Telangana’s IT sector has been on a gravy train for the last two decades. The sector’s exports for 2019-20 were Rs 1,28,807 crore, which should stir the green-eyed monster to life in its neighbours. The figures meant a whopping 17.93% growth over its performance in 2018-19.
The sector provided employment to 5,82,126 IT professionals, which again is 7.2 per cent more than the previous year. And Telangana’s IT exports constituted 11.58 per cent of the total exports of the sector from India.
Like Rome, the IT sector in Hyderabad was not built in a day. Once barren, the land in Madhapur on what was once the city’s outskirts began humming with activity after the then CM N Chandrababu Naidu built Cyber Towers in 1998. It has now become the second Silicon Valley of India, next only to Bengaluru. It is home to all major IT companies, including Accenture, TCS, Microsoft, Infosys, Amazon and Micron. The sector grew due to its intrinsic strength.
After the bifurcation of the state in 2014, Telangana CM K Chandrashekar Rao appointed his son, KT Rama Rao, who worked in a technology concern in the US, as IT minister. The KCR government has decided to spend Rs 10,000 crore each year in the next five years to expand infrastructure and turn Hyderabad into a global city.
However, the IT sector in Hyderabad is at present highly service-based. If it becomes product-based, the growth could get further acceleration, provided the sector can come up with products like Facebook or WhatsApp.
This would free our reliance on companies based out of the US, besides spurring employment locally. Another area Telangana could make a foray into is digital technology, which holds out a bright future besides providing huge employment.
The SME sector could be promoted with subsidies to take part in this revolution. There is also a felt need for building an ecosystem for Global Capability Centres to thrive. Already Telangana is making efforts to draw companies exiting China—after the COVID-19 crisis—interested in Hyderabad. If the wooing works, it would further push the state into a higher growth trajectory.