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IT & ITeS: Sure it is Digital Tamil Nadu

Make Chennai the Fintech capital and build this around Anna Salai, re-developed along with the completion of the metro rail work – N Krishnakumar

F C Kohli set up the first campus of TCS in Chennai in 1999 and helped forge relationships with academic institutions. The Tidel Park soon followed and triggered the rapid development of the IT corridor. Connect ICT conference and exhibition, was conceived in 2001 as a joint event of CII and the Tamil Nadu government. It showcased the IT/ITeS in Tamil Nadu to promote Chennai as an investment destination for ICT companies. Connect involved several stakeholders – IT organisations, users of IT, government, academic institutions, venture capitalists and infrastructure developers. Successive governments, both the AIADMK and the DMK, have been deeply involved in the Connect annual events.

The 17th edition of Connect had as its theme Accelerating progress: inclusive digital growth. Over the years there has been a sea change in the focus of Connect. In the initial years, the effort was to get IT and ITeS  organisations to set up off-shore centres in Chennai for export. The focus was on framing suitable government policies and creating the support system needed through academic institutions and in developing infrastructure facilities. This year the presentation showed that the industry has been catering as much to the domestic market as to exports. The increasing contribution of IT companies to the transformation of India as a digital economy was also showcased.

Tamil Nadu Saas capital of India

Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisamy said that Chennai is the Software as a Service (SaaS) capital of India. “We will give a huge impetus to make Tamil Nadu a global SaaS destination,” he said. IT Minister, Dr M Manikandan, referred to his recent visit to the Silicon Valley, Austin and Seattle in the US to promote TN Global Investors’ Meet 2019. “Already Rs 15,000 crore of investment in the IT and ITeS sectors had been committed,” he said. Industry Minister, M C Sampath, shared the details of his promotional trips to other countries and mentioned encouraging response.

IT Secretary, Santosh Babu, showcased many initiatives of the government to make Tamil Nadu a truly ‘digital’ state. All villages are being connected through optical fibres ensuring digital connectivity. E-governance is getting a big boost,” he said.

Several experts highlighted Tamil Nadu’s contributions. Dr Santosh Misra, CEO, Tamil Nadu E-governance Agency, mentioned his organisation helping other government departments to extend their digital footprint. Madhumathi, Commissioner for Civil Supplies and Consumer Protection, talked about the special applications developed that received the best E-governance award. Raj Cherubal, CEO, Chennai Smart City, spoke on the several areas of work undertaken – traffic and parking management, improving the interface with the transport system and focusing on the usage of IT applications for these…

‘Start-up environment’ spreading

The conference discussed emerging technologies that are transforming the healthcare and banking sectors. Besides the software and hardware environment, the meeting recognised the need for spreading out the ‘start-ups’ environment all over the state.

The session showcasing Tamil Nadu discussed the positives of the state and the challenges faced. While much progress has been made in attracting many BFSI players for development, maintenance and BPO work, Chennai is the seeding ground to other cities like Mumbai in becoming the fintech capital of India.
N Krishnakumar, Chairman, Connect 2018 and Chairman, Mindtree, made a plea to the Chief Minister to make Chennai the Fintech capital and build this around Anna Salai as it is getting re-developed with the completion of the metro rail work.

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