Hyderabad’s poised for the big league

Hyderabad has it all. A galaxy of educational research institutions, outstanding infrastructure, an affordable lifestyle, and a cosmopolitan culture that makes it the hub of global tech companies. It is now reaching out for the next level. Cabinet Minister for Panchayat Raj & IT, Telangana State, K. T. Rama Rao speaks to Dipal Gala on how he plans to go about the transformation


On his technology vision There is a definitive sense of purpose in what we have been doing in the last fifty days. We are at the second position in IT exports at eight billion dollars and want to scale up swiftly. For this, we have a threepronged strategy .

One is to build a tech incubator eco-system and a start-up culture in the city . We have now the T ­ Hub in collaboration with IIIT Hyderabad, Nalsar and ISB. Students and budding entrepreneurs will be mentored in technology by IIIT, business by ISB, and IP and legal aspects by Nalsar.

We are going to build the biggest facility for startups here, to promote entrepreneurial culture. We would like to grow the next Snapdeal, Flipcart, Google or Whatsapp right here, out of Hyderabad. With 4G happening in the next 3-4 months, we plan to be India’s first wi-fi city. In technology , most big ideas have come off from garages and small offices, and were really simple. Mostly they scaled up, as they brought in great value. But these ideas need breeding ground, we want to be that breeding ground.

Then we have TASK, the Telangana Academy of Skill and Knowledge. It’s essentially a finishing school to imbibe the soft skills to be job ready . We will request the industry captains to lead the efforts, to train a pool of graduates, and ensure they are industry ready . This forges a better relationship between the industry and academia.

It important to note that we are not just looking at Hyderabad city.
We are keen to take these facilities to the grass roots. Aligned with the NSDC and NDLM, our programme will be extended to villages, and mandals. Eventually when the broadband reaches the villages, the village panchayat becomes secretariat for services. The ePanchayat concept is just the beginning, we will start by rolling it out to 2000 villages out of the 12,000 villages. Ultimately e-governance is about better services.

We are witnessing a revolution in communication. A party leader of my mine, noticed shoddy construction of a bridge on the road near Sircilla, my constituency . He Watsapped a picture of the construction. The appropriate authorities were able to immediately look into the matter. The speed of issue resolution fascinated me. Now a minister can also be sent something important in seconds, when he is connected to his people.

On Telangana’s brand icon, Sania Mirza The brand ambassador had to be somebody who has international recognition, recall and a presence.

Sania Mirza is a true blooded Hyderabadi and is the first Indian women tennis star with international exposure and is steadily climbing up in the international WTA rankings. She has done very well for herself and is a proud Hyderabadi who flaunts this city and has done that in the past. She is likely to do that more effectively now that she is anointed as a brand ambassador. The fact that she is actually from Hyderabad helps, not all brand ambassadors are from the area they represent.

On creating a global city culture Hyderabad is a very unique city . We have the old world charm and the new world glitz. A city can’t just exist and survive and thrive. Ultimately, for people, it’s about a good quality of life. So with the departments of IT and Tourism we are creating an event-a-week concept for 52 weeks. This will create the milieu of a cultural, vibrant city. We just had a monsoon sailing regatta, and now have a mega-cycling event. On the 15th of August we have a 10,000 peo ple marathon. We have Tech and Tourism conferences, global MICE events, Music Concerts, Theater festivals, Film events, and now a Hyderabad Sunburn festival. We want to make these mass events, so people can connect and participate. The way we see it, if Hyderabad is to be a global city, we have to have this blend of culture and sports. Of course, we absolutely cherish our dakhani heritage, the legacy of the Charminar, Golconda, Falaknuma, Chowmohalla, our numerous historical heritage buildings. So we are steeped in tradition, and brimming with a global, tech savvy consciousness, and that is brand Hyderabad.

On transparency , efficiency, speed Today, we have political stability which is essential for policy continuity, both in local and central governments. For any government to work, it has to be decisive. What is very important for an investor is transparency and a functioning government.

We had a sad situation of IAS officers and ministers being jailed in the past, so the CM is very focussed on political corruption. For instance, just now, we have a team from ITC that has been waiting for five years to get clearances from the past government to construct a five-star hotel. When the matter was reported to us, the ED met the CM, and within a week’s time all papers were cleared by CM and Chief Secretary . That kind of agility in decision making does help.

On building human capital For organic growth, we have to make the city of Hyderabad more and more attractive to draw the best talent here, akin to a New York or London which attracts the best talent based on what it offers in terms of lifestyle and growth. Secondly, we need more and more prestigious institutions and exchange programmes, not just academic but in areas of sport, culture, and so on. The private university bill that is pending with the state gov ernment, will be relooked at. If it means bringing in more and more international players to Hyderabad with their educational programmes of global standards, that should be welcome. For a city like Hyderabad, that is so well connected to the entire country, to South East Asia and Middle East, it will be a strategic development.

Infact, we could develop niche capabilities aligned to an already existing base, such as medical tourism.
We could set up a Centre for Embryology , and excel in reproductive medicine. A team has approached us to set up a Aerospace University, we already have an Aerospace SEZ. These are the areas Hyderabad can excel in, as we have world class institutions of national repute. If we really can nurture them very well, and ensure that their expertise is tapped into, a lot of these new global niches can be successfully created.

On the promotion of sports Hyderabad has world class sports stadiums. They have not been used effectively, after the big global sporting events held here. We have produced wonderful champions here.

Just one sportsman, Pullela Gopichand, with minimal support from the government, has created a PV Sindhu, a Saina Nehwal, a Kashyap! Wonderful talent, all of them. We also have shuttler Jwala Gutta, shooter Gagan Narang, Hockey play er Mukesh Kumar, all players who have excelled internationally. The government would like to tap into this wealth of sportsmanship in the city, looking at providing opportunities for all-round development. It can’t be just about creating a training programme.

On the Information Technology Investment Region (ITIR) The 12,000 acre ITIR is a very long drawn plan, we are looking at a 1520-year horizon, for the project to come to shape in its entirety . We are looking at an outlay of two lakh crores rupees. The first phase will be rolled out before 2019.

By current estimates, it will provide direct employment to15 lakh people and indirect employment to 35 lakh. So it’s a wonderful objective to have. For that, we have to have a structured growth plan for Hyderabad. In a recent cabinet meeting, we have resolved to bring in an international or national consulting firm to bring out a vision document, a master plan for urban development now set to double or triple in twenty years. So we want growth in Hyderabad but we want structured, regulated growth, not haphazard growth. The ITIR is a combination of a lot of departments together, not just technology. We are working on a masterplan.

Courtesy : Timesofindia.com