Business Standard

Bengal IT minister tells Cognizant growth story to lure Infy, Wipro

Swati Garg  |  Kolkata 

At a time when the fate of Infosys’ and Wipro’s new campuses in West Bengal appear in jeopardy, the state’s information technology (IT) minister is trying to make use of the success story to salvage matters.

“I am trying to impress upon both companies the fact that they can build and grow in Bengal without the SEZ (special economic zone) status as well. The proof is the success story in Bengal,” said IT minister Partha Chatterjee.

Over the last week, it has become increasingly evident that without SEZ status, Infosys, which is the second largest IT service provider in the country, would go the Tata Nano-Singur way and shelve plan for the Rajarhat campus. It is the stated policy of the government under that West Bengal should have no SEZs.

The “success” that Chatterjee is referring to comes from the fact that Technologies now has 10,500 IT professionals working for it in Kolkata. Kolkata was the second city where started operations, after Chennai, where the company now has in excess of 40,000 employees. This makes the second largest IT employer in the state. (TCS), country’s leading IT service provider, has a strength of about 14,000 in Bengal.

Until last year, had no campus in West Bengal. It had one fully-owned development centre in Kolkata, which accommodates 1,750 employees. Besides this, it has four leased facilities in Salt Lake.

employs more than 10,500 professionals in Kolkata. We started operations in Kolkata in 1996. This was our second location in India after Chennai,” said Subho Samanta, senior vice-president and head of Cognizant’s Kolkata Operations.

While is yet to start operations in Kolkata, Wipro, the fourth largest IT service provider in the country, has a campus spread over 14 acres in Salt Lake, which has SEZ status. “SEZ status allows us to gain scalability while making operations more profitable,” said an official at Wipro.

The dilemma facing the Bengal government, argue industry insiders, is intrinsic to the future of the industry. “Some companies have a policy of wanting to develop their own campus as opposed to working out of built-up space, plus most want to take advantage of the tax holiday that comes with the SEZ tag, which cannot happen in less than a 24-acre campus. This might be an inflection point given that land is a scare resource,” said an IT-ITES analyst with KPMG.

Ask others and the view is, a campus for an IT company is not about land grab and tax benefits that come with the SEZ tag. “There are issues of security and intellectual property (IP), which are much better secured with a campus, because this allows us to keep a closer watch on employees,” said the official.

Besides, a campus is a long-term investment, which allows the company to expand. “Most companies do not like the hassle of looking for space, every time expansion plans are on the anvil,” CFO Suresh Senapathy, had earlier told Business Standard.

Cognizant’s growth in Kolkata has been against this trend so far. Last year, the company inaugurated its first campus in Bantala at the fringes of Kolkata. This campus is spread over 20 acres in the Bantala facility, which has the SEZ status.

Interestingly, even as the company has started construction on the second phase of the campus, it is also simultaneously investing in built-up space in a 2,700 seater office in Unitech Infospace.

Chatterjee’s argument, however, falls flat in the context of the fact that even had approached the state IT department for 30 acres. It is another story that Bengal has no land for Cognizant’s further growth.

“We do not have the land to allocate to them,” said Basudeb Banerjee, IT secretary, West Bengal. has not asked for support on SEZ for the proposed 30-acre campus.

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU

Bengal IT minister tells Cognizant growth story to lure Infy, Wipro

At a time when the fate of Infosys’ and Wipro’s new campuses in West Bengal appear in jeopardy, the state’s information technology (IT) minister is trying to make use of the Cognizant success story to salvage matters.

At a time when the fate of Infosys’ and Wipro’s new campuses in West Bengal appear in jeopardy, the state’s information technology (IT) minister is trying to make use of the success story to salvage matters.

“I am trying to impress upon both companies the fact that they can build and grow in Bengal without the SEZ (special economic zone) status as well. The proof is the success story in Bengal,” said IT minister Partha Chatterjee.

Over the last week, it has become increasingly evident that without SEZ status, Infosys, which is the second largest IT service provider in the country, would go the Tata Nano-Singur way and shelve plan for the Rajarhat campus. It is the stated policy of the government under that West Bengal should have no SEZs.

The “success” that Chatterjee is referring to comes from the fact that Technologies now has 10,500 IT professionals working for it in Kolkata. Kolkata was the second city where started operations, after Chennai, where the company now has in excess of 40,000 employees. This makes the second largest IT employer in the state. (TCS), country’s leading IT service provider, has a strength of about 14,000 in Bengal.

Until last year, had no campus in West Bengal. It had one fully-owned development centre in Kolkata, which accommodates 1,750 employees. Besides this, it has four leased facilities in Salt Lake.

employs more than 10,500 professionals in Kolkata. We started operations in Kolkata in 1996. This was our second location in India after Chennai,” said Subho Samanta, senior vice-president and head of Cognizant’s Kolkata Operations.

While is yet to start operations in Kolkata, Wipro, the fourth largest IT service provider in the country, has a campus spread over 14 acres in Salt Lake, which has SEZ status. “SEZ status allows us to gain scalability while making operations more profitable,” said an official at Wipro.

The dilemma facing the Bengal government, argue industry insiders, is intrinsic to the future of the industry. “Some companies have a policy of wanting to develop their own campus as opposed to working out of built-up space, plus most want to take advantage of the tax holiday that comes with the SEZ tag, which cannot happen in less than a 24-acre campus. This might be an inflection point given that land is a scare resource,” said an IT-ITES analyst with KPMG.

