What Karnataka needs: Sound governance

Karnataka’s IT journey began in 1985 when Texas Instruments set up its first R&D center, recognizing the talent available in Bengaluru. This was the beginning of the IT revolution that made Bengaluru the ‘Silicon Valley of India’. From Wipro to Infosys, several Indian and multinational companies have set up hubs, slowly making their way from the back-office to the R&D hub. The city’s strong technological roots are also seen in the founding of the Indian Institute of Science in 1909, HAL in 1940 and ISRO in 1969.

Karnataka, and Bengaluru in particular, saw tremendous growth in the IT and BT (Biotechnology) sectors since the early 2000s. Some of the unique factors in Karnataka that have contributed to this growth include the state’s centuries-old research orientation as well as a culture. of innovation

Despite the positives, the naysayers have made a raging boy out of Bengaluru. Rapid development and urbanization along with population expansion bring challenges. Infrastructural problems such as potholed roads, high traffic volumes, encroached lakes and lack of public transport have continued to plague the city for a long time. These are problems that all metropolises face. However, a negative brand image of the city has been built up due to conversations caused by critics. Accusative finger-pointing hands never resurface to applaud efforts when there are positive developments.

The government is trying to tackle each problem through various programs and critical thinking combined with continuous efforts. Over the past five years, with the aim of making Karnataka a trillion dollar economy, the state has put in place work environment and incentives along with state-level policies for IT, R&D, Semiconductor, Biotechnology, AVGC (Animation, Visual Effects, Games and Comics) as well as startup policies. also

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The proof of the pudding is in the eating. The thriving IT, start-up, R&D and aerospace sectors are great examples of a government willing to listen, think and act. Creation of dynamic policies in consultation with ecosystem stakeholders – including development of infrastructure, market, talent and ease of doing business – has played a key role in making the state the ‘Innovation Capital of India’. The government has ensured exponential growth in IT and helped the city host the 25th edition of the Bengaluru Tech Summit, Asia’s largest and longest-running event. It has helped maintain the support and patronage of companies that have grown alongside the city, including Texas Instruments and Toyota.

When it comes to infrastructure, urban planning must focus on equity. Not only do we need smart cities, but we need smart solutions in an inclusive policy framework that caters to all residents across the state, and that’s what this government wants to do. The Beyond Bengaluru program aims to push development into smaller cities and towns and the efforts have shown tangible results. It is helping to take the pressure off Bengaluru’s infrastructure, creating better opportunities for industry to explore adaptive ecosystems while strengthening the local economy in terms of employment and enhancing wider development.

To address the infrastructure issues, the government has taken continuous steps to achieve various goals. In the past month, the ban on heavy goods vehicles during peak hours has been strictly enforced, and staff have been deployed to regulate traffic at busy intersections. This has yielded visible results. Travel times across the city’s nine major traffic corridors have dropped by nearly 50 percent during the morning rush hour.

Another instance of immediate course correction was seen in the Bengaluru floods this year, when the state government released Rs 600 crore to manage the rain and flood situation across the state, building stormwater drains, deploying irrigation pumps, evacuating people from waterlogged areas. . It has already set the wheels in motion for a master plan for Bengaluru East and new development areas.

The government showed strong management skills during the Covid era. Testing, monitoring and treatment was rolled out to deal with increasing cases in the districts. It used a two-pronged approach: using existing resources at the district level to further strengthen facilities and creating a strong infrastructure for the future. It has intensified post-Covid efforts to ensure sophisticated multi-specialty hospitals with ICU facilities and other services in all parts of the state.

With a growing startup ecosystem and technological expertise, they promise greater growth for the state in the coming decades.

However, this can only be driven by a government that is relentless in its efforts to create a better quality of life for its citizens and prosperity for the state, along with the support of its people.

(The writer is Minister of IT, BT and Higher Education, Government of Karnataka)

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