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Bhubaneswar: The Juggernaut Rolls On

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DQI Bureau
New Update

All know that Lord Jagannath is the presiding deity of Orissa

and, understandably, revered across the state. But, not too many are aware that

the benevolent God has also contributed one word to the English lexicon: juggernaut.

No surprise, therefore, that while looking at the IT juggernaut that is

currently rolling across the capital city, Bhubaneswar, the thoughts should

automatically go back toward Lord Jagannath.

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And, while the jury is still out as to whether divine blessings

are responsible for this IT revolution, the fact is that with a growing volume

of software exports, strong e-Governance initiative, and a good local marketthanks

to burgeoning industries ranging from steel, aluminum, power to the nearby

missile testing range at ChandipurBhubaneswar would surely be among the top

favorites to make its mark soon on the Indian tech map.

And, this is no pipedream. Bhubaneswar already ranks very high

on the software exports frontwith Rs 732 crore completed in 2006-07,

Bhubaneswar was 9th in the pecking order among Indian cities. Says Vishal Dev,

director, IT, government of Orissa, "Till last year, we were the largest

city in the whole of Eastern India on software exports, before being overtaken

by Kolkata." And, now have ambitious plans to reach $1,000 mn in software

exports by 2012.

Konark Temple
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It is also one of the few cities in the country that boasts of

the presence of the Big Four of Indian software exports. While Infosys and

Satyam have been present in the city for quite some time and have 3,000 and

1,000 people respectively, TCS, after starting last year, has recruited 300

people. Wipro, too, has started campus construction. Add to this, Genpact, IBM

Daksh, and ICICI, which are starting their eastern region BPO hubs, and it

becomes obvious why Bhubaneswar today commands respect as an IT/BPO destination.

The picture would not be complete without mentioning the arrival of MindTree

Consulting, Aricent, Contiloe Films as well as Perfectus, which plan a 5,000

seater IT/BPO unit.

The arrival of these leading players also indicates how

Bhubaneswar has come of age on both infrastructure as well as manpower fronts.

The city today boasts of four SEZs: the earliest one, the 350 acre Infocity is

already full; the first phase of the DLF Infopark work is in progress, work is

starting on an integrated IT park, known as Knowledge Park, while sanction has

been given to the Mancheswaran Industrial Estate (29 acres).

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Manpower



Such little details prove that while the IT juggernaut is in motion,
Bhubaneswar is totally conscious of the need to develop a social infrastructure

conducive to fostering IT. That explains why the state ranks high in terms of

providing manpower supply; that with forty-five engineering colleges and

forty-three MCA colleges, it could do so, is a no-brainer. But, while earlier

this supply was mainly migrating elsewhere, it is now getting populated in

Bhubaneswar itself.

Strengths

  • Only city in the East to

    have all the Big Four in ITInfosys, Satyam, TCS, and Wipro

  • With rising investments,

    likely to become the worlds largest steel hub

Weaknesses

  • Lack of an international

    airport could hamper software exports run

  • Need for smaller SIs and

    solution providers, as mid-sized enterprises unable to afford TCS or

    Wipro

That fact that technical education is a major priority of the

state government has definitely helped. While engineering colleges affiliated to

nine of the universities in the state were earlier brought and standardized

under the aegis of the Biju Patnaik University, the government is now setting up

an IIIT, where it will start with an M Tech program in order to create a crop of

new qualified faculty. Also on the anvil are plans to start NISER and a campus

of IIT Kharagpur. The Vedanta Group and Sri Sri Ravishankara Vidya Mandir Trust

are also setting up technical colleges in the city.

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Others in the Game



While the larger companies in the city registered an overall growth of 58%
in 2006-07, SMEs like JSS witnessed 120% growth. JSS Consultancy is a domestic

BPO playerit handles Citibank for the entire eastern region, as well as other

major clients like Tata Indicom, HSBC, Citi Financial, HDFC Standard Life, and

Centurion Bank for Orissa.

Its not only about the local SMEs; domestic IT consumption is

also on the rise in the city. Reasons are not too far to locate: while Orissa

today boasts of steel plants like Jindal, Bhushan, and Neelachal, very soon it

will also have Posco, Arcelor-Mittal, and Tata Steel, making it probably the

global steel hub. Add to this, power plants like the Jindals and aluminum plants

like NALCO, Hindalco, and Sterlite. Paradip Port and the airport in Bhubaneswar

are being modernized while the East Coast HQ is finally coming up next month.

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Rajesh Dora, MD, Printlink, one of Bhubaneswars largest

resellers and SIs, agrees to this. He also informs that other than the steel

sector, even the engineering colleges and institutions like OUAT and Institute

of Physics are significant consumers of IT.

The Future Sunrise



The experts, too, have endorsed a bright future for Bhubaneswar. According
to McKinsey, Orissas economy is poised to grow at 7.1% over the next 10-12

years, the highest in Eastern India. Morgan Stanley comments that Orissa shall

emerge as a center for metals business in India and attract investments of up to

$3040 bn over the next five years. Even if these predictions are partially

met, the impact of IT would be enough to create waves in the Bay of Bengal. The

CMIEs forecast that Orissa accounted for 15% of total investments in hand in

the country in 2006, and the World Bank ranking Bhubaneswar 5th among cities in

ease of doing business within India further endorses the seal of approval.

An oft-neglected, but very crucial role in this IT growth of the

city has been played by the government. While on the e-Governance front, the

state has won awards for two consecutive years (for the Shishu locator program

and the OCAC website), a proactive government with an urbane and suave CM at the

helm has created a conducive environment for IT. The stability of the political

regime too has helped. A confident Naveen Patnaik proudly proclaims, "Bhubaneswar,

indeed, is the future sunrise of the IT industry." His father Biju Patnaik

is regarded by many as the architect of modern Orissa. Can the son repeat the

same success in making it a knowledge state? Lord Jagannath willing, the

juggernaut looks unstoppable.

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