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Hyderabad has never had it so good. CM, Chandrababu Naidu is now aggressively marketing this 70 lakh plus populated State capital, once famous for pearls, bangles and minarets, as the new fundamental centre for information technology. Naidu's stab at marketing received a boost when US President Bill Clinton, in a touchdown speech referred to "Hyderabad" as "Cyberabad".

Not long ago Bill Gates is believed to have said, "I have asked my people to put it (Andhra Pradesh) right on top of the list".
What makes Hyderabad the new heartbeat of IT professionals? Is it all hype or is there any substance to it?

The IT Pioneers of Hyderabad
Till very recently the bread winner of Andhra Pradesh was Agriculture. Today IT has taken over this responsibility. A man amongst the first to see the vision of this change was B. Ramalinga Raju, MD, of Satyam Computer Services, acknowledged as Hyderabad's hottest and India's most valuable IT company. Hailing from a farmer's family, Ramalinga Raju succumbed to the charm of the chip and started the Satyam IT company. Today Satyam is a Rs. 680 crore company. It's subsidiary Satyam Infoway is listed on the NASDAQ along with Infosys and Silverline.

Inspired by Satyam's success
The dizzy heights scaled by Satyam has inspired others to follow suit. They include Visual Soft Technologies, Infotech Enterprises, Goldstone Engineering, Cybermate Infotek, and Fortune Informatics. All these companies have become darlings at the stock markets pulling both real investors and fund managers alike. The IT industry in Hyderabad is a beehive and has attracted even the likes of Fortune 500 not to mention the Indian regulars like Infosys, Wipro, Microland, BPL and ICICI. Today, the mind-blowing mega showcase of Hitec City in Hyderabad is home to companies like Oracle, Baan, GE Capital, HSBC, Citicorp, IBM, Motorola and Stanchart.

Thanks to all this IT buzz and the E-governance initiatives of the government, Hyderabad's share is growing in software exports. They are up from less than Rs.100 crore in 1994-95 to over Rs. 574 crore in 1998-99. The number of STPI (Software Technology Park of India) units has swelled from around 100 in 1997-98 to 250 in 1998-99. In 1999-2000, the software export from Hyderabad crossed Rs.1200 crore of which Satyam and Wipro logged Rs. 125.15 crore and Rs. 110.35 crore respectively.

How is Hyderabad churning out these miracles?
Some of the reasons that make Hyderabad such a vibrant hub of IT activity are:
  • Hyderabad is a pleasant city with amiable climate
  • The city is rich in cosmopolitan traditions richly blending the North and the South.
  • Hyderabad as well as the state has vast pool of talented and skilled professionals. About 0.4 million people from Andhra Pradesh work abroad and 23% of India's software professionals hail from this state.
  • There's an enormous access to engineering colleges, research institutions, polytechnic institutes and management schools in Andhra Pradesh.
  • Hyderabad is home to some world-class institutes being set up like the Indian Institute of Information Technlogy (IIIT), Indian School of Business and Satyam Institute of Management.
  • Strong entrepreneurial culture. Hyderabad can boast of having sent the most number of H 1-B visa holders to US Consul, Chennai. About 23% of the Silicon Valley companies are run by Hyderabadis, 60% of the software programmers in the US are of the Telugu origin.
  • The city is the first in the country to pick up threads and mint new ideas whether it be in ERP, E-Commerce or in Portals.
  • Quality of life is rich in Hyderabad. Water, power and commuting facilities are also adequate.
There is more to it. The state government has drawn a strong incentive policy for promoting IT that includes:
  • Exemption from Pollution Control Act
  • 25 % concession in power tariff for new units up to 3 years
  • Software exempted from sales tax Software industries exempted from zoning regulation
  • Self-certification / exemption under 7 Acts.
  • Rebate on cost of land @ Rs 20,000 per job created. One can get 1.214 hectares of prime Government land free of cost for every 1,000 people employed.

The incentives for IT infrastructure companies include:

  • Rebate on Stamp Duty on tapering scale for sale / lease of land ranging from 90 % to 50 %.
  • Relaxation of Fund Allocation Ratio (FAR) up to of 50 %
  • Connectivity through APSWAN (Andhra Pradesh State-wide Area Network) for IT parks
  • Explicit permission for round-the-clock working for ITES units
  • Investment subsidy of 20 % on capital of Rs 2 million
  • Special packages for mega project investment Rs 1 billion

Last but not the least - Hyderabad has a dynamic CM who looks upon himself as a CEO!

With all these rest assured that at this cyber city, not only a grand welcome but also a beginning of new and profitable vistas awaits for the IT people and companies.


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