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|January 13, 1998
Kerala set to frame infotech policyThe Kerala government has set up as many as seven working groups to study the different areas of information technology as part of its efforts to frame a new policy for the state.
A core committee has identified the areas that are essential for the successful implementation of the policy. These include promotion and marketing of the state as an IT location and financing software and other information technology companies.
A general consensus that emerged at the two meetings of the committee held so far is that the state government should come forward with comprehensive policy initiatives that would make Kerala an ideal IT destination for prospective investors.
This would facilitate flow of investments from within and without the country, which will, in turn, lead to rapid growth in domestic and export earnings.
It is also felt that an IT policy will focus on the need to develop human resources through academic and training programmes for the educated youth. This is of great importance for the state, which has a vast army of educated unemployed youth.
One of the views that came up during the meetings of the core committee was that the software sector could do without incentives. Even so, in order to project the sincerity of the government in promoting the industry in the state, it was argued that it should be exempted from sales tax.
As of now, sales tax at the rate of four per cent is payable by the software industry in the state whereas, it is totally exempted from tax in neighbouring states such as Karnataka.
Another proposal is to earmark a corpus amount for setting up a venture capital fund to be managed by a company with equity participation from the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation.
The core committee is also of the opinion that the Technopark in Thiruvananthapuram should be strengthened and more such parks be set up in other major cities such as Kochi.
To ensure uninterrupted power supply, the software units should be exempted from frequent power cuts. Besides, new software units should be given priority in the matter of sanctioning electricity connections.
The proposed software policy is expected to be in place by the end of the month.
- Compiled from the Indian media
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