Kerala is gearing up in a big way to transform itself into a destination for digital technology with the CPI(M)-led LDF government aiming to add an additional one crore square-feet built-up space in the IT ecosystem during its tenure.
Already, Japanese automotive major Nissan has signed an MoU with the state government for setting up its digital IT hub here. Discussions have also been held with Intel and Tech Mahindra for investments in the state.
The Pinarayi Vijayan-led government's main focus is to put up an additional built-up space of one crore square feet during its five-year tenure, which the southern state took nearly 30 years to create, a senior official said.
Evaluation of the last 18 months has shown that space was getting created.
With the government taking initiatives in IT by expanding Kerala Fibre Optics network (K4) solutions and public hotspots, Kerala will become the most advanced connected state and is expecting big enterprises to come and shake hands, M Sivasankar, Secretary to the Chief Minister and Secretary, Electronics and IT Department, said.
Another major focus area of the state is the blockchain technology, he said.
Kerala has a vibrant financial system like chit funds, micro-finance, etc and blockchain, which is basically fintech technology, will help in leveraging this potential.
The Thiruvananthapuram-based Technopark, which was set up in 1990, has in the last 28 years, created one crore square feet built-up space for the IT sector. This government wants to replicate this feat in its five-year tenure, he said.
For the first time a commitment has been made to renew the IT policy every year based on experience in terms of field realities and update it.
'Since one policy and one framework will not hold good for the government's five-year tenure, with the basic plan and approach remaining unchanged, a series of sub-policies on data privacy, hardware, software, skilling, startups have been put in place," he said.
A large number of co-developers are interested in the state's IT ecosystem now. While in cities like Bengaluru and Chennai, the entire IT space has been created by private developers, in Kerala it has been a largely government-driven initiative, the official said.
In order to upgrade skills of engineering students, the government has launched a parallel skilling programme to train them online.
Twenty-five engineering colleges will be connected by August-end, he said adding the aim was to connect 150 engineering colleges through the programme by the year-end.
Thrust will also be given to six emerging technologies like IOT (Internet of Things) and big data, Blockchain, cyber security, electric mobility, space technology and its applications and augmented reality and virtual reality.
The state government is putting up a massive K4 network which would connect about 60,000 government establishments, schools and Anganwadis in the state. Local cable operators can also draw their network at the end point and penetrate homes, he said.
The massive network will also provide a tremendous opportunity for deployment of IOT devices which can be used for care of the elderly and monitoring their health at home, he said.
The state government was also committed to providing 1,000 public hotspots every year and by the end of the five- year term of the LDF government, the aim is to have 5,000 hotspots.
Kerala has only 1,100 local bodies and each panchayat will get five hotspots. This means that the network was going to be 'all pervasive', making it the most advanced connected state.
Another segment the government was working on was space technologies. There is a huge talent pool available in Kerala and the state wants to leverage the presence of Vikaram Sarabhai Space Centre in which 100-200 personnel retire every year and Indian Institute of Space Technology (IIST) from which at least 300 graduates pass out each year.
The plan is to establish some mechanism primarily on data analysis and develop space technology development ecosystem.
The state's fundamental focus was on creation of knowledge-based product companies. "We have identified a large number of startups for the same," he said.
Kerala, which has a robust startup ecosystem, has around 3,000 product startups.
On Kerala lagging behind in IT exports, he said it was wrong and pointless to use export parameters as a benchmark for success.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)