I AM glad to know that Frontline is bringing out a special feature on Maharashtra, which is leading in sectors such as manufacturing, petrochemicals, banking, finance and entertainment, and is now making its impressive presence in the information and communication technology (ICT) domain.
The State is home to some of the well-known global ICT companies, which have their head offices and software development centres across its territories. Maharashtra continues to draw investments in the Information Technology (IT) services, Information Technology Enabled Services (ITES) and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) segments, a result of robust telecom and physical infrastructure and a business-friendly regulatory framework. A quick glance at the State's achievements in the IT-ITES realm shows that it ranks among top States in the export of software and ITES services.
Maharashtra's abundant skilled labour is a result of its focus on education at the school and college levels. Computer programmes are a part of the school syllabus, from standard VIII. Out of 15,000 secondary schools, over 5,000 have been equipped with computers. IT, as an optional subject, has been introduced at the HSC level. The State's engineering and IT institutions produce over 1,69,000 trained IT personnel every year, and nearly the same number of college and university students graduate every year from Mumbai alone.
The Maharashtra State Knowledge Corporation has instituted an IT certification programme targeted at over one million students and 50,000 teachers in government schools. According to a recent report published by the Mckinsey Global Institute and Bombay First, Mumbai is set to create around 77,000 new jobs in the area of IT-ITES by 2015.
In terms of power and telecom infrastructure, Maharashtra is world class. The entire State is wired with state-of-the-art broadband networks. Prominent Internet and telecom service providers operate in Mumbai and Pune. The State's optic fibre and submarine cable connectivity adds to its competitive edge. Government policy, too, is aligned with the needs of the IT-ITES sectors. Today, in consultation with NASSCOM [National Association of Software and Service Companies], three IT policies of Maharasthra have been revised to include ITES. Efforts are on to maintain the State's position as the top investment destination for high-tech industries under the "Digital Maharashtra" initiative.
In the area of e-governance, Maharashtra has operationalised initiatives, which have transformed the way the government delivers services to citizens. Besides Mumbai and Pune, which are already prominent on the global IT map, we have also focussed attention on developing emerging destinations such as Nagpur, Aurangabad, Kolhapur and Nashik as IT-ITES hubs. The Maharashtra government is keen on working closely with global organisations and drawing them towards our new breed of IT-savvy cities and townships.
The government has instituted State awards for six categories of IT units to recognise outstanding achievements in the field of human resource development, growth rate innovations, improvement in quality, productivity and customer service. We are also encouraging companies to step up investments in R&D and catalysing the spread of domestic use of IT across the State.
I have a dream to make Mumbai a world class city. The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, has assured us all possible help in this endeavour. We have already started planned work in this regard and within five years you will see transformed Mumbai. This will provide new opportunities and avenues in IT and ITES-related activities. I am confident that global leaders in this sector will give their first preference to Mumbai for their new ventures.
Our aim is to create a per capita Income of Rs.1 lakh by the year 2010. The present per capita income of the State is Rs.23,726. At present, 25 per cent of the State's population lives below the poverty line. It is our dream that the Human Development Index of Maharashtra should be comparable at least to the best in Asia.
Vilasrao Deshmukh Chief Minister of Maharashtra