“Use of Information, Communications & Technology (ICT) in all government and private departments is the key to provide efficient and rapid services to the consumers and the society. The government of Punjab is aggressively encouraging the use of IT in all its departments to deliver the best possible services to our citizens. What you can’t measure, you can’t administer, hence IT is the key. Through use of ICT, we have been able to bring 1700 ‘Mandis’ of Punjab on one portal, which has made tracking of various transactions, receipts and payments so easy. We transacted business worth Rs 5,000 crore this year and aim to take this figure up to Rs 40,000 crore next year. I invite Infosys and other ICT companies to come to Punjab and set up their units. We would fully support you with good infrastructure, connectivity, favourable policies and well trained man power. We are continuously trying to put in place the best possible infrastructure and most congenial business climate and have laid down a very conducive IT policy for the growth of ICT in the region”, shared Mr Adaish Partap Singh Kairon, Hon’ble Minister of IT, Food & Civil Supplies, Government of Punjab while inaugurating the 2 day IT event Destination IT@North 2012, here at Hotel Mountview, Chandigarh. Destination IT@ North 2012 is being jointly organized by Chandigarh Administration, Government of Punjab, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) with an aim to promote the region as an ICT Hub. While sharing the new projects of Punjab Government, the minister added “After thumping success of STPI Mohali, we are now launching STPI in Amritsar, an 83 Acre and 235 acre IT Park in Sector 101, Mohali in 1st phase and in 2nd phase respectively, and 400 Acre IT City in Mohali and an Electronic Systems Design (ESDM ) Cluster at Ropar. We are also concerned about the environment and are pro actively spreading the awareness about the disposal of E Waste to the industry and society. We are also banning the burning of Wheat and Paddy straw”, he added Speaking on the occasion, Mr S Gopalakrishnan, President Designate, CII & Executive Co-Chairman Infosys Limited said, “Destination IT@ North 2012 would present the right kind of platform to the local players to learn best practices and expand their businesses. Infosys has been recording the fastest growth rates in revenues from Chandigarh. This speaks volumes about the potential of this region. As Tier 1 cities are getting more crowded and costlier, Tier-2 cities like Chandigarh, Mohali, Baddi and Panchkula have a tremendous opportunity to be ICT Hubs. Immense talent pool with great enthusiasm backed by conducive infrastructure, low costs and supportive governments are some of the advantages of the region”, he added. Elaborating on the IT sector in India as whole, he said “the Indian IT sector has grown unbelievably by 12 times in the last 12 years. It stood at $ 8 billion in 2002, now stands at $ 100 Billion and is projected to touch 300 billion $ by 2020. It presently provides employment to 25 lakh Indians and 60000 non Indians and is expected to employ 5 – 60 lakhs by 2020”, he highlighted. Highlighting the region’s ICT Perceptive, Mr Anurag Verma, Managing Director, Punjab Infotech shared that “Tricity is one of the most attractive destinations for IT Industry. The requirements for any industry to start up is good quality manpower, high quality of life, good infrastructure, good road connectivity, top notch technical business education, availability of land and investor friendly policies. This region is ahead of a lot of states in all the aforementioned aspects. Cost of living is the lowest here as compared to cities like Bangalore. We at Punjab Infotech are also in talks with the NASSCOM to increase the industry readiness of engineering students who want to peruse a career in IT and pick up 10 engineering institutes and target to train 1000 students with skills and expertise. Our approach is of two pronged strategy, firstly acquisition of Land and secondly encouraging private developers to set up IT parks and SEZs. Punjab already has readily available land for IT sector like IT Park in Mohali, IT City in Mohali, Quark City Mohali, Yellow Stone Landmark Infocity etc. for investors and the Govt of Punjab Is committed to provide a congenial atmosphere to the budding IT entrepreneurs”. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Omkar Rai, Director General, Software Technology Parks of India said, “The Chandigarh Tricity (Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula) started software exports back in 1998. From 1998, where the export was around 30-40 crores, the Tricity area has come a long way and now exports are Rs 1900 crore.. Today, the STPI in Mohali is the top exporter of software among the tier 2 cities in Northern India. It is also one of the top three software exporters amongst the tier 2 cities in India. Due to the entrepreneurial nature of its workforce, the local industry contributes to nearly 50% of the total revenue”. Speaking on the occasion, Mr K K Sharma, Adviser to the Administrator UT Chandigarh said, “Through Destination IT@North, we aim to integrate the working of all the 3 governments to project the region as an ICT Hub. The governments are very proactively buying IT products and services to improve their functioning and put E Governance in place as well. This would certainly boost ICT sector in the region and make it an attractive destination and today’s event is a step to enhance ICT development & synergize with all stakeholders to build right ICT eco-system in the region.” Ms Prerna Puri, Secretary – Information Technology, Chandigarh Administration shared that “Destination IT @ North is being organised with the theme as ‘Transforming Future through IT’ because IT would be the real game changer in the current global scenario.We need to use IT aggressively in all our departmenst and build the desired ICT eco-system on the whole for rapid economic growth and proper and timely delivery of serivces. Mr Sameer Goel, Chairman, CII Chandigarh Council called for putting IT ITES in the “Essential Servies List” because of the dependability of various key services like Hospitals, Rail and Air Transport etc on IT. It should remain open 24/7 irrespective of bandh etc, like in case of Bangalore.