Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma on Wednesday inaugurated the prestigious project of the State Government the “Shillong Technology Park” in presence of Information Technology and Communication Minister Hamletson Dohling and PHE Minister Renikton Lyngdoh.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, the Chief Minister said that Shillong Technology Park is one of the 300 ambitious projects of the State Government, which will be inaugurated in 2022 as part of Meghalaya’s Golden Jubilee year.
He said that the Tech Park will provide golden opportunities for IT professionals of Meghalaya from across the world to contribute back to their home State.
“I am sure many youngsters working outside Meghalaya would like to return back and work near their homes. I have already announced a vision that in the next 10 years, Meghalaya should be among the top 10 States of India. The success of this Tech Park will propel the realization of this vision,” he said.
Stating that technology is only meaningful when it enhances humanness and benefits the society, he said, “Each of us need to act as fully aware digital citizen, responsible co-creators and visionary leaders of the digital world. Meghalaya has 70% population below the age of 35 years. The State has tremendous potential in IT sector. We have a great demographic dividend to harness the young people in the technology sector. Making the youth future ready at mass level is the prime focus of the Government.”
On job creation, the Chief Minister said, “Although the first phase building of the Technology Park is going to create employment for more than 1500 people directly, however, it is estimated that it will generate three times as many jobs indirectly. Shillong Technology Park to bring convergence of different arrays of technology to a single platform, viz. combination of voice, video, data on a single network”.
He informed that the Tech Park will support incubation centres in collaboration with industry, academia and government stakeholders. “Invitation to companies across the country and abroad to come forward and start operating their facilities from Shillong Technology Park.”
The Tech Park has been designed based on plug-and-play model. “The State Government has put impetus in setting up infrastructure in multiple sectors. It has usually been an ISP (Infrastructure, Services, People) approach: set-up the Infrastructure, on-board the required Services, and empower the People to benefit from the facilities”, he added.
The first phase building has been completed and funded by the State Government. For the subsequent phases, Government would encourage the Shillong Technology Park to operate on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model.
“We will set up a single-window mechanism with minimum entry-barriers to on-board companies to operate from the Tech Park. The youths of Meghalaya need not think in terms of either-or viz. continuing in Meghalaya or moving to some other city, but should think in terms of MCQs (multiple choices). Presently multiple options and choices are available to the youth to realize their potential in Meghalaya. This Shillong Tech Park is going to further increase the options for our youth in multiple ways,” the Chief Minister added.
He said that Shillong airport will ensure connectivity, which will encourage CEOs and others from the industry easy access to Shillong. He also said that 5 star hotels are coming up in Shillong that will further provide the ecosystem for the IT enabled sector.
Talking on thrust area to develop the requisite capacities in IT and ITeS sector, he informed that according to the World Economic Forum’s “Future of Jobs” report, 50% of all employees will need reskilling by 2025, as adoption of technology increases. Further, the “double-disruption” of the economic impacts of the pandemic and increasing automation transforming jobs will immensely affect us. “This Tech Park needs to facilitate in bridging this gap,” he said.
Stating that connectivity is an important aspect for technological transformation, he said, “The State Government is coordinating actively with all stakeholder including the Government of India for expeditious roll-out of BharatNet and improvement in the Telecom network in the State. Emphasis is being given to the 4G towers being set-up funded by the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) of GoI.” He further informed that Government is actively engaging with GoI and Government of Bangladesh to ensure that submarine cable is made available to the Shillong Technology Park from Chittagong port.
He further encouraged the youth to focus in IT and ITeS and take advantage of the Technology Park. “Technology Park can be considered as a critical infrastructure in a nation’s innovation system. I am sure that the Shillong Technology Park will contribute both in regional economic development and in enhancement of the global knowledge economy. We need to devise a seamless model for flow of information amongst all stakeholders related to their support and activities in the Technology Park, including incubation to start-up and scale-up, and collaborations with centres of knowledge creation”.
The construction of the Tech Park started in 2019 and was completed in the record time of 25 months. Several companies have already indicated their commitment to set up their facilities at this Tech Park.
On the occasion, he also inaugurated the “TechDigital” BPO which will accommodate 300 local employees. TechDigital is a service provider of Total Talent Management solution with offices in USA, Canada and India.