Hyderabad: Mr Ponnala Lakshmaiah, Minister for Information Technology and Communications, has visited the United States on March 20, 2011 and met with 150 IT firms of the “IT Serve Alliance”, an association of IT Services Organizations to protect the interests of the IT Industry. These member companies have a total turnover of US $ 750 Million per year (Rs. 3,500 Crores) with employee strength upwards of 7,500 in the USA. The companies are located mostly in the Southwest, Southeast and Midwest regions of the United States.
With regards to the Indian context, 90% of the companies perform back office operation from India and majority of these companies have presence in India. 40% of these firms have software development divisions supporting products as well as strategic solutions. Currently, the member companies of the IT Serve Alliance occupy over 300,000 SFT in Hyderabad, Vizag and Bangalore with a majority representation in Hyderabad. The Indian operations of these companies employ over 15,000. All these companies are either registered with STPI or operating in an SEZ.
Mr Satish Mandava, President of IT Serve Alliance, made a representation to the Minister with the following mentions: The STPI Tax holiday has expired with 2010 – 11 and it needs to be extended by at least another 3 years as most of the IT companies derive benefit through this feature. If this is not feasible, the STPI firms need to be recognized as part of SEZ; The small and medium sized firms need to be given a due share in the SEZs by allocating a fair share of space. The space recovered from the built up SEZs may be allocated to the SMEs for immediate occupation; Currently the IT Services industry is protected under Essential Services Act in Andhra Pradesh. The ITServe Alliance would like the Government of India to declare the IT Services as Emergency Services to avoid disruption of services to the US Clients especially during times of regional political tribulations; Land may be allocated for constructing an IT Services Corridor represented by 100% EOU (Export Oriented Units) Firms; and Creation of a diplomatic liaison office to involve and resolve matters like the Tri-Valley State University, H1B visa issues at the consulates.
The Minister has immediately agreed to take the representation to the Ministry of Information Technology, Government of India and Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India and also Ministry of Commerce, Government of India for ensuring the requests from the IT companies are taken up seriously. The Minister has also called up the officials of the Government of Andhra Pradesh immediately and asked them to go through the requests of the industry and streamline the feedback for taking it to the Government of India immediately on return of the Minister to India.(NSS)