Amidst much fanfare, chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday launched the Bengal Silicon Valley Hub making a formal declaration of a Rs 100 crore investment commitment from Infosys.
“I would request my IT friends to follow the example of Infosys which has committed to set up its centre on 50 acre of land here. This is the second Silicon Valley after the one in America. Our hub is on 100 acres. Come and set up units here and if you (read IT companies) require more land then tell us. We are ready to provide another 100 acres for the IT companies,” said Miss Banerjee while inaugurating the hub in Action Area II in Rajarhat.
Infosys on Monday committed a new software development centre with an investment amounting to Rs 100 crore and creation of 1,000 jobs in the first phase. “The project will be spread over 50 acres and Hafeez Contractor has been engaged to design 25,000 square feet in the first phase which will be completed in 15 months. The company is eager to work with the state government,” said senior VP of Infosys, Ramdas Kamath.
Initially conceived in 2008, Infosys had proposed an investment of Rs 500 crore and employment to over 6,000 people on a 90-acre campus in Rajarhat. But land turned out to be a problem and later a 50-acre plot in Rajarhat was delivered to the company in 2012.
However, trouble started as Infosys demanded SEZ status which was against the Trinamul government’s industrial policy. SEZ status was again sought in May 2016 and the company went into a tussle with the state government.
The problem was finally resolved with the company accepting the Trinamul-led government’s offer of tax benefits that were proposed instead of SEZ.
Speaking at the inaugural programme on Monday, Miss Banerjee urged IT companies to forget about the advantages they get in Bangalore and Hyderabad and come to Bengal as they will get much bigger talent pool here. She even requested the IT workforce of those states to come and work in Bengal.
She said that the upcoming hub may become the world famous destination of IT hub in future. “Bengal’s earlier perception of anti-industry has changed to pro-industry. I believe in construction and not destruction and we have strived to attain a positive environment for our industry friends,” she said.
Detailing the advantages of working in Bengal, Miss Banerjee said that the operation cost is very low, attrition rate is less than three per cent compared to 35 per cent in Bangalore and the employment opportunity has increased by over 67 per cent.
Urging industrialists to treat her government as their family and to judge the advantages through the economic parameters before investing in the state, Miss Banerjee said Bengal’s GDP is 9.15 per cent, while it is 6.70 for the country.
In the industrial sector, the state has grown 16.29 per cent while the country’s growth is a meagre 5.54 per cent and in service sector the state’s growth is 15.61 per cent while that of the country is 8.30 per cent, she said adding that according to a report of the Ministry of Labour, unemployment has decreased by 40 lakh in the state.
On the occasion, Miss Banerjee launched the state IT Policy and the e-governance website ‘Utkarsha Bangla’. Three IT Parks namely Siliguri phase II, Malda and Purulia were also inaugurated on Monday.
Meanwhile, Reliance Jio Infocom has sought 40 acres of land from West Bengal to set up a Data Centre in the city. The Data Centre project was announced by MD Reliance Industries Mukesh Ambani in the Bengal Global Business Summit 2018.
State finance minister Amit Mitra announced signing of four memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with the state government. Amazon Internet Services signed an agreement with WBIDC for undertaking skill development in cloud services wherein 20,000 students will directly benefit annually.
The Fugisoft signed an agreement to impart education on machine learning, embedded technology, cyber security and 3D technology.
Electronic Sector Skills Council of India to provide training and Bharat Chamber of Commerce signed an agreement to set up an incubation centre.