Ajay Prakash Sahwney

STPI playing major role in transforming Government’s vision

The inaugural session the 29th STPI Foundation Day kicked off with Dr. Omkar Rai, Director General, Software Technology Parks of India, who said that the STPI is a very industry-friendly organization. We have worked as a service provider to the Indian industry. We received the ISO certificate in the 1990s. We are providing the bandwidth and solving the problems of the Indian IT industry. We have been sticking with our work culture. As soon as Covid-19 happened, we gave a notification on March 11 for WFH.

Session 2

STPI has evolved over a period of time. We are trying to play a major role in transforming the Government’s vision. We are seen as a generator and enabler of the IT industry. The CoE initiative launched by STPI is going on very well. STPI is also trying to play a major role in getting the startups ecosystem up and running. We are also trying to improve our deliveries. MeiTY has invested in certain areas. We will transform India into the largest software exporting nation.

Stronger industry
Ms. Debjani Ghosh, President, NASSCOM, added that they were worried about Covid-19, and about China. The way that Covid-19 has disrupted our lives is unprecedented. Within a few days, we moved over 4 million people and 2 million assets. It was fascinating to see how it all came together. Within a week, the industry had 98% of people WFH.


Even with the opening up, the industry has taken a very safe approach. We are going to see new norms emerge across manufacturing, retail, education, commerce, etc. We are going to see short-term downturn. We are ready for it. Long term, the IT industry will come out stronger.

The pandemic is opening new opportunities. We need to be ready. We must ensure that the Indian IT industry is the safest and fastest-moving across the world. I see a tremendous opportunity for the industry. We have to change our models very fast. We have to redefine customer experience in a contactless economy. We have to start investing in time and resources in new jobs. Our people will need new skills to drive this digital transformation.

We are absolutely committed to working with MeiTY. We decided to test out what it would be like. We opened up foundation courses in AI, etc., for free. We were tremendously surprised. Over 70,000 people signed up. They are realizing the importance of skilling. Tech India will not take a beating, despite the pandemic. We are ready for business, despite the turmoil. Indian IT is ready for business. We are investing in skills and new technologies.

The IT industry is extremely resilient. We always come back stronger. The technology industry is not just about business. We also take care of our employees. We have stepped up, as and when the country has needed us. Our focus is on the employees and business continuity.

Five pictures
Subroto Bagchi, Chairman, Odisha Skill Develpoment Authority, Government of Odisha and co-founder, Mindtree Ltd, said that STPI has provided three decades of service to the country. It is one of the organizations that has never lost its sense of purpose. STPI has never grudged the success of the child, the Indian IT industry. As the Indian IT industry became successful, people became billionaires. Lakhs of people became extremely rich. Not a single time did STPI mention about becoming part of the stock option plan. STPI has never stopped re-inveting itself. It has also helped the industry re-invent itself from time to time. STPI is the ultimate startup of startups.


When I look at 1989, there are five pictures. First, Wipro had a tiny export order from Bell Labs. Had it not been for the earth station that came up, we would not be able to transmit. In 1989-90, Wipro wanted to set up in Silicon Valley. I went to RBI to get USD 20,000. We had to crack the problem. I was also travelling. If you are an Indian, you would take the longest time to clear immigration. The assumptions were: you are an illegal immigrant and a taxi driver. Today, a third assumption is: you are also a software engineer.

Next, you could not bring the parallel processor to India for an export ban. Another image was of gold mortage. STPI was also involved in one of the darkest times of India. Andhra Pradesh had a cyclone where many people died in 1991. STPI was born in times of great distress. Imagine the visionaries, who were building an organization that would go on to create dreams. Distress, dream and delivery is the message of STPI.

We are now pushing the reset button, thanks to the Covid-19. These are times of great geo-political imbalance. These are also times that will see major technological inventions. We need to think about STPI as a leader in times of distress. We also need leadership qualities in times of distress. Empathetic and visionary leadership is required. The essence of the leaders has been very strong. We need strong, empathetic and visionary leaders. We need to think of a strategic intent for the next 20 years.

Responder mindset
The STPI should also look at building a vision committee. It should do constant communications. An organization also needs massive sense and response systems. Organizations like STPI need to have that. They should be the first responder mindset. Each one of us has to also create the first responder mindset. We should also build at a leadership level. Maximizing will be very important. We need vision that builds the maximalist view.

India is the principal architects of the new world order. It is technology that will deliver constancy of purpose. The private sector is a bubble, and the IT sector is also a bubble. We cannot afford bubbles. We have to embrace migrant labour problems as technology problem. We will succeed, when the poorest of the poor feels secure enough. STPI will be able to serve the purpose of this new world order.


Ms. Jyoti Arora, Special Secretary and FA, Ministry of Electronics and IT, noted that most of India lives in tier-2 and tier-3 cities. They may not have metro facilities. STPI is providing infrastructure and facilities to these cities. Subroto Bagchi talked about the challenges. STPI has re-invented itself many times over the three decades. People are expecting lot of innovation. There is lot of demand about how we work. Rai mentioned about CoEs. More new innovations need to happen. We should move on from services to products domain. There should be flexibility and collaborative approach. STPI has been doing that. We need to have better delivery in the times ahead.

Move to software products
Ajay Prakash Sawhney, Secretary, MeitY, added that STPI has been a partner in implementation. We have also involved the STPI in the extremely large and robust ITeS sector. Next challenge is: how are we moving into software products? How do we make software product companies out of India? STPI has a huge role to play in all of this. We are on to consolidation, sector wise. There are also several projects that are being implemented across states. It is time for consolidation. We need to bring new-age products and companies.

There is a huge opportunity for the industry to create new opportunities. These platforms can serve as ecosystems. The industry is also carrying the lead to the next generation of companies. They will flourish with new things on the horizon. Eg., 5G and IoT are made for each other. How do we combine these creative things? The coming decade will see more new developments. We are already on the way. We have created CoEs. We are trying to bring in mentors from the industries, academia, etc.

Covid-19 has deeply impacted many things. We have realized every moment is precious. The urgency of what we have embarked upon is brought out by this crisis. Some of the finest successes come in distressing times. We are going through a difficult period. We need to re-imagine. We need to peg our ambitions high enough. Indians enjoy a very fertile imagination. Imagine, where India can be in 2030 and 2040, and what role STPI can play. We also need to have the guts to make that happen. We have to grow the product technology ecosystem. We are talking about Digital India.


Devesh Tyagi, Senior Director, Software Technology Parks of India, extended the vote of thanks.

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