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STPI sees 10-12 pc IT export growth from its centres this fiscal

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KOLKATA, Dec 2 (PTI): Despite geopolitical tension across the globe, Software Technology Parks of India is expecting a 10-12 per cent growth of IT exports from its existing 63 centres in the country this fiscal, STPI director general said.

The value of IT exports from STPI centres was Rs 6.28 lakh crore in the 2021-22 financial year.

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“This year, we are expecting around 10-12 per cent growth of exports from STPI units,” STPI director general Arvind Kumar told PTI in an interview on the sidelines of Infocom 2022 here on Thursday.

The organisation, under the Union ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, is supporting IT companies and startups by providing space and plug-and-play infrastructure across the country, and is in the process of adding 12 more centres, mostly in tier II and III cities.

“In addition to 63 existing centres, we are setting up 12 more facilities. Infrastructure work is going on, and all these units are expected to be ready by the end of the next financial year,” Kumar said.

Asked about whether global geo-political tension would affect the prospect of IT export, he said “I do not see any major hurdle coming from Ukraine-Russia war on our IT exports. India is among the most trusted sources in terms of IT and IT-enabled services. During Covid period, the software export growth was more than 20 per cent.”

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Of the 12 STPI centres that are under different stages of construction, five are expected to be complemented by March 2023 and five more by December (2023) and two by March 2024, he said.

Asserting that STPI is committed to strengthen ecosystem of IT and IT-enabled services in towns, Kumar said 55 of the 63 existing centres are in the tier II and III cities in the country, and 11 of the 12 upcoming facilities will be in these small cities.

The space in STPI centres varies from 25,000 sq ft to 1.25 lakh sq ft, and “on an average, we invest around Rs 20 crore for small facilities, and for bigger ones, the investment as running expenditure could be more than Rs 100 crore,” he said.

“As of now, we have six lakh sq ft of space in STPI centres. This year, we are pumping in more than Rs 100 crore for infrastructure. Next year, it may be Rs 120 crore,” he said.

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STPI is now focusing on centres of entrepreneurship (CoE), Kumar said, adding that the authorities concerned have set up 21 such facilities across India and are planning to add four by December 2023.

“These CoEs are the domain-specific units and have lab equipment required for startups working in a particular industry. For example, we have CoE in Pune, which is on automobile sector. Similarly, in Lucknow, the facility is on medical electronics. The objective of these centres is to promote entrepreneurship and development of software products,” he said.

Of these 21 CoEs, seven are in northeast region of the country and each state of the NE region has one STPI facility.

Kumar said STPI is also creating market access opportunities for those startups which are incubated in its centres.

“We have taken around 60 startups to Bangalore tech summit. We are going to select 40 startups through various events, and will take them to the US so that they can showcase their products and get access to the market and required funds for further development and expansion,” Kumar said.

STPI has been providing seed funding up to Rs 25 lakh as part of handholding exercise for startups, he said.

“We have set a target to provide such funding to 300 startups by December 2023 and have funded 65 already.” Kumar added.

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