Karnataka's IT minister Priyank Kharge on Tuesday urged the technology industry to invest not just in Bengaluru but beyond the capital city also as the state government is committed to provide conducive investment environment.
"I'm here to request your cooperation and request all of you to help Karnataka go beyond just Bengaluru. We are here to request you to break boundaries together. We are providing a conducive environment for investment outside the city," Kharge said here at a preview meeting for the 26th Bengaluru Tech Summit.
Kharge, who is also son of Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge, handles the portfolio of information technology, biotechnology and electronics in the Karnataka government apart from the rural development and panchayat raj ministry.
Kharge mentioned the traffic congestion in Bengaluru and said it has often become a topic of discussion on social media platforms.
"Governments do not understand technology and catch up to it," Kharge said, adding that the state government can liaison with the Centre for issues like the recent GST levy on gaming and fintech regulations by RBI, creating a "sandbox environment for policy".
About artificial intelligence, Kharge said: "While we are encouraging AI, the European Union is trying to regulate AI, the US government is trying to regulate AI,".
Speaking on the competition with China, Kharge said that Bengaluru has grown to be the 4th largest technology cluster in the world, back from its entrepreneurial roots 500 years ago when small clusters traded for cotton, salt and oil in the 16th century.
"Earlier when we talked about technology, we only spoke about IT services. STPI (Software Technology Parks of India) has been our partner for 25 years. We were the call centre for the world, the back office...then we moved on to financial and banking operations to now a research and development hub moving on to innovation and invention now in less than 3 decades," Kharge said.
He added that the state is number 1 in India Innovation Index, attracting FDI and electronics exports.
"We have 234 engineering colleges, 60 medical colleges, 44 universities, 1,777 public and private industrial training institutions, IIIT-B and IIM, IISc and the ISRO and probably the highest number of employable graduates in the workforce," Kharge claimed.
The preview meeting was also attended by STPI Director General Arvind Kumar and several officials as well as industry representatives.
Kharge said this forum is a "bandaid solution" for industry suggestions to be implemented in policy, which normally takes two academic sessions.
"I'm ready to put my skin in the game. If Accenture comes and says we need 2,000 professionals in 3 years, I will train them if you provide with the curriculum. Attrition rate will be low and graduates will be more employable," Kharge asserted.
He said Bengaluru is skill-ready, and the biggest testament is that iPhone is being manufactured in the state capital.