Visakhapatnam: The Port City is on the first list of smart city. But, Vizag’s wait for turning into an Information Technology Investment Region (ITIR) is unlikely to be over soon.
Even though the proposal for an ITIR at Vizag had been planned a couple of years ago, Union minister for IT and Communication Ravi Sankar Prasad during his visit to the Port City on Thursday said the ITIR policy is being revisited by the central government. He said that even Odisha government had submitted a proposal for an ITIR, but a decision would be possible only after the policy is reviewed.
The development comes at a time when the AP government is looking to attract IT firms to the state – especially in Vizag. “The major advantage of the ITIR project is that a large portion of funding will be provided by the Centre for various infrastructure projects,” said an IT department official. He said, “Everybody knows about AP’s financial condition and funds for developing infrastructure is very essential to attract IT companies. We have been waiting for approval from the central government, but now considering the Union minister’s statement, it is likely to take more time.”
Incidentally, Union IT minister Ravi Sankar Prasad did not specify any time line for the announcement of a new or altered ITIR policy.
“When the ITIR project was announced for Hyderabad, the central government’s share was around Rs 3,200 crore only for development of infrastructure, whether it was extension of MMTS lines or metro rail and upgradation of roads. Vizag would have benefited hugely if the ITIR had been announced today,” opined an managing director of an IT firm in the city. “Even during the recent partnership summit, large number of MoUs were from small and medium companies. An ITIR announcement would have definitely made an impact to draw large MNCs to our city.”
The ITIR concept was notified in 2008 in order to promote investment in IT, ITES and electronic manufacturing sectors. As per the initial requirements of the policy, a minimum area of 40 square kilometres had to be delineated for ITIR. Out of the total area, 40% is to be earmarked for processing zone and the remaining for non-processing zone.
The processing zone would comprise IT, ITeS units along with associated logistics, other services and required infrastructure, as has been mentioned on the website of DEITY (department of electronics and information technology). The non-processing area was to include residential, commercial and other social and institutional infrastructure.