Thursday, May 03, 2007

Developing an IT city

Will you move to Hubli? or Madurai? or even Mysore?
Will you set up a branch of your company in any of these cities above? Companies are setting up offices in many of these cities today, but find the going tough. Unlike an Infosys which is really using its base in Mysore as a self sufficient campus - a siginficant number of employees live within- it is not easy to go to a place where there are no (or less) people.

It is all very well for a government to say, Go to Hubli (I have nothing against the city, just using it as an example, substitute it for whatever you want), but why will I as a company go there?
Are I getting unlimited power supply? No way.
Am I getting infrastructure. No guarantee.
Will I get more people than any of the current locations? Unlikely.

Apart from the above questions, will my employees shift? Thats a critical factor to think about. In a place like Hubli or Madurai or Meerut or Bhubaneshwar, people who are native to that city would like to go back, but then again not all of them would like to go. Why would a person who has lived his entire life in Bangalore or Bombay want to go to an unfamiliar place - unless there is a significant career perk - which could be shortlived since that sort of a career move to a city would be a cul-de-sac.

What would make people are likely to take the risk of leaving everything is only a better quality of life. Quality of life comes from a good living space, easy commute, good schools, power supply, community nearby - where the basics are taken care of. Today they are not. If the road , power, water situation in the capital Bangalore/Mumbai is bad, fat chance that Nagpur/Hubli will merit special attention.

If any government is serious about moving IT and other industries to any tier II city, the only way is to create great (not good) infrastructure (or let the biggies create it). The rest like restaurants, accomodation will happen through local private initiative. (Of course, you may have a question on the story of Navi Mumbai, but thats for another time)


GVK said...

Infrastructure would help. But could it be a determining factor, Mr Neelakantan? Quality of life for employees is, perhaps, what companies look for. And those in Tier II towns, on their part, may well be counting on its improvement (Q of L) when these companies weigh in with their investment. A chicken-egg situation.
Would one be right in saying nothing or no one can really make anyone move to Tier II? And the only reason any company would want to move is because of chronic traffic jam, crowding and congestion in its current location.
Finance minister P Chidambaram spoke of the need for greater autonomy and better governance for Mumbai to make it a truly global city. I suppose the reasoning could be extended to Bangalore. But then can we visualise a self-governing Bangalore?
I took the liberty of highlighting your post in Mysore blog Park. Trust it is okay with you, Mr Neelakantan.

Naren said...

Lack of reliable broadband internet connection is also a problem for some tier 2 cities!

ggop said...

I have lived in both Mumbai and Nagpur. After visiting Chennai, Bengalooru and Mumbai I can attest to the fact that roads, water, power are way way better in Nagpur than in any of the above cities. Nagpur did spend a lot of money in getting roads right.

Kavi said...

Pertinent points ! But there is no way that the Bangalores and Mumbais can sustain for a long time !

Growth and expansion has to go second tier. Governments & cabinets with vision will ensure proper progressive growth !

Anonymous said...

Mr Nilakantan has repeatedly mentioned place 'Hubli'. i think the conditions for an IT park there are not so worse as he thinks. with some initiative from the government, the city infrasturucture can be improved to a far better extent. of course, it will not happen instantly. it will take some time.

Anonymous said...

All certain done quality of life in tier -II cities is better any day. Though I lived in Bangalore for more than 20 yrs, i do not find this place livable anymore. The cities become big only if there is certain amount of infrastructure in existence, which is the need of all tier-II cities. Even Bengalore, Mumbai needs good livable infrastructure. Bottom line is govt. needs to create infrastructure in these cities.

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