data Centre Policy released by the ministry of electronics and information technology.

Investors have warmed up to Uttar Pradesh following the Yogi Adityanath-led government’s industrial policy announced in 2017, which outlines measures ranging from subsidized electricity to fiscal incentives.

“With an aim to take UP to an unprecedented level, the Adityanath government has embarked on a mission to make it a $1 trillion economy by 2024. To achieve this target, the state has identified 5 sectors—infrastructure development, industry, agriculture, urban development and service sectors,” Singh said in the statement.

Some of the other fiscal incentives, subsidies and concessions announced by the ‘Industrial Investment and Employment Promotion Policy of Uttar Pradesh 2017’ includes stamp duty exemption, capital and infrastructure interest subsidy, employee provident fund reimbursement and electricity duty exemption, subject to certain conditions, to attract investments. Livemint

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