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Monday, 15 November 2010

The India Silicon valleys

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California, US, in the early seventies saw the mushrooming of semi-conductor and computer industries. The high concentration of these industries in the Santa Clara valley in California, led journalist Don.C.Hoefler to coin the term 'Silicon Valley' in 1971. With the passage of time, as these industries expanded into other areas, the whole semiconductor and computer industry in California came to be known broadly as the Silicon Valley.

Definitions and origins apart, today the term Silicon Valley signfies growth in computer and computer chip industries. It is synonymous with advancement in research and development relating to computer hardware and the basic components.Hewelett-Packard or HP ,present day computer major, was the first industry to be based in the Silicon valley, soon to be followed by such giants as Bell Laboratories, Compaq, Dell and so many others. The flourishing industries in the verdant state of California, became the very centre of the Computer and IT business and soon became the topmost happening-place in the world.

Many developed and developing countries looked to these major players in Silicon Valley for the latest technology and computer hardwares. Inspite of the passage of almost four decades since the first silicon-chip unit was set up in California, the US state still retains the numero uno position in the world. Such sustained success stories are hard to come by and inspired by the phenomenal success of Silicon Valley, several countries including IT superpower Japan have set up exculisve townships with hi-quality production facilities for the manufacture of not only semi conductors and computer hardwares,but softwares and applications too.

India has traditionally been a late-starter in technology and industrialisation. Computer industries and other ancilliary units did not merit consideration of either the government or the entrepreneurs here, till the very early Nineties.But with the opening up of private sector investment through the liberalisation and globalisation policies in early 1991, things began happening at an unbelievable pace. The thrust was focussed on development of computer engineering and software development. Over the years, India turned out highly skilled engineers and software experts. This IT surge was led by the sleepy southern state of Karnataka.

US IT firms watched these developments with interest and soon became interested in investing huge amounts of money for setting up computer and IT related industries in Karnataka. Naturally their attention was drawn by the quiet , beautifully wooded city of Bangalore, until then a pensioners' haven. With in the space of a few years IT industries became heavily concentrated in Bangalore. The Karnataka governement too rose to the occasion and made available guaranteed power at competitive rates, tax concessions and prime land on lease for these IT firms to set up shop. It was indeed a matter of achievement that the Karnataka Government had issued almost 20000 work permits to foreign IT experts to enable them to work in Bangalore.

Although nobody thought of it at first, the name 'Silicon Valley of India' came attached to Bangalore almost quite unobtrusively. Today Bangalore, very much in line with the original Silicon valley,plays host to a large number of IT super firms like HP,Compaq, Dell ,IBM, Apple-Macintosh,SAP etc and has the presence of Indian IT giants like WIPRO,Infosys,Satyam etc. From being sleepy pensioners' city, Bangalore has today become a bustling, hi-tech hub of IT and has found a place of pride in the world IT map.

During the late nineties, another South Indian metropolis entered the scene , backed by strong governmental policies and committed infrastructure development. Hyderabad, steeped in history and boasting of great cultural heritage and archaeological monuments, became of the focus of the IT industry in a very short span of time, almost dizzying in its' fast-paced growth. Riding on the crest of favourable government policies like vast acres of land at concessional prices, abundant power and water and a friendly tax regime, many IT giants from developed countries zoomed in on Hyderabade. US computer software giant Microsoft Corporation, led by the ubiquitous Bill Gates, set up their first full-fledged facilities in Hyderabad, throwing open the gate to all and sundry to follow suit. Hyderabad has not looked back since and has carved a neat niche for itself as a HI-TECH city.

Chennai, in the southern state of Tamilnadu, has all along been ridiculed as a 'glorified village' because of its' hard-to-shake-off penchant for rustic way of life.During the mid 1990s, in the wake of the opening up of the Indian industrial sector , Chennai too woke up to the immense potentials of foreign direct investment and the consequent growth possibilities. The state administration, not keen on being left behind, rallied to bring about radically business and growth oriented policies. These policies accorded several concessions like subsidised power, water and tax rates to the entrepreneurs. Special zones named TECHNO PARKs were set up through government initiatives to promote IT firms. Several firms like CISCO, Sun,Oracle, SAP along with Indian firms like HCL, Acer and others came to Chennai and profited from these beneficial policies. Chennai today has exported vast numbers of IT skilled professionals and lead the Indian surge in offshore outsourcing in the areas of software development and hardware engineering.

In the meanwhile , much was happening in the North. The state of Gujarat, long believed to be lying dormant, led the drive towards rapid industrial and infrastructural development. Ahmedabad , the bustling , teeming city, known for its' textiles business, shifted gears and played host to several US IT Firms. Ghaziabad and Gurgaon, bordering the national capital of New Delhi, made great strides forward in industrialisation . With the advantage of inheriting an already well-developed infrastructure, the city that never sleeps, Mumbai too joined the band wagon, albeit on a much smaller scale.

These Indian cities could be today collectively called the Silicon Valleys of India for their significant contribution to the country's foreign exchange reserves and reduction of trade gap. The direct and indirect employment potential, the export of quality softwares and hardware components, and the great bank of skilled manpower working abroad, ( eg: 80% of the alien workforce in Microsoft, is from India, especially from Tamilnadu) - all these factors point to the immense success of the IT thrust made so belatedly by India. It can be safely assumed that India has almost made up for the lost time, through such vigorous and sustained developmental activities.

"What's in a name?", the great bard asked. Yes. There may not be much in a name. But Silicon valley sure has some magic. The very name epitomises business success and embodies the spirit of human endeavour.Blessed with great vision and business acumen, the Americans could successfully script the establishment of a successful business enclave called the Silicon Valley as early as the early Seventies. India can take pride in the fact that she could spawn a few Silicon Valleys, several decades later, through greatly focussed vision and thrust. Today the products of the Silicon Valleys of India are on display at the prime companies of the world. India today lead the surge of technological innovation along with Asian majors like South Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, Singapore, Hongkong and Thailand. For a country- besotted by a host of issues like population, corruption and hunger and besieged by corrupt politicians and money-mongering bureaucrats, - to have found a position for itself on the Technology map, is no mean achievement. In fact it is a stupendous achievement.

We must hope for this pace of growth and development to sustain. We must realise that there is nothing that cannot be achieved when the collective will and effort of a nation come together.

Three Cheers to the Silicon Valleys of India!

PKP Iyer ,Java Development India

Java Development India is premium Java development Services provider in India

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