Established on 5th June 1991, Software Technology Parks of India (STPI), an autonomous society under the Ministry of Electronics Information Technology (MeitY), Government of India, has since emerged as the growth driver of Indian IT/ITeS/ESDM industry. With a mandate to promote software and electronic hardware exports from the country by implementing Software Technology Park (STP) Electronic Hardware Technology Park (EHTP) Schemes, STPI pioneered the ease of doing business for policy governance in India by building a robust ecosystem to provide single window clearance services, world-class internet connectivity, state-of-the-art incubation facilities and other infrastructure services to encourage, promote and boost software exports.
About STPI Guwahati
STPI-Guwahati Directorate is one of the nine STPI jurisdictions having its main centre in Guwahati, Assam. STPI–Guwahati centre was established in 2000 to fulfil the objective of organisation i.e. to implement STP/EHTP Schemes, set-up and manage infrastructure facilities and provide other services like technology assessment, Datacom services and project management consultancy in North East Region. Presently STPI-Guwahati Directorate has centres in Shillong, Imphal, Gangtok, Aizawl, Agartala, Kohima, Itanagar (Upcoming) including Kolkata centre and its sub-centres in West Bengal.
STPI-Guwahati Directorate has warranted the growth of software exports from the North East region and West Bengal and generated employment and entrepreneurial opportunities by buoying the economic progress of the nation. In FY 2019-20, STPI-registered units under STPI-Guwahati jurisdiction contributed Rs. 7,237 crores software exports.
Under the guidance of STPI-HQ, STPI Guwahati Directorate also is promoting innovation, R&D, startups, product/IP creation in the field of emerging technologies like IoT, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented & Virtual Reality, Animation, Data Science/Analytics, AgriTech, Healthcare, Drone etc.
STPI Guwahati Directorate is establishing CoEs/Technology incubators in the above-mentioned technology areas across north-eastern India in a collaborative manner for upliftment of the region and ultimately India.
OctaNE – Internetworked North East CoEs to support technology led innovation by STPI, is an umbrella of 08 nos. of Centres of Excellence with Start-up Innovation Zones (CoE+SIZ) in northeast region, each CoE+SIZ under OctaNE will be self-sufficient in its domain but together all CoE+SIZ will provide bouquet of services to the start-ups in emerging technologies.
OctaNE (phase-I) have 03 Centre-of-Excellence & Start-up Innovation Zone (CoE+SIZ), one each in Guwahati, Shillong and Imphal in areas of IoT in Agriculture, Animation & Emerging Tech - AR/VR respectively, another 05 nos. of Centre-of-Excellence & Start-up Innovation Zone (CoE+SIZ) with focus area in GIS and Drone, Graphics, Gaming & Entertainment, Data Analytics & AI and IT in Healthcare & Agritech for the remaining states of north east India are in line.
STPI Guwahati Directorate is also part of launching Next Generation Incubation Scheme (NGIS), a futuristic incubation scheme to offer comprehensive support & services and extend seed funding to startups from 11 STPI incubation facilities pan-India at Agartala, Bhilai, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Dehradun, Guwahati, Jaipur, Lucknow, Mohali, Patna & Vijayawada under a common umbrella. To further strengthen the startup ecosystem in the country, STPI has set up RF Lab, EV Lab, IoT Lab, VR/AR Lab, Fintech SandBox, FabLab, SMARTLab, and Atal Incubation Centre (AIC) to enable startups leverage these facilities for building innovative technology products and solutions in an indigenous manner.
STPI Guwahati Directorate as mandated is implementing North East BPO Promotion Scheme in north-eastern region, the North East BPO Promotion Scheme (NEBPS), envisaged under Digital India Programme, seeks to incentivize establishment of 5000 seats in respect of BPO/ITES operations in North Eastern Region. The budget outlay for the scheme is of Rs. 50 Crore. This would help in capacity building in the region in terms of infra & manpower and would become basis for next wave of IT/ITES led growth. This scheme has potential to create employment opportunities of around 15000 direct jobs considering three shift operations. It may also create good number of indirect jobs.
Emergence of Software Policy
The first Computer Policy of 1984 and Software Policy of 1986 emphasized the concept of software development and export through data communication links. This policy's objective was to develop software in India using Indian expertise on sophisticated computers, which were being imported duty free. This way, one could make use of the low cost expertise available in India and avoid the expense of time and cost in traveling abroad.
However, there was a substantial cost involved in the data communication links. As per the policy, companies were allowed to establish data communication links by their own initial investments. The ownership of the equipment and the operations of the same Gateway would remain with VSNL and VSNL would pay back to the user over a prescribed period after deducting the operational maintenance costs.
This used to be as high as Rs.45.00 lakhs per 64 Kbps for an Indian half circuit per year.
Texas Instruments has the credit of being the first software company with an Offshore Development Facility in Bengaluru. Texas Instruments was also the first to establish its own Gateway at Bengaluru with the support of VSNL on a 'build & operate' agreement.
Except Texas Instruments, no other company succeeded in establishing a similar facility. It was very expensive for smaller companies and other offshore development users to afford the high cost of the data communication.
