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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Tech hub policy on way

New Delhi, Dec. 1: The government is finalising a policy on IT hubs that will be larger in scope than special economic zones (SEZs).

These hubs, called information technology investment regions (ITIRs), will have SEZs as well as hardware complexes, free trade zones, warehousing zones and industrial parks.

Hardware units inside the hubs will not be eligible for tax incentives, though those within SEZs and the other entities will enjoy reliefs under existing rules.

There will be office complexes, residential units and social infrastructure such as schools and hospitals in the hubs. “Development of airports may also be considered in ITIRs,” said officials.

The minimum size of a hub will be 40 square kilometres, with at least 40 per cent of the area earmarked for businesses. There will be a demarcation of the region between IT companies and hardware units.

Officials said state governments would choose the sites and developers.

A board, set up by state governments, will manage the hubs and will be empowered to give state-level approvals.

The officials said the department of IT was awaiting the response of various ministries, such as urban development and civil aviation, and the Planning Commission to prepare a cabinet note.

“ITIRs would invite foreign and domestic companies to set up IT and electronic hardware manufacturing units in specific regions to provide a boost to the information technology sector,” the officials said.

Vinnie Mehta, executive director of the Manufactured Association of Information Technology, said, “Currently, India has a capacity of producing only 22 million personal computers for a population of over a billion which is in stark contrast of 100 million for television sets. Surely there is a need to ramp up things (by setting up hubs) if we need to take the benefit of the IT revolution to the masses.”

Hardware consumption in the country at $31 billion is far in excess of production, which is $16 billion.

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