GOAP unveils APFIRST its ITES initiative

CIOL Bureau
New Update

In its bid to attract a sizable amount of investment within the state, the

state government of Andhra Pradesh has unveiled its initiative towards the ITES

segment. Christened as APFIRST (Agency for Promotion and Facilitation of

Investments in Remote Services and Technology), the agency promoted by the

government aims to build AP as the pre-eminent global hub for IT. "AP is

among the leading states in India implementing several e-governance initiatives

and we are working further to strengthen our existing infrastructure and

facilities and APFIRST is a move towards that direction," said, AP IT

Secretary, J Satyanarayana.

AP first intends to be a single point interface of ITES companies for all
regulatory approvals and other facilitators required for setting up their

operations within the state. "APFIRST is a board directed agency with an

advisory board comprising of CEO's of leading IT enabled services companies

including ICICI one source, Compaq, EXL Services, Mphasis, AXA, E Finds and

Infotech Enterprises," he added.

The one stop agency intends to proactively market the value proposition of the
state and provide comprehensive and timely services to companies setting up

their ITES and BPO operations in and around Hyderabad. The newly formed body is

not just a regulatory clearance or marketing agency but will develop and execute

AP's value proposition by providing trained manpower, passing enabling

regulation, building a responsive, single point government interface and

creating provision of world class infrastructure.

To build a high quality manpower pool, APFIRST has also launched an institute
for IT enabled services training (IITEST). "We are going to provide the

required manpower for companies such as GE Capital, HSBC, and Knoah

Communications and to other companies who want to establish their operations in

the region," he explained.

Several regulatory changes are being implemented to ensure the best in class
regulatory environment for ITES industry. The government of AP has drafted a

data protection and consumer privacy act. "This act is one of its kind in

the country and draws parallel from leading data protection regulations in the

EU, US and Ireland. The draft law has been presented to the industry at the

Nasscom convention and is likely to be tabled in the legislature in the monsoon

session," said, Randeep Sudan, special secretary to the chief minister.

In addition, the APFIRST will serve as a single point window for regulatory
affairs inside the government. Therefore, a company coming to AP will have to

submit all approval documents to APFIRST, which in turn will work with different

departments to ensure the issuance of approvals.

At the occasion of the launch of APFIRST, the government has signed a number of
MoUs with private sector companies. "We have signed an MoU with the Mumbai

based Raheja group to develop a 120 acre of land near Madhapur at an investment

of more than Rs 600 crore spread over the next five years. It is likely to

develop more than four million-sq. ft. of office space. In addition to that, the

new phase of Hitech City is being launched keeping in mind the ITES

industry," Sudan explained.

The state of AP has already been recognized as a preferred destination for ITES
operations. In the financial year 2001-02, the ITES exports from AP grew by 323

per cent to make AP the second highest value ITES destination after the national

capital region Delhi. ICICI has already acquired 90,000 sq. ft of land in Hi

Tech City for its call center operations.