The Karnataka legislative assembly Thursday passed a bill to set up an Information Technology Investment Region (ITIR) at Devanahalli near Bangalore in partnership with the central government, a move aimed to boost exports and create jobs.
The ITIR Act, 2010 will enable the state to attract a whopping Rs.2 trillion (Rs.2 lakh crore) global investments in the knowledge sector, boost exports and create 3 million jobs in a decade.
As India's tech hub, Bangalore accounts for about 30 percent of the country's software exports and over 90 percent of the state's IT exports.
'The ITIR will be a self-sustainable integrated investment region housing IT, ITeS (IT enabled services) and hardware parks, supported by residential townships, a mini airport, high-speed railway network, shopping malls, hospitals and educational institutions among others,' state IT & Bio Technology Minister Katta Subramanya Naidu told reporters later.
The bill was passed without debate amid pandemonium due to the stand-off between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the opposition Congress and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) who are demanding a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into illegal mining activities in the state.
Competing southern states like Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu also propose to set up such hi-tech regions for attracting global investments and create millions of jobs.
To be spread over 10,000 acres in two-three phases near the Bangalore international airport at Devanahalli, about 40 km from the city centre, the investment region will be developed with the private sector playing a large role in its infrastructure development.
'Top three Indian IT bellwethers - TCS, Infosys Technologies Ltd and Wipro - are among 55 IT firms which have shown interest in setting up their software development centres in the region. Notification to acquire 2,080 acres has been issued,' Naidu said.
According to state IT & BT principal secretary A. K. Manoli, a management board will govern the region and the state empowered committee under the chairmanship of the chief minister will act as an apex body on all project-related issues.
'The central government has adopted a policy resolution May 28, 2008 to set up ITIRs across the country to promote investment in IT, ITeS and electronic hardware manufacturing units, which will be economic growth engines,' Manoli said.
When developed, companies in the region will avail similar tax benefits applicable to the special export zones (SEZs). Though global consulting firm Deloitte prepared the project report for the region, it is awaiting central government approval.