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iT policy fails to take off - Youth migrate to other states for employment opportunities

The information technology policy of the Meghalaya government has failed to cash in on the iT boom. The policy exists only on paper.

Youth from the state who speak fluent English, ideally suitable for business process outsourcing (BPO) and call centre jobs, are forced to migrate to Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Gurgaon for employment opportunities in the booming industry.

The Meghalaya government drafted the iT policy in 2004 for the promotion of iT and iT-enabled services to generate employment opportunities for the youth.

“Our iT policy must have been a copy-paste job of some other state’s iT policy. it does not suit the requirements of the local job market,” said Gopal Purkaystha, founder member of SS infocom, the lone call centre, which operates profitably with more than 150 employees in Shillong. There was a need for a complete revamp of the policy, he said.

The iT policy was just an eyewash to claim that Meghalaya was a haven for the iT field. There are no incentives for entrepreneurs other than power subsidy on non-conventional energy, which is hardly used in Meghalaya.

People in other parts of the country may be good at technology but the Northeast has the best manpower with English-speaking skills, which is a prerequisite for jobs in multinational companies that deal with clients globally, Purkaystha added.

According to industry sources, companies all over india, especially BPOs, prefer youths from the Northeast particularly for jobs requiring voice modulation.

From Meghalaya alone, there are more than 2,000 youths working in BPOs in other parts of the country.

“Though our ministers of the state and chief minister are travelling all over the world, they did not invite iT tycoons like N.R. Narayana Murthy of infosys or Azim Premji of Wipro to the state,” said a software entrepreneur in Shillong.

Construction of the Software Technology Park of india (STPi) in Shillong is about to begin. But marketing of the project has failed to take off.

Apparently, software firms are skeptical about the cost of bandwidth offered by STPi, which is said to be costlier than that of BSNL and the power grid.

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