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From IT-YT to IT fast lane
- Proposal of Rs 400 crore, Nalanda to get software hub

Patna, Feb. 19: The state which was once forced to shun technology because of the IT-YT attitude of its political masters today took a big leap ahead, receiving proposals of around Rs 400 crore in the field of information technology.

The proposals were advanced at the inaugural session of the two-day IT meet christened “e-Bihar: An Emerging IT Destination”.

The government too appeared more than willing to promote the sector. Chief minister Nitish Kumar announced that the government would provide 200 acres of land at Rajgir in Nalanda district for setting up an IT City and space for two IT parks (area 6 lakh sqft) in Patna.

Till the late 1990s, any software engineering student from Bihar would go to the US or other countries to seek a job. Once the software boom started in India, they began moving out to cities like Bangalore and Hyderabad to cash in on the burgeoning Indian IT industry. Bihar was left behind with Lalu Prasad, the former chief minister, dismissing the sector as “yeh IT-YT kya hota hai”.

But a change is taking place, slowly but surely.

San Diego-based Legend 3D, the firm behind the jaw-dropping 3D animations in Hollywood flicks like Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Shrek and Transformers 3, is said to be considering Bihta near Patna over some other countries to set up their next exclusive outsourcing centre. The state cabinet yesterday gave approval to a proposal from Essar Group’s Aegis BPO to set up a 300-seater facility and another proposal from the Bangalore-based Srishti Software Applications Pvt. Ltd. to build a 100- seat software development centre, both at Biscomaun Tower in Patna. (See Metro Page 7)

Several state-of-the-art people-centric IT facilities of the government were also inaugurated today by the chief minister.

Till a few years ago, residents used to talk about condition of roads but now they can find CCTV camera surveillance on the streets as well as Wi-Fi connectivity.

Nitish announced several major infrastructure development projects in the IT sector. “The government will develop an IT city near the new Nalanda University over an area of 200 acres. We are also trying to develop Patna as a business district for the IT industry. Accordingly, we are trying to build the required workspace by developing a small-scale IT Park on an area of over of 1 lakh square feet near Dak Bungalow Crossing and another medium scale IT Park spread over 5 lakh square feet at Bandar Bagicha. Both these facilities would be ready within three to four years,” he said.

IT minister Shahid Ali Khan announced that his department would provide Wi-Fi facility at all major tourist spots across the state.

The delegates at the meet were also all praise for the developments in the IT sector in Bihar. “After witnessing such a high-technology show here today, I was wondering why Bihar is still not being identified as an IT-savvy state. I believe the message of rapid development in the IT sector in Bihar has not spread across the country. The IT Policy of Bihar is one of the best but it has hardly been heard in other parts of the country. Thus, my request to the state government is ensure proper branding of Bihar as the next IT destination of the country,” said B V Naidu, former director of Software Technology Parks of India.

National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom), the industry leader, also pledged support to the government.

“Even I did not know about the development in the IT sector in Bihar. The Indian IT industry is worth US $ 118 billion and IT and ITes companies are now looking to Tier-2 cities. Nasscom would provide all possible support to the state government in promoting the IT sector,” said Nasscom president S. Chandrashekhar.