The new Information Communication Technology policy comes 10 years after the first was drawn up in 2008.

Flexible shifts for women re-skilling and more What TNs new ICT policy offers
news Information Technology Tuesday, September 11, 2018 - 17:28

Ten years after the last Information and Communication Technology (ICT) policy was announced, the Tamil Nadu government has released an updated ICT policy.

The previous policy from 2008, released by the DMK government, focused on inviting and establishing new Information Technology (IT) and ITES (Information Technology Enabled Services) companies in Tamil Nadu, especially in Tier 2 and Tier 3 centres of the state. The present policy goes beyond the 2008-policy and seeks to address a multitude of issues such as bringing investments into the state by making IT business attractive, encouraging new verticals and helping startups.

The new policy will also encourage new verticals such as animation, gaming and digital entertainment and will provide incentives for investments in the animation and gaming space.

What is new in this policy in terms of vision?

Apart from the usual investment angles that was emphasised earlier, the 2018-policy also outlines the goals of the state in relation to start-ups and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), job security for IT and ITES employees and safety of women employees working night shifts in those companies.

The Government also envisions setting up of hubs for IT services such as software development and product development and ITeS services such as business process outsourcing and knowledge process outsourcing.

The government aims to make Tamil Nadu the backoffice capital of the world by attracting large-scale Information Technology-based back offices for knowledge intensive businesses.

MSME Units

According to the new ICT policy, the Tamil Nadu government will provide skill training to the prospective employees of new or expanding MSME units that recruit at least 50 employees within three years. This training will be provided by the Tamil Nadu Skill Development Corporation as per the norms specified by the National Skill Development Corporation to a maximum of 100 employees per MSME and for three years. Also, these MSME’s will also be eligible for financial assistance.

Apart from this, MSMEs will also be eligible for discounts on lease rents and the government will also help them secure deals with business analysts for taking them global.

Job Security for IT and ITES employees

The state government will plan and implement appropriate mechanisms to ensure security of jobs to people working in the IT and ITES industry. These mechanisms will be decided based on the requirements of the industry with the interests of the employee group.

Some examples of state intervention are enabling re-skilling for the employees since the industry needs are dynamic, pushing the employees to equip themselves with the requirements needed for product-based industries and creating a system encouraging startups and angel investors, thereby offering viable exit options to employees who wish to become entrepreneurs.

Safety of women employees

The new ICT policy also provides a lot of concessions for women employees. The policy prompts employers to constitute an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) according to the provisions in the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2013 to make the work environment safe for its women employees.

Flexibility for women employees in shifts and providing sufficient transportation and security for women who work late in the night also found mention in the policy document. The policy has also directed employers to ensure that when a woman employee works late in the night, adequate security in the form of women security officers and women supervisors are provided.

Startups

One of the strategies that the Tamil Nadu government will adopt to make the state an ideal investment destination is to support early stage technology startups in Chennai with high quality physical working infrastructures and ancillary support with cost advantage.

The IT department will also set up warehouses for Startups in Chennai and Coimbatore and establish a Startup Warehouse Board.

Startups and MSMEs will be provided a subsidy of 10% on lease rentals subject to a maximum of Rs 2 lakhs per annum for a period not exceeding three years, on built up office space ranging from 1000 square feet to 5000 square feet leased by these units in Government promoted IT SEZs.

Single Window Facilitation

To avoid procedural delays the policy says that single window facilitation will be made available for all IT/ITeS industries through Tamil Nadu Industrial Guidance and Export Promotion Bureau, which will enable coordination with various agencies such as Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA), Directorate of Town and Country Planning (DTCP), Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services (TNF&RS), Tamil Nadu Police, Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board, Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (CMWSSB) and Airport Authority of India (AAI) to get the clearances from them.

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