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Cauvery ebbs, software waves sweep high-tech show

Bangalore, Oct. 28: The fiery row over water was expected to generate a lot of steam. But, in the end, it all fizzled out. Contrary to apprehensions, the Cauvery dispute did not pour water on the Karnataka government’s annual infotech show. IT.Com, the five-day event billed as Asia’s biggest IT show, was kicked off by President Abdul Kalam to a smooth start at the Bangalore Palace grounds today.

There is more good news in store for the state’s IT department: early signs from IT.Com indicated that the show will, in all probability, provide a boost to the Indian IT industry.

“The show is bound to underline the fact that the global downturn has not affected India that badly,” state IT secretary Vivek Kulkarni said.

“BPO (business process outsourcing) brought in about Rs 500 crore of investments in the last 12 months. Now, there is a Fortune 10 company coming to invest about $ 200 million here,” he added.

According to Ajit Eblabadkar of Wind River Systems, the present IT.Com should witness a virtual outsourcing wave. There are several participants from countries such as Germany, the UK, Belgium, Singapore, Russia, South Korea and Mauritius. Among those who graced the inaugural function were British e-commerce minister Srephen Timms and Mauritius’ IT and communications minister Deelchand Jeeha.

In his inaugural speech, President Kalam referred to the feel-good factor enjoyed by the Indian IT industry. He said India’s software industry earns about $ 10 billion in export revenues, contributing 16 per cent to the nation’s exports. But he also pointed out that “while in the next 10 years the gross domestic product has to double, the contribution of the software industry is expected to increase at least 10-fold.” The software industry, he added, is becoming a formidable component of the nation’s wealth.

Making a pointed reference to the situation after the September 11 terror attacks, he emphasised that “our software industry has to be made more robust and less fragile if we are going to make it the most significant contributor to our economy.”

Kalam observed that the growth in the domestic market has been left mainly to the government and requested industry leaders to evolve a long-term strategy for the growth of the domestic market without depending on the government.

The President also added that India had seen a “networking of talents” to make more than 20,000 man-year projects such as satellites, fighter aircraft, launch vehicles, atomic energy and missiles. “We can certainly think of a networking of talents in our country’s research labs and academics to ensure that many of the Indian multinationals make products which bring in per capita revenue almost 10 times higher than what we get today.”

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