Chandigarh is the first 'planned' city of India. Known for its architecture, urban planning, and ambient environment, it is one of the best-managed cities in India. It is very well-connected to all major centers of the region and New Delhi, capital of India. With a population of about $1.297M (2009), Chandigarh’s per capita income is the highest in India at $2,430.73 in 2007–08.
Chandigarh’s strength lies in its social infrastructure, which has led to the growth of major IT companies in this city. Apart from infrastructure, its proximity to Delhi and lucrative IT talent pool attracts IT business centers. Major multinational corporations and Indian firms such as Dell, Infosys, Quark, Ranbaxy, Reliance, Satyam, IBM Daksh, ICICI Prudential (for software development), Taurus Agile, IndiWork Software Solutions Private Limited, Netgains Network Solution, Promatics Information Services, UniSolsInfosyatems, Voicepack Infotech Private Limited, Chandigarh Infotech center, Inde-Dutch System India and SmartData have offices in this destination. Infosys, one of the largest IT companies in India and the world, was amongst the first to set up operations in the city.
In the last one decade, this destination has seen rapid growth and has been emerging as the “Knowledge Hub” of the north. Developed land, dedicated telecom bandwidth and telephone exchange, and other pivotal facilities such as banking and public transport makes it a highly suitable office space for MNCs and corporate alike. Chandigarh, “The Silicon Valley of North India,” has all the trappings of being a technology city—good living standards, cosmopolitan outlook, skilled manpower, and excellent infrastructure. These factors attract IT/ITES/BPO investments in the city.
Chandigarh houses many institutes of higher learning, such as the Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh Engineering College, Punjab University, and the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Research. The Chandigarh Administration has been working on the development of human resources and has set up bodies like the Chandigarh Training On Soft Skills (CTOSS) Programme and Society for promotion of IT in Chandigarh (SPIC).
In Chandigarh, companies are mainly engaged in services such as Information Technology (IT), IT Enabled Services (ITES) consisting of inbound and outbound BPO and training center, search engine optimization and Internet marketing solutions, global IT solutions like software development and consultation (viz. delivering cost-effective software solutions and web services to small and medium enterprises), E-Commerce, website designing & development and CMS programming solutions to clients in USA and Europe and sale and maintenance of server and desktops to customers from defense, banks, research institute, and central government offices.
The IT companies in Chandigarh are mainly located in Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park (RGCTP) and at the DLF campus. RGCTP is a major step in the IT industry of Chandigarh. Several national and multinational IT companies are generating investment and employment opportunities to the region by setting up shops here.
Now more than 10,000 professionals are working in RGCTP and an investment of more than $ 219,466,300.10 has poured in. It is estimated that once completed, phase I and phase II would provide direct employment to more than 30,000 professionals, and an equivalent number would be directly employed in phase III taking the figure of direct employment from RGCTP to more than 60,000 professionals. Accordingly, the total investment for RGCTP will cross $1.3B.
In 2009–10, the total export value of Chandigarh's software industry reached $182.2M, which is $18.2M (about 11 percent) more than $163.8M posted in 2008–09. Software exports from RGCTP alone aggregated $159.1M in 2009–10 against $135.2M in 2008–09, up 18 percent. Exports from the units located in other parts of Chandigarh, declined by about 25 percent to $ 22.9M from $28.6M
Sanjay Kumar, IT-cum-finance secretary, UT Administration was quoted, “Defying the meltdown, the IT units located in RGCTP registered a growth of more than 18 percent in software exports in fiscal 2008–09. But those located outside the technology park, registered a fall of more than 25 percent, pulling down the total growth rate to about 11 percent. It is estimated that the software exports from RGCTP will cross $987.1M by the end of 2011.”
“The best year for the industry was 2008–09 when it registered an increase of 48 percent in software exports. In fiscal 2008–09, total software exports of IT companies, located in the RGCTP as well as outside, had risen to $164M from $110.5M in fiscal 2007–08, registering an increase of 48 percent,”stated Mr. Sanjay Kumar.
Chandigarh Administration has been framing several policies, from time to time, so as to motivate investors to invest into Chandigarh. They aim to create an appropriate industrial setup, improve the quality of the life of people, set up the right kind of business climate for various sectors of Chandigarh and contribute to the overall development of the economy.
In order to develop the requisite talent for Knowledge Industry, a new state-of-the-art Education City is coming up in Chandigarh, which will have world-class educational faculty and excellent infrastructure. Following are other initiatives which will support Chandigarh is being an ideal outsourcing destination.
A Cyber Security Research Center (first of its kind in the country) has been set up in collaboration with NASSCOM and Punjab Engineering College for conducting high-quality research on cyber security issues involving the academia, IT Industry, and government security agencies. Apart from research on cyber security threats, it will also aid and advise the State Police of the neighboring states in cyber security matters.
Society for Promotion of IT in Chandigarh (SPIC) has established centers of excellence in collaboration with Microsoft and IBM. The students are trained in Microsoft Certified programmes which help the IT Industry get trained manpower.
C-TOSS, a programme for upgrading youths soft skills and make them suitable for employment by the IT-BPO industry has been started. Free training is provided in all government schools both in urban and rural areas enhancing employability of students. Free training is also being imparted to school drop-outs from underprivileged sections of the society under CITROP (Chandigarh IT Reach Out Programme).
All these policies by the government have made Chandigarh a preferred location for the IT/ITES/BPO companies.