Ask others and the view is, a campus for an IT company is not about land grab and tax benefits that come with the SEZ tag. “There are issues of security and intellectual property (IP), which are much better secured with a campus, because this allows us to keep a closer watch on employees,” said the official.

Besides, a campus is a long-term investment, which allows the company to expand. “Most companies do not like the hassle of looking for space, every time expansion plans are on the anvil,” CFO Suresh Senapathy, had earlier told Business Standard.

Cognizant’s growth in Kolkata has been against this trend so far. Last year, the company inaugurated its first campus in Bantala at the fringes of Kolkata. This campus is spread over 20 acres in the Bantala facility, which has the SEZ status.

Interestingly, even as the company has started construction on the second phase of the campus, it is also simultaneously investing in built-up space in a 2,700 seater office in Unitech Infospace.

Chatterjee’s argument, however, falls flat in the context of the fact that even had approached the state IT department for 30 acres. It is another story that Bengal has no land for Cognizant’s further growth.

“We do not have the land to allocate to them,” said Basudeb Banerjee, IT secretary, West Bengal. has not asked for support on SEZ for the proposed 30-acre campus.

image
Business Standard
177 22

Bengal IT minister tells Cognizant growth story to lure Infy, Wipro

At a time when the fate of Infosys’ and Wipro’s new campuses in West Bengal appear in jeopardy, the state’s information technology (IT) minister is trying to make use of the success story to salvage matters.

“I am trying to impress upon both companies the fact that they can build and grow in Bengal without the SEZ (special economic zone) status as well. The proof is the success story in Bengal,” said IT minister Partha Chatterjee.

Over the last week, it has become increasingly evident that without SEZ status, Infosys, which is the second largest IT service provider in the country, would go the Tata Nano-Singur way and shelve plan for the Rajarhat campus. It is the stated policy of the government under that West Bengal should have no SEZs.

The “success” that Chatterjee is referring to comes from the fact that Technologies now has 10,500 IT professionals working for it in Kolkata. Kolkata was the second city where started operations, after Chennai, where the company now has in excess of 40,000 employees. This makes the second largest IT employer in the state. (TCS), country’s leading IT service provider, has a strength of about 14,000 in Bengal.

Until last year, had no campus in West Bengal. It had one fully-owned development centre in Kolkata, which accommodates 1,750 employees. Besides this, it has four leased facilities in Salt Lake.

employs more than 10,500 professionals in Kolkata. We started operations in Kolkata in 1996. This was our second location in India after Chennai,” said Subho Samanta, senior vice-president and head of Cognizant’s Kolkata Operations.

While is yet to start operations in Kolkata, Wipro, the fourth largest IT service provider in the country, has a campus spread over 14 acres in Salt Lake, which has SEZ status. “SEZ status allows us to gain scalability while making operations more profitable,” said an official at Wipro.

The dilemma facing the Bengal government, argue industry insiders, is intrinsic to the future of the industry. “Some companies have a policy of wanting to develop their own campus as opposed to working out of built-up space, plus most want to take advantage of the tax holiday that comes with the SEZ tag, which cannot happen in less than a 24-acre campus. This might be an inflection point given that land is a scare resource,” said an IT-ITES analyst with KPMG.

Ask others and the view is, a campus for an IT company is not about land grab and tax benefits that come with the SEZ tag. “There are issues of security and intellectual property (IP), which are much better secured with a campus, because this allows us to keep a closer watch on employees,” said the official.

Besides, a campus is a long-term investment, which allows the company to expand. “Most companies do not like the hassle of looking for space, every time expansion plans are on the anvil,” CFO Suresh Senapathy, had earlier told Business Standard.

Cognizant’s growth in Kolkata has been against this trend so far. Last year, the company inaugurated its first campus in Bantala at the fringes of Kolkata. This campus is spread over 20 acres in the Bantala facility, which has the SEZ status.

Interestingly, even as the company has started construction on the second phase of the campus, it is also simultaneously investing in built-up space in a 2,700 seater office in Unitech Infospace.

Chatterjee’s argument, however, falls flat in the context of the fact that even had approached the state IT department for 30 acres. It is another story that Bengal has no land for Cognizant’s further growth.

“We do not have the land to allocate to them,” said Basudeb Banerjee, IT secretary, West Bengal. has not asked for support on SEZ for the proposed 30-acre campus.

image
Business Standard
177 22

Upgrade To Premium Services

Welcome User

Business Standard is happy to inform you of the launch of "Business Standard Premium Services"

As a premium subscriber you get an across device unfettered access to a range of services which include:

  • Access Exclusive content - articles, features & opinion pieces
  • Weekly Industry/Genre specific newsletters - Choose multiple industries/genres
  • Access to 17 plus years of content archives
  • Set Stock price alerts for your portfolio and watch list and get them delivered to your e-mail box
  • End of day news alerts on 5 companies (via email)
  • NEW: Get seamless access to WSJ.com at a great price. No additional sign-up required.
 

Premium Services

In Partnership with

 

Dear Guest,

 

Welcome to the premium services of Business Standard brought to you courtesy FIS.
Kindly visit the Manage my subscription page to discover the benefits of this programme.

Enjoy Reading!
Team Business Standard