Orissa has come a long way and has been able to create a large infrastructure. It has attracted several companies to undertake several IT activities in the State. IT is one of the many fields which provides a larger scope for growth. Today, Bhubaneswar is the most popular IT market in Eastern India. After Kolkata, Orissa offers a big market for all IT vendors, investors, distributors and resellers.
In an attempt to enable the IT companies and vendors to reach out to the Channel community of Orissa in totality, recently Kalinga Digital Media organised the Second OITF -2010 (Orissa Information Technology Fair).
This one-day event that brought together government officials, PSUs, large institutions and SMBs under one roof to understand the trend and progress of IT in the state happened on 28th January, 2010. The attempt was purely for the purpose of understanding the IT corporates and vendors to enable their mechanism to create custom-built solutions in a cost-effective manner for the state of Orissa.
The theme of this year’s event was: "How partnering can help in leveraging IT innovation better". The event witnessed a gathering of around 200+ from the IT industry, including the IT honchos, engineering colleges and the channel fraternity.
The event started with the lightening of the ceremonial lamp and a welcome note by Ms S. Mohini Ratna, Editor, VARIndia. The presence of Chief Guest, Shri Surjya Narayan Patro, Minister of Revenue, Government of Orissa, was complemented by the honourable guests that included Dr. N. Vijayaditya, Controller of Certifying Authority, Ministry of Information Technology, Government of India; Prof A. K. Panda, Head, IT Promotion Cell, OCAC, Government of Orissa; and Mr Anshul Gupta, Group General Manager, Railtel Corporation.
Shri Patro, at the outset, extended his sincere thanks to VARIndia for taking the pains to organise this IT Fair and for inviting a number of IT development companies along with their partners in Orissa, and initiating detailed discussions on the prospects of IT in the State. Elaborating on the theme of this year’s event, he informed that a couple of years back the industry rose to the challenges that hindered the IT development in the State. "The direct access to the state or commuting from places like Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai was the major challenge, followed by the state’s internal infrastructure like roads." During the past five years, lots of development work has taken place that has majorly addressed both the issues.
If, on the one hand, Dr. N. Vijayaditya sees the ongoing e-Governance project as one of the growth drivers in the state, then Prof Panda shares that during the last financial year software exports grew by 40 per cent against the country’s average 21 per cent.
Orissa is the only state in Central and Eastern part of India having all the big four IT corporates, namely Infosys, TCS, Wipro and Mahindra Satyam. In addition, a few other companies like MindTree Consulting, Genpact and many more are in the process of setting up their development centres here.
The event was supported and witnessed product showcasing by IT majors like Microsoft, Intel, HP, Canon, NComputing, Railtel, K7 Computing, WatchGuard and eSys.
Gupta of Railtel India, sharing his Corporation’s vision and mission, said, "Our objective is not only to provide broadband connectivity to the areas which have already been connected but to cover the rural areas. RailTel’s network is among the top five companies in the telecom infrastructure sector. Orissa is among the top investment destinations in the country. Railways owe a lot to this state and RailTel being Indian Railway’s telecom infrastructure company is fortunate to have a dense fibre network in Orissa and that alone explains how Railways earn so much in Orissa."
The purpose of attracting the IT vendors’ community to address the gathering on their focus on the Orissa market was successfully achieved as the major IT giants like Canon, HP, Microsoft and WatchGuard made their corporate presentations. Manoj Lalani, President, Information Technology Association of Orissa, was also present at the event.
VARIndia’s initiative OITF has been well received by the big corporates like the previous show and was celebrated with great élan. The occasion did unravel many significant developments for industrial growth and instilled a lot of confidence among the business class for doing good business in that area. Last but not the least, the Fair provided an opportunity to entrepreneurs, VARs, SIs, corporates, resellers and government officials to interact with each other. The audience was enthralled by the cultural programme and hospitality, which was followed by a vote of thanks by Deepak Sahu, Publisher, VARIndia.
Prof A. K. Panda,
Head – IT Promotion Cell, OCAC, Government of Orissa
The software and IT services exports of the state for 2008-09 saw an unprecedented growth of 40%, even during the period of recession. We have set ourselves a target of US$1 billion in export services by the end of 2012. The World Bank Report of 2009 has identified Bhubaneswar among top 3 cities in the country in setting up IT business and environment. The NASSCOM report of 2008 says that Bhubaneswar is among the 15 most promising cities in the country for IT and ITeS industry. The World Bank Report of 2008 says that the GDP rate of the state has grown by 8.5% in the last 5 years.
