Gujarat announces slew of industry incentives in new IT policy

To push investment in IT/ITeS sector in Gujarat by five times, to increase industry turnover to USD 1 billion and provide employment to 10 lakh people in next five years are some of the features of the new IT Policy unveiled by state government today after a gap of three years.

PTI| Last Updated: Nov 15, 2014, 23:58 PM IST

Ahmedabad: To push investment in IT/ITeS sector in Gujarat by five times, to increase industry turnover to USD 1 billion and provide employment to 10 lakh people in next five years are some of the features of the new IT Policy unveiled by state government today after a gap of three years.

The blueprint also offers a slew of incentives to IT industry to establish and expand its base in the state which has been lagging behind its peers like Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Delhi NCR region on the IT and ITeS front.

The state government also declared its e-governance policy for the next five years which aims to create a separate 'IT Cadre'.

It had declared last IT policy in 2007 which expired in 2011 .

"The policy promises a slew of incentives to IT industry, including 100% exemption in stamp duty and registration fee, assistance in land purchase, total loan interest subsidy to MSMEs units and subsidy in range of 5%-7% to others, 100% exemption on electricity duty for five years, and many other initiatives to encourage companies," State government spokesperson and Finance Minister Saurabh Patel said in a statement.

The policy also envisions ramping up investment in the IT/ITeS sector by five times, raising the turnover of industry to USD 1 billion and to provide direct employment to 10 lakh people.

A special package of incentives will be offered on a case-to-case basis for mega IT/ITeS projects which are capable of creating new employment for over 1,000 persons in the case of IT and 1,500 persons in the case of mega ITeS units.

The policy also announces financial support for research and development (R&D), patent assistance, technology acquisition fund, quality certification, lease rental subsidy, employment generation grant on EPF, market development support and simplification of labour laws for such firms, the statement said.

However, the opposition Congress has criticised the IT policy saying it offers nothing new.

"Due to the gap of three years, without any IT policy,

no new investments came in the sector so far," state Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said.

"All the incentives given in the policy are already being given by other states like Tamil Nadu, which has gone way ahead of Gujarat in the sector," he said.

Meanwhile, Patel said the e-governance policy 2014-2019 has been drawn on the line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Digital India' programme aiming to give "minimum government, maximum governance.

"The policy aims at providing ICT-enabled all-round sustainable development, transparent, affordable and efficient public service delivery closer to doorsteps of citizens and to ensure socio-economic empowerment of all through Digital Inclusion," he said.

The policy envisions to provide around 500 services through electronics systems.

"To encompass service delivery channels and (to) cater to the various services being delivered to the citizens, the state government shall implement e-Gujarat--an integrated state portal--which will deliver service of various departments of the state government, improve efficiency, fostering integration and promoting digitisation of statewide data/records," the statement said.

Observing that with an increased focus on e-governance, availability of skilled manpower has become a must to sustain various initiatives, the policy proposes setting up of IT Cadre in the state which would assist the department in conceptualising, designing, monitoring and managing IT initiatives across the state.

The e-governance policy also endeavours to build 5,000 additional Citizen Service Centres (CSC), which will take their total number to 20,000 to deliver nearly 500 service closer to the doorstep of the people, the release added.