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Much noise but little movement

Information technology is by far India’s most dynamic sector but its success comes despite rather than because of government initiative. The BJP government has sloughed off the Congress Party’s socialism but is desperately slow at implementing its objectives of privatizing and increasing foreign investment. There’s some hope, though, in the initiatives being taken by state governments. Kala Rao reports

A chance meeting with reform-minded Indian politician Chandrababu Naidu in Silicon Valley two years ago convinced Prasad Yenigalla, a young Indian engineer, that he should return home. In November last year, he started his company, Vantel Technologies, an incubator of IT products, in Hyderabad. Today Vantel employs 85 people and has developed half a dozen switching products that Prasad hopes to sell to global telecom giants such as Lucent Technologies, Nortel Networks and British Telecom. The company launched an IPO in June this year and is listed on the Bangalore and Hyderabad stock exchanges. Prasad sees no disadvantage in his company's being located in India even though it is in the competitive global IT products business. "On the contrary. The right skill sets are easily available here. As for lifestyle changes, in the valley I spent most of my time at home or workplace, so it hardly makes a difference. "That young entrepreneurs such as Prasad find enough hope to return home and set up businesses is a measure of how much has changed in India.

It is tempting to paint a picture of boundless optimism from the bustle and enterprise to be seen in such places as Electronics City near Bangalore, Hi-Tech City outside Hyderabad or Gurgaon near Delhi.

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