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Q : How is Tamil Nadu placed now vis-a-vis its neighbours in Information Technology [IT] and how will the TIDEL park project help to reposition itself in this field?
A : Few facts which are available and which are for every one to see- on the information technology scenario [IT] in Tamil Nadu is the total number of software professionals working in Chennai alone is close to 19,500, so we have the numbers.

Chennai has the mainframe capacity. One will find that it is much higher than what is available in any other cities combinely put together.
Again, if one look at the exports from the IT sector, Chennai is far ahead of Hyderabad.

So, this TIDEL park project is in a way, a standing testimony to the extent to which the Government is willing to go in terms of its capacity to make a state-of-the-art facility available to the companies; because even today there are many software companies which started functioning in Chennai, could do with better facilities.

The objective is to provide facilities at par with any other countries. TIDEL will seek to provide the state-of-the-art facility comparable to the best in the world as on date. And we are planning for the future as well. We would like companies to have a choice.

Q : Will TIDEL park be transferred to a new Company later?
A : Once it is created, completed and commissioned, the promoters will not have anything to do with it except to the extent to drive the revenue which is necessary to pay back the promoters [TIDCO/ELCOT] obligations.

Q : Inadequate Communication infrastructure is cited as an impediment against the rapid growth of IT in the state. How does Tamil Nadu propose to get over this problem?
A : In fact the companies which are occupying a lot of space in Chennai today, merit better facilities. Because of both VSNL and the Department of Electronics [DoE] have begun investing in a big way in augmenting the communication facilities in the state.

Now for instance, even for the TIDEL park, both are in competition with each other. We are retaining the competitive spirit in order to provide adequate redundancy in terms of adequate communication facilities in the park. At Kelambakkam also, VSNL is investing in a big way in order to augment the communication facilities.

If you really compare item-wise, Chennai is not lagging behind even as on date. But if you look at the investments which are being currently made by VSNL and DoE over the next two years, we think Chennai will overtake its counterparts in the south in terms of communication facilities.

Q : The center has announced substantial sops for the IT sector recently and the National Task Force on software development has also submitted its report to the Government. How does Tamil Nadu propose to take advantage of this emerging situation?
A : One of the key recommendation of the IT Task Force's first report submitted to the Government last month was creation of high-tech habitats in selected cities, which Tamil Nadu is already creating.

We are creating TIDEL park, a small software park in Sholinganallur, a huge land infrastructure with communication facilities for enabling IT companies to set up software shops in simacheni at Kelambakkam.

Another key recommendation of the IT Task Force was the setting up of a venture capital fund to help fledgling companies in software in IT sector. One might be aware Tamil Nadu was the first state, to come out with a specific venture capital fund for IT sector through TIDCO in collaboration with ILFS. So we are ahead of other States.

One of the other recommendations of the IT Task Force is to create an institute which will provide the missing link between a raw degree and an employable hand.

Now this is what is exactly sought to be done through TANITEC - Tamil Nadu Institute for Information Technology. Actually, this was started by Tamil Nadu more than a year ago, while the IT Task Force's first report is just a month old.

Q : Will the 'TIDEL' park project be a stepping stone for the dream Cybercity project, to create a silicon valley in Tamil Nadu?
A : Yes. We can go on saying it is a silicon valley, this valley and the like. But the point is that we are not starting from scratch. As on date in Chennai and in its vicinity put together, there are close to 20,000 people working. It means that office space feet has already been created for this[IT] purpose.

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