Further, an Officer from the Dept. of Electronics, Govt. of India was posted at Texas Instruments to monitor the data using the protocol analyzer before issuing necessary certification. There were many hardships that Texas Instruments had to encounter and circumvent by liaisoning with DoT, Ministry of Commerce and the Dept of Electronics, to make sure that the concept of offshore development could be made a success.
In fact, when the Govt. announced the first Software Policy in 1986, many such issues were addressed.o secondary cities like Mysore in Karnataka and has, at the last count, spread to as many as 21 cities in a short span of 2 years.
The Growth Booster
Since its inception in 1991, STPI has been working towards equitable and inclusive IT-led growth pan-India which in turn has helped promoting Software exports, Science, Technology & Innovation (STI) and Software product development. With nine jurisdictional directorates and 60 centres, STPI has expanded its presence pan-India to support IT/ITeS Industry. Working closely with all stakeholders, STPI has played a key role in transforming the country as the preferred IT destination, a fact that aptly proven by the stupendous growth in exports by STPI-registered units from Rs. 52 crores in 1992-93 to Rs. 4,74,183 crores in 2019-20, which is approx. 50% of the national software exports and 2.3% of India’s GDP.
The STP scheme is a 100 percent export oriented scheme for the development and export of computer software, including export of professional services using communication links or physical media. This scheme is unique in its nature as it focuses on one product/sector, i.e. computer software. The scheme integrates the government concept of 100 percent Export Oriented Units (EOUs) and Export Processing Zones (EPZs) and the concept of Science Parks/Technology Parks, as operating elsewhere in the world.
With STPI presence, orderly implementation of STP Scheme and the Govt. initiatives, in general, the offshore software exports from the country during 1991-92, which was mere 20-35% has grown to more than 70% during 2009-10.
In fact, countries like Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Algeria, Indonesia, etc. are taking the help of STPI to set up similar technology parks with the same concept.
The unique feature of the STP scheme is the provisioning of single-point contact services for member units, enabling them to conduct exports operations at a pace commensurate with international practices
Scheme Benefits & Highlights
- Approvals are given under single window clearance scheme.
- A company can set up STP unit anywhere in India.
- Jurisdictional STPI authorities clear projects costing less than Rs.100 million with Indian Investment.
- 100 Percent Foreign Equity is permitted.
- All the imports of Hardware & Software in the STP units are completely duty free, import of second hand capital goods also permitted.
- Re-Export of capital goods is also permitted.
- Simplified Minimum Export Performance norms i.e., "Positive Net Foreign Exchange Earnings"
- Use of computer system for commercial training purposes is permissible subject to the
- Condition that no computer terminals are installed outside the STP premises.
- The sales in the Domestic Tariff Area (DTA) shall be permissible up to 50 Percent of the export in value terms.
- STP units are exempted from payment of corporate income tax up to 2010.
- The capital goods purchased from the Domestic Tariff Area (DTA) are entitled for benefits like exemption of excise Duty & reimbursement of Central Sales Tax (CST).
- Capital invested by Foreign Entrepreneurs, Know-How Fees, Royalty, Dividend etc., can be freely repatriated after payment of Income Taxes due on them, if any
- The items like computers and computers peripherals can be donated to recognized non-commercial educational institutions, registered charitable hospitals, public libraries, public funded research and development establishments, organizations of Govt. of India, or Govt of a State or Union Territory without payment of any duties after two years of their import.
- 100 Percent Depreciation on Capital Goods over a period of five years.
Units undertaking to export their entire production of goods and services may be set up under the Electronic Hardware Technology Park (E.H.T.P.) Scheme. Such units may be engaged in manufacture and services.
Commensurate with the policy to give a special thrust to export of electronic hardware, such units would be encouraged to be set up under the aforementioned export oriented scheme.
Scheme Benefits and Highlights
- Electronics Hardware Technology Park unit may import free of duty all types of goods, including capital goods as defined in the Export Import (E.X.I.M.) Policy, required by it for manufacture, services, production and processing or in connection therewith.
- The units shall also be permitted to import goods, including capital goods, free of cost or on loan from clients required for the approved activity.
- Electronics Hardware Technology Park units may procure goods required by them for manufacture, services, production and processing or in connection therewith, duty free, from bonded warehouses in the Domestic Tariff Area set up under the Export Import (E.X.I.M.) Policy.
- Minimal "Minimum Export Performance" norms i.e., US Dollar one million or three times C.I.F. Value of imported goods whichever is higher & Positive Net Foreign Exchange Earnings against Export Earnings to be achieved over a period of five years
To provide statutory and other promotional services to the exporters by implementing Software Technology Parks (STP)/ Electronics and Hardware Technology Parks (EHTP) Schemes and other such schemes which may be formulated and entrusted by the Government from time to time.
To promote micro, small and medium entrepreneurs by creating conducive environment for entrepreneurship in the field of IT/ITES.
To provide data communication services including value added services to IT / IT enabled Services (ITES) related industries.
To promote the development and export of software and software services including Information Technology (IT) enabled services/ Bio-IT.
To fulfill the customer requirements by providing comprehensive quality in its services by ensuring continuous availability of its IT Services and continually work towards improving the performance of its Services.