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February 11, 2014

Microsoft to set up innovation centre in Bengal

Microsoft to set up innovation centre in Bengal

Software major Microsoft India is likely to enter into a formal agreement with the Bengal government to set up a research and innovation centre at Salt Lake Sector V.

“We will sign an MoU (memorandum of agreement) with Microsoft in a few days for a centre of excellence and this will start working in the next two to three months,” State IT Minister Partha Chatterjee said.

In 2012, Microsoft India chairman Bhaskar Pramanik had expressed interest in collaborating with the state government.

Boost for IT sector

State IT Minister Partha Chatterjee laid the foundation stone of an information technology (IT) hub and incubation centre at Taratala, which will be operational in 18 months. The hub is expected to generate about 2,000 jobs.

Spread across 50,000 square feet, the four-storey building will house incubation centres for start-ups and plug-and-play facilities for small companies. It will also have spaces for bigger software and hardware companies.

“Our target is to set up 13 IT hubs. We have utilised Sector V and Rajarhat. The Taratala IT hub will serve as an incubation centre and will be used for business process outsourcing and knowledge process outsourcing purposes,” state IT minister Partha Chatterjee said at the foundation stone-laying ceremony of the hub.

“We will later discuss and study the feasibility of whether we can use the facility to do work related to animation and gaming,” he said.

Huge potential for IT

According to Chatterjee, the move was also part of a plan to rejuvenate the business potential of Taratala, once a major industrial region. The facility will be set up on a part of a 7-acre plot provided by the West Bengal Electronics Industry Development Corporation (WEBEL), a nodal agency of the state government. The total cost of the project is estimated to be around Rs 20-25 crore.

Mr Chatterjee said the state would also be ready to tap into its venture capital fund for potential companies. He said Bengal was building a hardware park on a 10-acre plot at Sonarpur, which would be ready for allotment to small and medium enterprises by the end of this month.

He added that necessary infrastructure would be provided to ensure uninterrupted power supply. A temporary facility is being set up on the plot till the hub is ready, and this will commence activity in three months.