Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy said his government was taking steps to ensure that the information sector remains a mainstay of the state and continues to grow, not just in Bengaluru but in the overall state.
In an exclusive interview with Moneycontrol, Kumaraswamy spoke about his government’s technology-related initiatives. The chief minister said his government would encourage tier-2 and tier-3 cities such as Hubballi, Mangaluru and Belgaum to come up as IT destinations, which the previous Congress government was also planning.
This will take some pressure off Bengaluru, which is currently the go-to location for technology companies. The fast pace of development over the years has put tremendous strain on the civic infrastructure of the city.
“We are going to announce several incentives in the coming budget to encourage them (smaller cities),” he said.
Kumaraswamy said like the previous government, his government too was committed to develop the IT industry. “That is our main sector. Not just in the IT sector, in several sectors we want to generate employment in big numbers,” he said.
The chief minister will present the JD(S)-Congress coalition government’s budget on July 5.
Kumaraswamy also said that he had reached out to Infosys co-founder NR Narayana Murthy for his thoughts on city planning in Bengaluru. The CM said he met Murthy twice and “requested his assistance regarding the IT sector, and several other issues, particularly in Bengaluru city development, but his health does not permit it”. However, Murthy has assured the new chief minister that he will be happy to advise the government whenever required.
Kumaraswamy said he has met other industry leaders, including Biocon chairperson and managing director Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw and former Infosys chief financial officer Mohandas Pai. He said he would also like to meet Wipro chairman Azim Premji and involve industry leaders in improving governance standards in the state.
Rumours of the new government looking to restrict night life in Bengaluru has also raised concerns among IT professionals in the city. “That is there, but in the name of nightclub culture, some illegal activity is going on. I don’t want to encourage that. For that we are carefully going to certain decisions. Nothing has been decided yet,” he said.
In addition to IT, another focus of the Karnataka government is promoting tourism in the state. “I wanted to encourage investors in several fields, particularly in tourism sector,” said Kumaraswamy, adding that several foreign investors were interested in investing in different industries in the state and his government would support them in a transparent manner.