MOHALI: “The era where you would attract one large IT company to the area and relax thinking that the sector would now grow on its own, is over. This is apparently the time of startups,” said one of the panelists at the TOI conclave focusing on making Mohali the tech capital of Punjab and made everyone sit up. Reason? The speaker was Sameer Goel, the head of tech giant Infosys in Tricity.
Infosys, India’s second largest IT company by revenue, already employs more than 7,000 people in Tricity and plans to add up to 3,000 more in its Mohali campus. Yet, Goel was clear that for Mohali to emerge as a major IT destination, supporting startups was the way forward.
He was not alone in thinking this. The event ‘Mohali: The Next Big IT Hub’, organized by TOI in association with the Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) — an agency under the Union ministry of electronics & IT — saw two major steps being taken in this direction.
In presence of Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh, his government signed an agreement with the STPI, ISB and PTU to establish a ‘Startup Hub’. The hub will come up in an area of 45,000 sq ft in the STPI building in Phase VIII of Mohali, where the event was held on Tuesday. In addition, the state government also launched a startup portal to help the new businesses in the region.
Rarely do business conclaves see such convergence of purpose and energies. Not only did the state and Union governments come together for the TOI initiative, but they also showed the will to collaborate and make that vision a reality. In his keynote address and again during a panel discussion, the CM demonstrated he was well aware of the opportunities as well as the challenges of turning Mohali into an industrial hub, which he said was his original plan when he decided to carve out Mohali from Ropar district.
“To attract people and companies, we have to ensure they get quality life in Mohali. They would need buildings and housing, right ambience and good law and order situation,” the chief minister said.
Responding to various questions, he talked about airport expansion, NRI connect and the chequered journey of Punjab’s growth and even drug menace. “When the country needed it, we became the food bowl of India. Now paddy is being grown in other parts too, so we need to look at industrial growth,” he said. “Punjab has a population of 2 crore and 90 lakh. Of these, 90 lakh people, mostly young, are underpaid or unemployed… our public schools have seen a failure rate of 50%. We have tied up with industries to adopt government schools and 250 of them have already been given to industries. Failures lead to frustrations and inability to handle these, lead to problems like drug abuse. We have to ensure more youngsters do not get into this trap and the old ones can come out of it,” he added.
Earlier, Punjab industries department secretary Rakesh Verma made a presentation showcasing the Greater Mohali region, with AeroCity, Medicity, IT City and Knowledge City to guide its growth.
CM announces three new universities
My vision for Mohali is very clear. I see it emerging as a major industrial hub of India in the next decade or so,” said Punjab CM Amarinder Singh. Delivering the keynote address at the TOI conclave organized on Tuesday, the CM disclosed that three new universities were going to be established in Mohali in the time to come.