How Goa is becoming the next IT destination for Startups
In December 2015, the state of Goa announced the IT and electronics policy in which it declared number of incentives – most of them focused on the growth and development of the IT and Electronics sectors in the state. These were basically aimed at the green field developments, brown field developments and also focusing on the small and medium enterprises, particularly in the startup space. There were incentives ranging from tax incentives, land and concessional prices, availability of reliable and affordable power.
There were also incentives in terms of relaxation of electricity charges for small and medium enterprises, salary payback, concession on internet bandwidths etc. So right across the spectrum both for large, small and medium enterprises, the policies were aimed to take adequate care of all the segments. Apart from that, the Government of Goa has earmarked about 50 acres of land for the IT park at Chimbel which is about six km from Panaji and 150 acres of land at a place called Tuem which is in North Goa. “As far as the electronics park is concerned, we will be pushing it for a final approval with the Government of India and also the other green field EMC schemes. So I think the project should materialize in about 12 – 18 months as there is lot of interest from the industry. IT park will be developed on a PPP basis unlike the conventional IT parks so we are not going to go-ahead with the existing models – we will focus more on having a cluster driven approach looking at variety of segments,” says Ameya Abhyankar, director – IT and special secretary to Chief Minister, Government of Goa.
An opportunity to leapfrog
The state is best known for its tourism but the IT sector is also quite significant in Goa, informs Abhyankar. “There are more than 250 IT companies in Goa out of which 70 percent of the companies would be in the startup space. There are lot of interesting products and services that are coming out of Goa which are presently servicing international market. There are startups based out of Goa who are developing tourism solutions, logistics solutions, transport solutions and eCommerce solutions for clients that are abroad. There are also large number of companies that are into website design, packaging design and many new areas.” He emphasized on the availability of English speaking human resource which is much higher than most of the other parts of the country and also mentioned that the Goa has the lowest attrition rate as compared to other states.
With the Startup India, Standup India the whole focus is to try and be at the top of the value chain and look at R&D design prototyping, says Abhayankar. Talking about the prevailing challenges, he said that the first thing is to build a better visibility of Goa as an IT destination by showcasing the great product and services that has originated from Goa, in addition to showing the HR freedom for IT. “Earlier there was no policy so now a policy has also been put in place. Goa also has an international recognition, so it has an inherent brand value. Therefore with so much of scope, I firmly see IT as a sunrise sector for Goa and we are very optimistic. As far as the infrastructure is concerned with IT parks coming up and the policy falling into place, I think over the next five to seven years, Goa would be one of the most preferred IT destinations.”
Connecting every household with fiber
Goa is one of the great models of broadband penetration in anywhere in the country, right from the year 2009, says Abhyankar. “We have rolled out and successfully commissioned a Goa Wide Broadband Network where all 189 village panchayats are connected with one GB fiber link. From the state to all taluka headquarters and all district headquarters are connected on 10 GB fiber. Apart from that, we have other locations covering schools and colleges, so in terms of broadband availability we are currently looking to move into phase two, where we plan to connect every house with fiber. From the connectivity view point, there is a sufficiently robust OFC (Optical Fibre Network) infrastructure in Goa. We will be looking to leverage it and ensure that the required bandwidth is made available to IT industry or IT companies looking to invest in Goa,” he added.
Adopting technologies for transformation
Giving an insight on how the state is using robust technologies like Big Data, Analytics, Cloud and IoT, Abhyankar informs that Panjim has already been announced for the smart city project and it is also a part of Amrut mission, so they are working with the State’s Urban Development Department to see how IoT can be leveraged for the smart city project. “As far as cloud is concerned, we are launching a new data center which will work on virtualization of servers. So, it will essentially have a cloud architecture. Then as far as analytics is concerned, we are looking at using social media tools for understanding public sentiments about different government services, their delivery, and reaching out to people by addressing their grievances. We also plan to do performance rating of different government departments through the use of big data analytics.” He further added that the State wants to work on a platform where small and medium businesses can be visible and can be described as per the product and services they are offering. Apart from that they can also be rated and ranked so that the larger chunk of business comes to Goa.