VISAKHAPATNAM: The IT companies and IT entrepreneurs have expressed their deep dissent over the low budgetary allocations to the IT sector in Andhra Pradesh. In the state’s first budget introduced by finance minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu Wednesday, just `111 crore was allocated to the IT sector, belying the expectations of the IT companies.
Right from the time of formation of the government, chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu and minister for IT P Raghunatha Reddy have been announcing several sops and assured unemployed youth that the government will create five lakh jobs by 2019. But to keep their promise, the IT sector would need about 5 crore s.ft of space (about 1,000 buildings). Besides, several other issues such as roads, lighting, power, incentives to the companies, power subsidy, bandwidth subsidy and other supportive infrastructure like sports complexes, schools, 24/7 power supply, water etc., will have to be developed as well which are bound to cost quite a lot.
The chief minister himself announced that the IT sector would be developed on a priority basis to create more jobs. On several occasions, the minister for IT has also assured the existing IT managements that all their pending issues would be settled soon. The government has also invited new entrepreneurs assuring that all the clearances will be given through the single-window system.
“We expected that the government will set aside a big share in the budget according to its announcements. But the allocation of just `111 crore is sufficient for the salaries of the IT officials and employees alone. The government is talking about huge projects, but the allocation of funds for the IT sector do not match the expectations,” opined O Naresh Kumar, chief executive officer of Symbiosis Technologies and vice-chairman of IT Parks Association, Rushikonda.
The IT professionals, who are expecting a big boom after state bifurcation, are now a disappointed lot. Already, several IT companies have made it clear to the government that they have been facing several problems and sought more sops to create jobs in the sector.
“The allocation of `111 crore for the entire state will send a negative message that the development of IT sector is not among the government’s priorities. Already, there is a rumour that the IT companies located out of Hyderabad do not enjoy much support in the United Andhra Pradesh. Nevertheless, we expected relief from Chandrababu Naidu’s government. But with such less funds, what is the government planning to do?” pointed out an IT professional M Umamaheswari.
Promotional activities of the IT industry include inviting companies to Andhra Pradesh, increasing the number of International conventions, seminars, taking up welcome incentives and more such programmes. But with such less support, the IT department would scarcely meet the expenditure, feels Naresh Kumar.