Telangana’s Information Technology Minister K.T. Rama Rao on Thursday urged the Centre to reinstate the Information Technology and Investment Region (ITIR) project in Hyderabad.
In a letter to Union Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, he wrote that projects like ITIR will provide a huge boost to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiatives such as Make in India and Atmanirbhar Bharat.
“The youth of Telangana will benefit immensely from the employment opportunities that will be created due to ITIR,” he wrote, expressing his hope that the Centre will rise to the occasion and respond to the Telangana government’s sincere request in the right earnest.
Pointing out that the IT industry has been impacted by the global economic slowdown, he said the post-Covid economic recovery may easily take some years to materialize.
KTR, as Rama Rao is popularly known, recalled that the Union government in 2008 had designed the ITIR project to promote greater IT investments in the country. The project was initially sanctioned in 2010 for Hyderabad and Bengaluru, and later a few other cities were added. As per the requirement of the project guidelines, 49,000 acres of land in 3 clusters (both brownfield and greenfield) were identified in Hyderabad where new IT companies and IT space developers could be encouraged to set up their development centers.
The scheme had a provision for the Centre to pitch in with gap funding for the required trunk infrastructure from its existing schemes. Accordingly, a shelf of 5 projects with a total outlay of Rs 3,275 crore were identified for the Hyderabad ITIR. The Centre had accorded its approval to the proposals submitted, and also agreed to support the infrastructure proposals in two phases. The expected date of completion of the first phase was 2018 while the same for the remaining projects were within 20 years thereafter.
Regarding the first two projects approved in phase 1 with an outlay of Rs 165 crore, the state government and the Centre were engaged in correspondence with the Ministries of Railways and Road Transport for sanctioning additional budgets to take up these two projects. However, none of the ministers responded favorably to these proposals and the two projects remained non-starters.
KTR recalled that Chief Minister K. Chandrasekar Rao and wrote several letters to the Centre during the past six years but there was no response whatsoever.
He pointed out Telangana was able to double the value of IT exports from Hyderabad from Rs 57,258 crore in 2013-14 to Rs 1,28,807 crore in 2019-20.
“This leads to a cumulative growth of 110 percent which is much higher than the national average. In the same period, our IT sector employment also grew from 3,25,000 to 5,82,126,” he added.
The minister mentioned that the marquee companies of the world have chosen Hyderabad to set up their largest operations outside their own headquarters. The list includes illustrious companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Apple, Facebook, Salesforce, Uber, Qualcomm, and ServiceNow.
The state government has also been taking a lead role in promoting emerging technologies like AI, Data Analytics, IoT, cybersecurity, digital entertainment technologies (Animation, Gaming, VFX), Blockchain, and drones.