The captains of the infotech industry in Karnataka are cheering for a change of political regime
and are happy the Congress will form the next government
. The party won 120 seats of a total 223 while the BJP and JD(S) won in 39 seats, each.
"In the last five years, there was very little governance. No one was able to think through what is required to take the state forward, take the IT industry to tier two cities. There was no thought leadership. The Congress government can address it seriously and possibly make the operational environment for the industry friction-less," says Krishnakumar Natarajan, CEO of IT services company Mindtree.
The IT industry in the state, he says, is fighting "irritants"
such as the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act of 1946 that provides a code for the working environment in companies but is more relevant to the manufacturing sector.
"A factory inspector can come into your premises to make inspections. But Standing Orders are not applicable in a white collar environment," Natarajan says, adding that the new government should do away with such laws. ALSO READ:The contenders for Karnataka CM's chair
Ganesh Murthy, CFO of Mphasis, is betting on stability. "What party comes to power is not important. What is important is stability. The entire industry is looking for that," he says.
The IT industry in the state did well under the last Congress government
. It grew at a scorching pace during S.M. Krishna's regime (1999-2004) - software exports grew at more than 50 per cent.
But that was more a function of the relative smaller size of the industry and the global delivery model, which disrupted the world of IT services. Infosys and Wipro, the two IT companies headquartered in Bangalore, were booming. Both the firms are struggling now and have yet to come to terms with a reset world that changed drastically after the financial crisis of 2008.ALSO READ:Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw & Co back 14 candidates, 5 win
B. Ramaswamy, former managing director of mid-tier IT company Sonata Software, is not sure how the Congress will fare.
"Governance and administration may be an issue because of the lack of unified leadership in the Congress. The government has to play the role of an enabler for the IT industry by focusing on infrastructure - transportation, availability of land and water. How they can do that is doubtful because the JDS may become powerful if they emerge as the single largest opposition and may become pinpricks for the Congress," he says.
Land acquisition, for instance, can become a bottleneck since JD(S) has a pro-farmer tilt.