Lucknow, Oct. 17: The Uttar Pradesh cabinet today cleared a plan to set up an infotech hub near Lucknow, sending a message to sceptics who had slammed Akhilesh Yadav’s decision to give students free laptops as an election gimmick.
The chief minister confirmed that the industry department plan had been approved, saying the state’s first information technology city outside Noida would come up on Lucknow’s outskirts.
“The cabinet today approved a plan to set up an independent IT city near Lucknow,” the 39-year-old said.
“The proposed city will be built on government landů on Sultanpur Road on the outskirts of Lucknow. We want more and more investments in this sector and that can come only when we develop infrastructure.”
In the election manifesto for the Assembly polls earlier this year, the Samajwadi Party had promised to distribute laptops free among students of Class XII and tablets among Class X students.
Many, including the Samajwadi’s rivals, had then accused Akhilesh of “populism”.
A senior secretary in the industry department said the distribution of free laptops would be the “first step towards encouraging the IT instinct” among students. “The state government plans to open the IT city, away from Noida, to promote the IT industry so that these students, products of this IT culture, get jobs in the industry.”
Off the record, senior state officials said IT companies were sceptical of investing outside Noida because of lack of infrastructure, but acknowledged that the chief minister’s drive to create an IT environment had sent positive signals to industry.