Kolkata, Aug 16 (IANS) The Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government Thursday approved the new information and technology (IT) policy laying special emphasis on jobs linked to hardware, animation and graphics.
Christened "Information & Communication Technology and Incentive Scheme Policy 2012", it was ratified by the cabinet sub-committee on industry, infrastructure and employment.
The policy also laid stress on increasing computer literacy.
The much-awaited policy replaces its predecessor unveiled nine years back in 2003 during the erstwhile Left Front regime. The new policy provides for four categories of incentives based on the remoteness of the project.
"The entire state has been divided into four categories - A (most accessible), B, C and D (most remote) - with the incentives going up as one ventures into the more remote areas," officials said here.
An incentive scheme added later to the old IT policy had divided the state into three categories - A, B and C - based on remoteness, with the amount of incentive being directly proportional to the degree of remoteness of the project area.
"Special emphasis will be on hardware, animation and graphics for providing jobs and increasing employability," an official said.
The cabinet sub-committee also raised the corpus of venture capital provided to IT start-ups to Rs.10 crore from the existing Rs.10 lakh.
"Originally, the plan was to increase it to Rs.50 crore. But due to the state's poor financial position, it was decided to raise the figure to Rs.10 crore initially," the official added.
Officials said the new policy would provide incentives to small and medium enterprises with emphasis on the cluster approach to improve competitiveness of the SMEs.
The state has also earmarked clusters in select locations like Kolkata, Falta, Asansol, Kharagpur, Siliguri, Purulia and Kalyani for the small and medium enterprise SMEs)
The officials said the state aimed to set up 15 such clusters in five years either through central assistance or through state funding.
Hardware clusters would be another key area for the government.
After coming to power last year, the Trinamool Congress government constituted an IT expert panel on software and hardware with Infosys chairman emeritus N.R. Narayana Murthy as its chief mentor and Sam Pitroda, adviser to the prime minister on public information infrastructure and innovations, as chairman.