How IT, SEZs are widening the digital divide

Union minister of state for commerce Jairam Ramesh in his address to the Nasscom executive board:

“IT exports in 2006-07 were around Rs 144, 214 crore. Seven cities accounted for a whopping 95 per cent — Bangalore (33 per cent), the National Capital Region (15 per cent), Madras (14 per cent), Hyderabad (13 per cent), Poona (10 per cent), New Bombay (8 per cent) and Calcutta (2 per cent).

“Seven cities together account for yet another 3 per cent—in descending order of contribution these are Mysore, Bhubaneswar, Mangalore/Manipal, Gandhinagar, Thiruvananthapuram, Mohali and Jaipur. Four cities together account for yet another 0.6 per cent: Indore, Vishakapatnam, Kochi and Coimbatore in descending order of contribution.

“Furthermore, SEZs appear to be increasing the digital divide. I have always felt that the true value of SEZs must be judged by the extent to which they help promote labour-intensive manufacturing. But so far, of the 142 SEZs notified, 86 are for IT and ITES alone. And of these 86, the usual suspects are most prominent — 26 are in Andhra Pradesh, 14 in Tamil Nadu, 13 in Karnataka and 10 in Maharashtra, making a total of 80 per cent in these four states alone.

“The need now is to think of the under-served regions and areas. How long can the IT industry be in the “To H1B or not to be H1B” mindset? Seventy-five per cent of our software industry is exports, unlike China, where the domestic market consumes 75 per cent of the business.

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7 Responses to “How IT, SEZs are widening the digital divide”

  1. Gokulam 3rd Stage Says:

    That is some heavy duty contrived thinking there.

    What does the percentage of contribution from each city have to do with “exclusivity” and domestic consumption?

    And why is exporting everything such a bad thing? Not too long ago, the sign of a country that had “arrived” was that it exported more than it imported or used itself according to the socialist netas. And now IT is bad because most of it is exported?

  2. neelakantan Says:

    Till now there was no IT and no manufacturing. There were no jobs for graduates or undergraduates. There was no export either. There were no SEZ s set up for manufacturing ten or twenty years back when there was an opportunity. While the government slept (and it would still be sleeping were it not for IT), IT made a name for itself and now everyone cries foul.

    SEZs will go where the economics is. Simple.

  3. tarlesubba Says:

    the general elections must be in the horizon for why else would the congress commission shriyuta-oh-so-more-concerned-than-thy jairam to write this piece of quasi-concerned piece of, ‘heavy duty contrived thinking, as aptly described by G3S?

    what nonsense man! first you classify software as a non-product and then test on the the basis of “labor intensive manufacturing”? so what are you saying, the admission processes to engineering/commerce and arts colleges in all the states are rigged? if you are truly concerned say that with conviction and guts, say that to that person from chiknayakanahalli who works for an IT co in Pune.

  4. Doddi Buddi Says:

    My ten paise to Jairam Ramesh’s injured feelings…”“The need now is to think of the under-served regions and areas. How long can the IT industry be in the “To H1B or not to be H1B” mindset? Seventy-five per cent of our software industry is exports, unlike China, where the domestic market consumes 75 per cent of the business. “”

    Unlike China, Indian industry cannot automate because the ‘worker’s lose their jobs, Ramesh! Therefore we have to export ‘IT’ where it is used. I hope now you understand how and why the Chinese domestic market consumes 75% of the business. Also, it is very hard for non-Chinese to enter the Chinese market because of the language barrier. Alphabet-based languages can be easily customized–but Chinese language and software and related databooks are separate industries! So the Chinese are toling all the time to ‘look and appear’ Chinese–it is no fun you know:)

    May be your version of IT in India is the Sonia Gandhi way–have 2000 computer consoles in a factory that employs 200 people so that every worker gets 10 consoles for his amusement?! That would be the way to bridge the ‘digital divide’ and then we are straightaway into ‘digital multiply’ how about that?

    J Ramesh, I am sure Thiru Karu will never be on first name terms with you for obvious reasons. I would suggest you start working on achieving gray -matter parity among the MPs and then we will take you seriously. Often you have been credited as the shrewdest and brainiest and most technocrat of the Congress MPs. Judging by your recent writing, are you thinking inside a overhead water tank?

  5. Faldo Says:

    Several issues seem to be mixed up here. The (over)dependence on exports, lack of domestic consumption and the number of SEZs for software and the dominance of a few regions. I am also skeptical about 75% figure attributed to our big neighbor in Asia. Each of these issues needs to be talked about separately and while there is some merit to having a more equitable distribution, the onus cannot be just on the IT companies alone.

  6. Dheerendragopal Says:

    LOL …DB..great one after a loooong time

  7. கில்லி - Gilli » Blog Archive » How long can the IT industry be… Says:

    [...] via [...]

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