On May 30, the BJP- Shiv Sena-led Maharashtra Government approved a new Information Technology and IT-enabled Services (ITeS) Policy 2023 that offers the industry several relaxations.
This new policy aims to attract 95,000 crores in investments, 3.5 million employments, and 10 lakh crores in exports.
In 1998, Maharashtra was one of the first states in the nation to adopt an IT policy. The policy was then modified in 2015, although it expired in 2020. Under the new IT policy, a single window technology site named MAHITI will be available for registrations and clearances.
The new IT policy is developed under the guidance and suggestions of various experts in the country. Currently, the IT sector has a significant presence in the Mumbai and Pune regions and regions and a minor presence in places like Nashik and Nagpur.
The State Government is working to expand the information technology (IT) and information technology-enabled services (ITES) industry beyond the traditional Mumbai-Pune belt. Companies interested in making investments in Maharashtra’s neglected regions will be given incentives under the new policy.
The new IT policy will have the following provisions:
Single Technology Interface: The State Government introduced the Information Technology Interface (MAHITI) to improve the ease of doing business in the information technology sector.
This interface will make facilities available through timely clearance, component registration, incentives, and other extended services.
Startups and Innovation: The Maharashtra Hub (M-Hub) initiative aims to advance innovation in cutting-edge technology and transform Maharashtra into a knowledge-led economy. Five hundred crores will be set aside to help Micro, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, New Entrepreneurs, and Incubation Centres in Emerging Technologies with financial support.
Walk to Work culture: Relaxation of eligibility criteria and area usage criteria for the development of IT Parks and ITES units in the State, thereby providing workplace shelter to employees working there in the future. Private IT parks will be permitted to set up ‘essential infrastructure’ independently, such as power infrastructure and sewage lines.
Development of the IT sector: The State will establish a specialised Centre of Excellence (CoE), including representatives from the public and private sectors, to create the ecosystem for the IT industry. Customised capital assistance will be provided for new emerging technology related to the IT sector, such as artificial intelligence and cloud computing.
Together, the departments of Industries, Skill Development, and Higher and Technical Education will create a ‘Talent Launchpad’ for the State’s IT and information sector. Through competitions and hackathons, existing colleges, skill institutes, and training facilities that offer skill courses will receive support.
Regional Development: Interventions will be made to foster sustainable and balanced regional development to encourage the expansion of micro, small, and medium-sized firms alongside major information technology companies and to provide investment and employment possibilities in regional areas other than Zone-1. Zone-1 area falls under the limits of the Municipal Corporation.
In order to assist IT businesses in opening new units, the State has also decided to grant them a higher Floor Space Index (FSI) than what was allowed under the previous policy.
Industry-Based Operating Structure: Under the Maharashtra Hub (M-Hub) initiative, the Chief Operating Officer will be named Maharashtra’s Technology Ambassador. They will represent and oversee the policy and performance mandate from the private sector’s viewpoint, as well as introduce global best practices in the State’s IT sector.
Performance Review: Through the Empowerment Committee, the effectiveness of the policy will be periodically assessed in order to adjust to the dynamics of the global market. This committee will make necessary amendments in the policy from time to time by taking into account Maharashtra’s current and future needs.
Other Incentives: The policy also provides the IT industry with other sops (Standard Operating Procedures) and perks, such as a 50–100% subsidy on stamp tax, a 10–15-year electricity charge waiver, and power supply at industrial rates. The new policy also offers the IT sector’ continuous industry status’, which allows them to operate continuously, without interruption, for 24x7x365 days. The operations may be closed down under some difficult circumstances.
Information technology services will be designated as essential services, and the Essential Services Maintenance Act will cover data centres.