Orissa is moving very fast on the e-governance front. Currently, we have 40-45 large, mid and small e-governance projects in different stages of implementation, many of which are already in the advanced stage. Once they are implemented, they will have the maximum impact on the rural masses of the state. It has been ensured that all government services would be made accessible to the common man in a transparent, reliable, affordable and convenient manner in order to meet his basic needs. This is a vision of the Orissa Government for e-governance. A few core infrastructure projects have been started, namely Orissa State Wide Area Network (SWAN), Common Services Centre (CSC), the State Data Centre and the latest one to be included – State Delivery Service Gateway. CSC is the most viable project as far as delivery of government services to the rural masses is concerned. Already, 3,800 CSCs with the required infrastructure have been identified and a number of services have been delivered through these centres. There is an electric monitoring tool to monitor the functioning of these CSCs and to make them an efficient one.
Shri Surjya Narayan Patro,
Minister of Revenue, Government of Orissa
Bhubaneswar, which has a history of 5,000 years and finds mention in the Mahabharata, is one of the oldest cities in the country. As a matter of fact, the capital cities of Chandigarh and Bhubaneswar were designed by the same engineer. Unfortunately, the people who were at the helm of affairs designed the city of Bhubaneswar for a population of only 20,000 people, while currently the city has a population of more than 25 lakh. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has envisioned a plan of redesigning this city by 2020, taking into consideration the population and the infrastructure. For this purpose, we are making huge investments.
We had the Infocity built near Bhubaneswar and this quick upliftment has generated huge scope for employment, while opening up other opportunities. Now the Government is taking the future roadmap into consideration and has identified another site for starting a project on Infocity 2. Talks are on and the project is likely to start from April next. This is true not only in the field of IT but also other sectors too. We are achieving fruitful results and in terms of IT investments, our State comes next to Gujarat, which is indeed a very good news for all of us.
Dr. N. Vijayaditya,
Controller of Certifying Authority, Ministry of IT, Govt. of India
You continually get new products and new software. The most important thing for all of us is to look at innovation, i.e. how to bring out these products in an innovative way so that these technologies can be better utilised for the betterment of the state and the people concerned. One of the initiatives taken by the Orissa Government which is worth mentioning is the NREGA scheme. They use this satellite-based technology to find out the beneficiaries of this scheme and have been successful in collecting various information, right from day one. When it was reviewed in the Planning Commission, they had appreciated the kind of information collected and the way they were identified, by way of this technology. They were really able to deliver the needed services to the beneficiaries of the rural employment guarantee scheme. But we need to look at much more than this. Instead of simply applying the technology, we need to see how innovatively or cost-effectively can we deliver these government services at the doorstep of the concerned citizens. That is the most important thing that we need to look at. For example, the concept of UID (Unique Identification Number), which uniquely identifies every single citizen is further going to be linked to various services. Now, we need to look into the mechanisms of interfacing with the citizens, so that they will be able to get these services in the most efficient manner. As we go along deploying technologies, it also becomes important for partnering with companies, both the software and hardware companies, so that we come up with robust technologies which can be used not only in the urban but also rural areas.
There is a committee which has been set up to function along with the Planning Commission and to find out the solutions for using the mobile communication, so that it includes all the people concerned in the financial inclusion. So, this is one area we can look at it.
Group General Manager, Railtel India
The software and systems which have been developed have to reach to the common man in the villages. So, there has to be an effective connectivity system. You can deliver these services through last mile, that can be on radio or fibre. WiMAX is an evolving standard for point-to-multipoint wireless networking and is the newest thing on the connectivity board. This will change the entire picture of networking in the country.
The broadband 2020 vision of the Government which has a rural focus, if implemented effectively can work wonders not only in generating employment but also to the industries (major vendors, stakeholders) in terms of productivity. Apart from the social sector and the industry. Other sectors like education, health, governance and agriculture will also benefit from this implementation. National Knowledge Network is another project that has been approved in the cabinet and it will be a big boost for the knowledge economy in the country. There will be a core network, a distribution network and other such networks wherein 1,500 institutes of repute will be covered. Many institutes from Orissa have also been connected to this network. Through this project, knowledge concentrated in one place can reach more places. Another project which is in the advanced stage of approval is the one where Railtel has committed to connect 50,000 Panchayats based in the Eastern part of India, through fibre-based or WiMAX connectivity. The Indian Railways is also thinking of converting their stations into IT hubs and providing broadband connectivity to trains. So, this is another project for us in the pipeline.