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IT’s a THUMBS-UP Industry expects effective implementation of policy

IT companies in the state are extremely pleased with the thorough policy that has finally been launched. Around 270 IT companies have emerged in Goa with little or no support. If the policy is implemented in the right spirit, it can revolutionize the IT sector in the state

23rd July 2018, 02:51 Hrs

Karan Sehgal  

The launch of Information-Technology (IT) Policy by the state government just a week ago was such a significant event that it could be seen as a watershed moment in the history of the state, provided the policy is successfully implemented.   

The IT sector, which was eagerly waiting for the launch of the policy, expressed satisfaction because the policy is in the right path and has taken care of much of their concerns. The stakeholders are now looking forward to seeing effective implementation of the policy by the state government.   

Prajyot Mainkar, Chairman of Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI)’s IT Committee, said, “It’s really good that the IT Policy has benefits for both new as well as existing companies. I really think new start-ups must get benefits because it will help in growth of the sector. At the same time, even the existing companies are facing issues with infrastructure and etc. So, it’s good that existing companies are also getting benefits under the policy.”  

Mainkar continued, “Moreover, we have six incubation centres in Goa, which will ensure that start-ups not only get space but they also get good mentoring.”  

It was expected that the policy would live up to the expectations because the government and the industry had met and brain-stormed over it on a number of occasions. Goa is a small state and its IT ecosystem is made up of young start-ups. Therefore, the policy had to be such, which addressed the issues of such companies.  

Mangirish Salelkar, President, Goa Technology Association (GTA), said, “I think it’s a good policy. Most requests of the industry have been acknowledged. Some really good initiatives include the state government reimbursing Rs 10,000 per resource hired to the IT companies. Moreover, subsidy on internet charges will be really helpful because the cost of internet in Goa is 3-4 times that of in big cities like Bangalore.”  

A significant number of IT companies in the state are into products based on new technologies. Considering this, the government has kept enough provision for cutting-edge technologies like Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Robotics, 3-D Printing and etc.   

Jason Fernandes, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer (COO), AEToken (AEToken.io), said, “Blockchain could well be the most important technological innovation of this century and so I’m thrilled to learn that it is one of the key areas Goa government is targeting. The international patent reimbursement is also intriguing. As an international patent holder myself, I believe the scheme will go a long way toward encouraging innovation in the state.”   

Most subsidies offered under the policy are a function of number of Goan origin or Goan graduates employed in an IT company. The policy says that an IT company will get 50% of the subsidy under a head if it employs 30% or lesser Goan origin / Goan graduates on its payroll. If the proportion of Goan origin / Goan graduates is between 30% to 60%, then the company will get 75% of the subsidy. However, if it employs more than 60% Goan origin / Goan graduates, it will get 100% of the subsidy.  

Amarsh Chaturvedi, Co-Founder, Transerve Technologies, said, “The idea of IT Policy giving subsidies will help companies become competitive. The term for which the government will provide subsidy will be utilised by Goan companies in establishing themselves.”  

However, Chaturvedi didn’t sound enthusiastic about the part of the policy, which makes employing Goan origin / Goan graduates as one of the key determining factors to avail subsidy. He said, “In Goa, very often, we don’t find the kind of tech talent we want. For example, at our company, we wanted to hire a Python (a software language) developer. We hardly received any application from Goa for this position. Eventually, we had to hire someone from outside.”  

Interestingly, Vincent Toscano, Vice-President, Goa IT-Professionals (GITP) said that he doesn’t find any issue with the policy making employing Goan origin / Goan graduates as a key determining factor for giving subsidies. This is because even if an IT company employs less than 30% Goan origin / Goan graduates of its work-force, it can still get 50% of the subsidy amount.   

Toscano continued, “Efforts like internet and power subsidies and making it easy to set up shop for IT company will go a long way in simplifying the IT business in the state. Today, an IT company has to go to several government departments to get all sorts of approvals. This policy does away with that, as it promotes self-certification by IT companies.”   

The growth in IT sector will also demand highly skilled and qualified work-force from the state. If the state is unable to provide right kind of people to IT companies, it will totally defeat the very purpose of the policy.  

Salelkar continued, “My only concern is that I hope the government takes steps to reform the education sector so that we get right number of people to employ from within the state. In recent times, we have seen a downward trend in employing locals. Especially for experienced profiles, you have to hire people from outside.”  

The policy has clearly set the stage for the growth of the IT sector in Goa. Now the government will have to implement it so that Goa indeed becomes one of the leading IT destinations in the country.  

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