ZT Team Report
Srinagar: Pitching for a private sector-friendly business environment in the Information Technology sector in Jammu & Kashmir, several IT industry players of J&K on Saturday called for strengthening local IT infrastructure and education facilities to leverage the benefits of new job boom in IT and IT-enabled services.
The participants were speaking at a Ziraat Times special LIVE program under J&K State of the Economy Discussion Series on IT sector in J&K and discussed whether the sector was in despair and whether there was some promise in the changed Covid19 situation.
Those who participated in the program include Rahul Sahai (Prominent businessman and Co-Chairman, PHDCCI Jammu Region), Arjimand Hussain Talib, (founder of Ziraat Times), Umar Nazir Tibet Baqal (Director Labaika Group), Mehraj Gulzar (Ex-Chairman, J&K-ICTA and CEO MIPS Technologies), Narinder Safaya (Senior Lawyer), Dr Muheet Butt (Senior Scientist, Kashmir University), Harmeet Kaur (Civil Services Aspirant), Sheikh Imtiyaz (CEO and Founder Comtech Group). Seher Rehbar (Program Manager) moderated the program.
LIVE PROGRAM COULD BE WATCHED HERE:
Speaking on the occasion, Rahul Sahai, prominent businessman and Co-Chairman, PHDCCI Jammu Region said that business sentiment was not so good in IT sector and even as broadband Internet was available both by public and private players, environment was not perceived to be so conducive to the IT business aspirants in J&K in general, and Jammu region in particular. He further said that the local private sector in IT needs to be encouraged in a meaningful way by improving the basic infrastructure and creating IT educational infrastructure.
Umar Nazir Tibet Baqal (Director Labaika Group) said that from a business perspective the situation was quite bad due to a dismal Internet connectivity. “The new generation, the business communities and e-commerce companies in J&K need reliable Internet. The first thing that people ask for when they check-in into a hotel in a new place is not food, but an Internet password, because the Internet is fundamental to everything these days”, he further said.
Mehraj Gulzar, Ex-Chairman, J&K-ICTA and CEO MIPS Technologies, observed that that the sentiment in the IT sector in J&K was not encouraging today, and that the sector players were gasping for survival. “While several government initiatives were positive in the sector, somehow policy priorities were not put into practice”, he added.
Speaking on the occasion, Narinder Safaya (Senior Lawyer) opined that ideally there should have been an IT hub in J&K, with dedicated Internet connectivity and facilities for both hardware and software development.
“When IT boom came in India, big IT players leveraged the infrastructure. E-governance in India also provided a boom. Had there been a dedicated electronic city, an electronic hub, much more investment could have been attracted. For the common people, like students, 4G, 2G Internet is an issue as well in J&K”, he further said.
Noting that Jammu & Kashmir state had seen keen enthusiasm for initiatives in the IT sector with the dawn of the IT revolution, Arjimand Hussain Talib, founder of Ziraat Times, observed that a large number of computer and IT engineers, who had come from outside the state with degrees in this field had created startups but ultimately were left disappointed with unfavourable public policy framework and facilitation.
“IT learning institutions had come up, companies doing software development had come up. A lot of young people had started opening IT-enabled services as well. But then the situation changed. Startups started crumbling. People started losing their investment. Infrastructure was found to be not enough. Public policy framework was perceived to be unfriendly and discouraging”, he further observed.