Odisha government on announced that it was bringing in telecom wizard Sam Pitroda as its technology adviser for development of telecom, electronics, IT, ITES sectors of the state.
The Odisha-born Pitroda, who is credited with developing telecommunication and technology in India during mid-80s, has accepted the state government’s offer, a senior official of the IT department said. The state government hopes that Pitroda, first chairman of the Telecom Commission, would be able to bring more investments to the state’s struggling IT sector.
Pitroda would be granted the status of a cabinet minister, but he won’t get a salary. “We had sent a request to him for accepting the offer of advisor (technology) to the state government. He accepted the offer,” said state IT Minister Pranab Prakash Das.
Officials said Pitroda will work for Vision 2036, a vision document for holistic development of Odisha in next 20 years. A native of Titlagarh in Balangir district, Pitroda had recently visited Odisha to release his autobiography ‘Dreaming Big: My Journey to Connect India’.
Software exports from Odisha clocked Rs 2,564 crore in 2014-15, registering an 11 per cent growth while states like Karnataka exported over Rs 2 lakh crore in the same fiscal.
“Though Odisha started IT export in 1995, the growth has not stepped up while latecomers like Kerala have raced past us,” said Manas Panda, director of Software Technology Park of India, Bhubaneswar. “This is where Pitroda’s role is crucial. His vast experience in telecom and knowledge of IT sector would help the state in fast-forwarding development in IT sector.”
To promote investments in the emerging ESDM (electronics system design and manufacturing) space, the state government is offering 25 per cent investment subsidy on capital investment for investors with investment exceeding Rs 200 crore and offering employment potential of over 500. If their project is financed by public sector banks, the state government would offer an interest subvention of five per cent, among others.