In the last couple of years, Odisha has marched ahead with confidence to etch its name firmly in the IT landscape of the country. It has taken giant strides in IT business, emerging as a pre-eminent IT hub in Eastern India, and attracting leading IT companies to the state.
The IT sector has been going from strength to strength in terms of attracting investment and generating employment in recent years. The visionary leadership of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and conducive policies have already transformed the state into a magnet for industrial investment over the years. The positive effects of the leadership have worked well for the IT sector investment in the state as well.
Fuelled by infrastructure development, nurturing of skill ecosystem, strong support for start-up culture and industry-specific supportive policies have helped the state become a coveted hub of IT investment. Recently, a report by Nasscom and Deloitte found that Bhubaneswar is now one of the emerging tier-two technology hubs in India. The companies that are looking into investment in the state are now attracted by access to a fresh and skilled talent pool, cost-effective operations, robust infrastructure and support government.
Odisha was one of the earliest states to nurture an IT ecosystem and domestic IT majors like TCS, Infosys, Wipro and Tech Mahindra had set up their development centres in Bhubaneswar long ago. Bhubaneswar was also one of the first three cities to host the Software Technology Parks three decades ago.
With a strong IT ecosystem already in place, Odisha is currently in a vantage position to gain further momentum in the IT sphere with renewed confidence to make its mark. Odisha is already home to hundreds of large and small IT and professional services consultancy organisations, including Infosys, TCS, IBM, Tech Mahindra, Deloitte and Mindtree. Leading IT MNC, Accenture will be setting up its facility in Bhubaneswar soon to add to the galaxy of companies.
The Big 4 consulting firms - PwC, Deloitte, EY and KPMG already have their presence in the state. Similarly, Concentrix BPO, one of the world’s leading professional services firms, was inaugurated by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in May last year.
The growing confidence on Odisha as an investment destination in the IT sphere speaks volumes about the promising prospects it offers in future. An increasing number of IT majors are currently visiting the state to establish offshore development centres.
With a huge talent pool, favourable and hassle-free business environment, and political stability, Odisha is well-poised to be a sought-after IT destination in the country. Odisha government is also determined to create a conducive environment for the industry to flourish. Initiatives like the establishment of IT parks, customised incentives for IT companies, and industry-friendly policies promoting the growth of the IT sector have contributed significantly to creating a welcoming environment for the industry. Odisha has implemented several investor-friendly policies, tailored for various sectors to encourage investment and economic growth.
In 2022, the state developed a new IT policy that provides incentives that are competitive nationally. Acknowledging the necessity of having a competitive edge in cutting-edge IT technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, cloud computing, etc., the policy provides specific incentives to units working in these areas. This is on top of the alluring advantages in areas like taxes, power, land, and capital investment. These policies collectively aim to create a business-friendly environment, attract investments, foster economic growth, and generate employment opportunities across various sectors in Odisha.
The state boasts of a pool of skilled professionals graduating from various technical and educational institutions. There’s a focused attention on improving the quality of IT education to meet industry demands. Odisha also has a sizeable pool of skilled workforce, which is essential for the IT industry. Bhubaneswar is ranked second among these hubs for the total number of management graduates and third for the total number of STEM graduates.
Knowing the importance of new-age skills and skills in frontier technologies, the Odisha Cabinet has allocated Rs 385 crore for the Nutana Unnata Abhilasha (NUA) Odisha Scheme under which one lakh youths will be skilled annually for the next three years, creating employment opportunities. As part of its efforts to prepare youth for the future, the Odisha government will provide skill training for emerging technologies under NUA Odisha scheme. Students can learn Cloud Computing, AI, VR, Data Science, 3D printing etc., under this program.
The development of IT-specific infrastructure, such as special economic zones (SEZs), IT parks, and excellent connectivity through roads, ports, and airports, has attracted IT businesses. The state’s ready-to-use infrastructure spans more than 750 acre. One of the lowest lease rental rates in the nation is Rs 20 per square foot for towers that have been notified by the government. Plug-and-play infrastructure that is ready for immediate use is offered by Info Valley and O-Hub, a top-notch incubation facility for entrepreneurs established by the Government of Odisha.
Odisha’s strategic location on the eastern coast of India provides easy access to both domestic and international markets. Its proximity to Southeast Asian countries has also encouraged trade and business ties. Besides, compared to some other major IT hubs, the cost of operations, including office spaces, living expenses, and employee salaries, might be relatively lower in Odisha, making it an attractive destination for businesses. Odisha is also massively improving air connectivity; especially connectivity to major cities, hinterlands and international destinations which has facilitated the movement of professionals. Odisha government has also held several investor outreach programmes across the world to showcase the advantages of Odisha as a favoured destination. A focused push to attract investment in semiconductor sector has also borne rich dividends.
Unlike other states, Odisha provides political stability as well as open, progressive governance led by the Chief Minister. The state has a governance philosophy based on 5T, where T stands for technology, time, collaboration, transparency, and transformation. Technology is a key component of the state’s governance strategy, and this emphasis on technology is propelling Odisha’s information technology industry to new heights.
Many factors have contributed to Odisha’s positioning as an upcoming IT destination, fostering an environment conducive to IT investment, employment and innovation. The IT landscape is set to gallop further in the coming years.
Principal Secretary, Electronics & IT Department, Government of Odisha