Moving beyond coding, Hyderabad to focus on innovation and product development, Telangana IT minister

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Washington, Jun 11 (PTI) Telangana aims to leverage its booming IT sector’s strengths to help India achieve its goal of becoming a USD 10 trillion economy, the state's information technology minister Duddilla Sridhar Babu has said.

“Over some time, our industrial and information technology expertise has grown. We are not only for coding but we are also for product development. We also have the talent to build great products from our base stations. So, the time has come to take the leverage,” Babu, who is also Telangana's Industries and Commerce and Legislative Affairs told PTI here in an interview.

The senior minister is currently on a trip to the US to engage with industry leaders and attract investments from the United States.

He pointed out that Hyderabad has historically contributed significantly to global tech advancements, with much of the coding work for tech giants like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon originating from the city, a top IT minister from Telangana has said the state government is now focusing on innovation and product development.

“All these years most of the software centred around coding, back in India, back in Hyderabad. High-finished products are made in the US and sent back to India and all other countries. So it's like sending dough to the US and all other European markets and getting back the bread at a higher cost,” Babu said.

Telangana, he asserted, aims to leverage its IT sector’s strengths to help India achieve its goal of becoming a USD 10 trillion economy, with the state's economy growing to USD 2-3 trillion.

A key initiative is the development of an AI city, where 200 acres have been allocated to provide the necessary infrastructure for research, development, and company offices.

"We aim to harness the vast data generated by our population to build a robust Artificial Intelligence (AI) ecosystem," he explained.

“AI is occupying a major role in times to come. So, we cannot miss that bus… just like we have missed a semiconductor bus. Our late leader Indira Gandhi started a chip manufacturing company in Chandigarh in the 1970s before China or Taiwan thought about the semiconductor industry. For some unknown reason, the factory has been burnt and the governance has also put that aside.

“From that era, semiconductor or chip manufacturing would have taken place in Chandigarh. If we can imagine the strength of the economy now, it would have been multiplefold -- 20x of the economy that we see now. So, we can't miss this AI opportunity now,” Babu said.

During his visit to the US, Babu focused on reconnecting with industry stalwarts, particularly those with significant operations in Hyderabad.

"The purpose of my visit is to reconnect with the people, especially IT and pharma industry leaders, and those in other core sectors," he said, adding that the goal is to renew their engagement with Telangana more broadly and substantially, reinforcing the state's commitment to economic progress.

Hyderabad, already known for its strategic location, skilled workforce, and efficient governance, remains a pivotal economic hub. However, the minister emphasised the state's industrial development strategy extends beyond the capital.

"Our industrial development strategy focuses not just on Hyderabad but the entire state," he noted.

The government aims to replicate Hyderabad’s success across all districts, including tier-2 and tier-3 cities. By fostering a conducive ecosystem for investors at the district and village levels, the Telangana government seeks to ensure balanced growth.

"We will put the necessary infrastructure in place to ensure companies can thrive across the state," he asserted.

Babu said a significant element of Telangana’s growth strategy involves embracing new technologies, particularly AI.

During his trip to Atlanta, Coca-Cola agreed to invest in a new plant in the district of Peddapalli at an estimated cost of Rs 700 crore. Discussions are also underway with life sciences and IT companies about establishing Global Capability Centres (GCCs) in Telangana.

"In defence and aerospace, many companies are interested in Hyderabad due to the ecosystem we have created," he added. The goal is to broaden their presence and attract more investment. In Washington DC, he met representatives of companies like Boeing and Raytheon." Responding to a question on competition between Bangalore and Hyderabad, the minister said the Telangana capital has numerous advantages over its Karnataka counterpart. This includes a strategic location, ease of doing business, and a high quality of life.

While Bangalore grapples with issues like mobility, water scarcity, and high living costs, Hyderabad offers affordable living, reliable infrastructure, and ample space for expansion. Additionally, the government is focusing on developing tier-2 and tier-3 cities to ensure balanced growth across the state, Babu said.

The Telangana government is also actively engaging with the Telugu diaspora in the US, seeking their contributions in terms of intellectual property, expertise, and financial support.

He emphasised the creation of a platform where diaspora members can give back to their regions with proper audit and accountability. "Their involvement will supplement the state’s efforts in education, healthcare, and infrastructure development," he said.

When asked about the election results, which has thrown a coalition government supported by Telugu Desam Party, the ruling party of Andhra Pradesh, Babu expressed hope for cooperation and support from the central government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

He believes that with the Centre's support, Telangana can significantly contribute to India’s economy, particularly in IT and new technologies. "Telangana has immense talent and potential. We seek cooperation and funding for initiatives like the semiconductor mission," he stated.

The state’s expertise and ecosystem in semiconductor design position it well for future growth in this sector, he said.

Envisioning Telangana as a leading economic powerhouse in India, Babu said by focusing on new technologies, expanding infrastructure, and engaging with global and local stakeholders, the state aims to drive significant growth in the IT and industrial sectors.

"Telangana is poised for significant growth. We are committed to creating a conducive environment for investment and innovation," he concluded. PTI LKJ PY PY PY