PANAJI: HIGHLY PO­TEN­TIAL BUT LARGELY UN­EX­PLORED...

In the near fu­ture, the cap­i­tal of Goa might emerge as a pros­per­ous IT hub

DQ Channels - - Channel Pulse - PRIYANKA PUGAOKAR/( priyankapu@cy­berme­dia.co.in)

In the near fu­ture, the cap­i­tal of Goa might emerge as a pros­per­ous IT hub

Blessed with the un­ex­ploited na­ture, Panaji which is also known as Pan­jim car­ries a great legacy of Por­tuguese cul­ture. The city which is one of the most pre­ferred choices of tourists is the prom­i­nent com­mer­cial hub in the state of Goa. With ma­jor IT giants, es­pe­cially in the soft­ware and an­i­ma­tion in­dus­try are keen set up their busi­ness here, Panaji is set to emerge as the IT des­ti­na­tion of Goa.

PROSPECTS FOR IT

One of In­dia’s small­est and most peace­ful state cap­i­tals, Panaji is the head­quar­ters of North Goa dis­trict. It is the ma­jor com­mer­cial and in­dus­trial hub fol­lowed by Mar­gao and Vasco. Avail­abil­ity of good in­fra­struc­ture fa­cil­i­ties, avail­abil­ity of power, high lit­er­acy rate and bet­ter ed­u­ca­tional and healthcare fa­cil­i­ties are the ma­jor ad­van­tages that have at­tracted at­trac­tion of IT hard­ware giants. Apart from that a large per­cent­age of the pop­u­la­tion in Panaji is con­ver­sant in English, thus mak­ing the city a front run­ner to emerge as a hub for IT and ITES in­dus­try and Elec­tronic Man­u­fac­tur­ing In­dus­tries.The avail­abil­ity renowned ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions such as the Na­tional In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy NIT Goa, Birla In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy and Science – BITS Goa, Goa Col­lege of En­gi­neer­ing (GEC), other En­gi­neer­ing Col­leges and the up­com­ing In­dian In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy (IIT) makes the state ideally suit­able in pro­duc­ing highly qual­i­fied IT man­power.

Aim­ing to bol­ster the IT growth, Goa Gov­ern­ment is en­cour­ag­ing and invit­ing pri­vate in­vest­ments in knowl­edge based in­dus­tries at large. The gov­ern­ment has re­cently pub­lished the IT pol­icy draft in which the gov­ern­ment has of­fered sev­eral in­cen­tive schemes to pull IT com­pa­nies in the state. The pol­icy tar­gets to make Goa the most pre­ferred des­ti­na­tion for in­vestors in the sec­tors of IT, ITES and Elec­tron­ics Sys­tem De­sign and Man­u­fac­tur­ing (ESDM) that will lead to in­clu­sive growth and em­ploy­ment gen­er­a­tion. The gov­ern­ment has pro­posed Gov­ern­ment has pro­posed set­ting up IT Park, AVGC Park and Elec­tronic Man­u­fac­tur­ing Clus­ter (EMC) and IT Train­ing In­sti­tutes to of­fer all sops to the IT in­dus­try.

THE HARD­WARE GROWTH AND CHAL­LENGES

Panaji is the ma­jor com­mer­cial and in­dus­trial hub fol­lowed by Mar­gao and Vasco. The city rep­re­sents around 30 per­cent of Goa’s to­tal IT re­seller com­mu­nity. Panaji also has con­cen­tra­tion of NDs, RDs and sub- dis­trib­u­tors. NDs like In­gram Mi­cro, Red­ing­ton, Su­pertron Elec­tron­ics, neo­teric, Rashi Pe­riph­er­als are present in the city. Al­most all the ma­jor brands have their ex­clu­sive dis­trib­u­tors in Panaji.

Though Panaji is the most im­por­tant city in the state, it is still far be­hind in pro­duc­ing hand­some rev­enue fig­ures in IT sale com­pare to other ma­jor cities in the coun­try. Like other emerg­ing IT mar­kets, Panaji IT mar­ket has also se­verely af­fected by the E Com­merce busi­ness. Apart from the online chal­lenge, the de­clin­ing growth in the As­sem­bled PC busi­ness is the rea­son of worry for as­sem­bler re­sellers.

“Con­sumer’s grow­ing in­cli­na­tion to­wards branded PCs and nar­row dif­fer­ence in the price have made dif­fi­cult for the as­sem­blers to sus­tain in the mar­ket. The as­sem­bled PC mar­ket is on the verge of shut down in Panaji. Ear­lier, as­sem­blers used to as­sem­ble nearly 500600 ma­chines ev­ery day. To­day, the num­ber has come down to al­most 150 ma­chines”, said Na­graj Prabhu, owner of Yash IT So­lu­tions.

Re­sellers also blame gov­ern­ment’s free lap­top dis­tri­bu­tion scheme which has al­legedly snatched their ma­jor por­tion of busi­ness com­ing from the ed­u­ca­tion seg­ment. Man­ju­nath K. N owner of Sig­maz Com­put­ers said that the free lap­top dis­tri­bu­tion scheme was a ma­jor threat to small re­sellers and deal­ers.

There is wider scope for IT com­pa­nies in Panaji to im­prove on their ser­vice sup­port and prod­uct avail­abil­ity and pric­ing. Sud­hir Prabhu, owner of Softek Mar­ket­ing said, “There is very thin gap in dealer trans­fer price and MRP in prod­ucts like lap­tops. There­fore, re­sellers find it dif­fi­cult to earn mar­gins on such prod­ucts.”

IT re­sellers and deal­ers have de­manded proper pol­icy im­ple­men­ta­tion on part of the gov­ern­ment and proper sup­port from the brand own­ers. Re­sellers have urged the gov­ern­ment to reg­u­late online sale in or­der to pro­vide level play­ing field to both online and off­line chan­nel part­ners. Goa IT Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion (GIBA) and Com­puter Deal­ers Fo­rum of Goa (CDFG) are the two prom­i­nent IT As­so­ci­a­tions that high­light fight for the chan­nel in­ter­est.

NO REA­SON TO SAY BE­HIND

Panaji has no rea­son to stay be­hind in terms of IT growth as the city has all the at­tributes which are es­sen­tial for IT to grow. How­ever, it re­quires boosts from the gov­ern­ment and of IT com­pa­nies need to look at the city be­yond just a dis­tri­bu­tion mar­ket. Soft­ware seg­ment is largely un­ex­plored in Panaji and the gov­ern­ment needs to work on heav­ily to rightly chan­nel­ize the lo­cal tal­ent to have a growth story in soft­ware in­dus­try.

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