With a fast-growing reputation as India’s high-tech capital, Bangalore is fulfilling a prophecy first uttered almost a century ago. India’s fastest growing city is a study in urban contrasts where satellite dishes, sleek office towers and industrial parks are interspersed with the traditional symbols of Indian society embodied by ancient temples and the aroma of incense. Jawaharal Nehru, India’s first prime minister and a leader in the nation’s drive for independence in the 1930s and ’40s, had an uncanny ability as a soothsayer. Nehru’s prediction that Bangalore was destined to be India’s City of the Future proved right on target.
The capital of southern India’s Karnataka state, Bangalore ranks as one of India’s most prosperous and progressive cities and a pace-setter in software development and the IT industry. Dubbed the Silicon Valley of India, it is moving boldly into the 21st century, propelled by some of the best and brightest technological and scientific minds in the world. ADVERTISEMENT Looking at Bangalore today – with its population of 6. 5 million – it’s difficult to believe the city literally rose from the mud almost 500 years ago. Bangalore dates from 1537 when chieftain Kempe Gowda settled here and constructed a mud fort surrounded by four watchtowers.
Hindu temples and dwellings followed as the population expanded over the next three centuries while enduring intervals of war and strife among Hindu and Muslim warlords prior to the establishment of British rule in the early 19th century. When British oversight ended in 1948, Bangalore became an integral part of the newly independent India. Its subsequent economic growth eventually transformed the city into a showcase of technological excellence. A leading exporter of software, Bangalore is home to several public sector projects including Electronic City and IT Park.
Multinationals are well represented here. Word about Bangalore has spread far and wide as increasing numbers of Americans and Europeans have come to do business and/or work for IT companies with headquarters here including Microsoft, Intel, Oracle, Dell and Sun Microsystems. It today ranks among the world’s top 10 IT nerve centers and also is gaining recognition as an up-and-coming leader in biotech. Although India’s economy has been hampered in the past by a bloated bureaucracy and burdensome red tape, the Karnataka state government has
enhanced Bangalore’s development by promoting investments and fostering a proactive relationship with industry. The origin and evolution of India’s Silicon Valley By the early 1990s, Bangalore had became a hot destination with about 1,500 multinational IT companies establishing a presence in the city—all of them lured by the highly educated pool of human resources. These myriad IT firms churn out 38% of India’s $22 billion IT and software exports, according Bangalore as India’s high-tech capital. What were the drivers of Bangalore’s success story?
Industrial infrastructure, engineering education and industrial policy. Today, Bangalore is not only India’s IT capital, but also the capital of aeronautics, automotive components, bio-technology, electronics machine tools, space research, science research, defence science research and silk industry. The city’s growing techno status has also meant that it has become a must-stop on the itinerary of political heavyweights visiting India. The British, Chinese and Singapore prime ministers have all come to Bangalore paying visits to Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and Infosys.
Bangalore’s connectivity to the rest of the world, especially the Western nations, has dramatically increased in recent years thanks to the number of international airlines which have begun operating direct flights from the city. Bangalore now houses the third busiest airport in the country after Delhi and Mumbai. The demographic profile has changed with people from across the country coming here for better job prospects and making the city their home. The state was a pioneer in encouraging private participation in engineering education and this led to the creation of several engineering colleges in the early 1980s.
Today, there are over 200 engineering colleges, leading to a rich source of technical talent. After Independence, Bangalore became home to six public sector undertakings. Also automotive components manufacturer Motor Industries Company Bosch set up their manufacturing facility in the city in 1954. In 1972, Indian Space Research Organisation was established in the city to have a synergistic relationship with the HAL. Today, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has 12 labs related to aerospace, electronics and radars in Bangalore.
Another important development in the mid 1970s was when RK Baliga, then MD & chairman of the state public sector undertaking Karnataka State Electronics Corporation, established an electronics park spread over 335 acres. He had spoken about the need to make Bangalore the Silicon Valley of India. This helped attract some electronics units to Bangalore and laid the foundations for the IT capital. Perhaps, these positive factors prompted Infoys and Wipro to make Bangalore their headquarters. A far sighted state government provided the right impetus to their ambitious.
These initiatives ensured that the city had an unparalleled ecosystem for attracting and retaining technical talent as well as an excellent vendor base. Eventually, a significant step in the transformation of the city into an IT hub was the entry of a US hi-tech company in 1984 when Texas Instruments (TI) set up a R&D facility here. TI’s presence attracted the attention of global IT majors like Intel and IBM in the early 1990s. Another milestone was in 1992, when the DoT set up satellite earth stations for high-speed communication.
Also the Y2K problem, which had the potential to affect computers worldwide helped to bring the city into sharp focus and ride the IT boom like never before. The world class IT Park developed in Whitefield called the International Technology Park Limited was another significant step. Today, all IT majors have a presence in Bangalore with statistics showing that of the 871 MNCs which have set up R&D centres in India, over 700 are located in Bangalore. Clearly, Bangalore has evolved an edge over other IT cities like Pune, Hyderabad and Chennai — besides the National Capital Region that comprises the areas around New Delhi.
Bangalore or Bengaluru is rightly called as the Silicon Valley of India. The reason is pretty clear. The city houses a host of information technology companies that are the pioneering organizations within the country. Bangalore takes pride in showing directions to the rest of the country and the IT revolution of India started its glorious sojourn from here only. The IT offices here are more like a galaxy of stars. The IT industry of Bangalore is divided into two main parts, Electronics City and Whitefield.
There are few other clusters in Bellandur and Challaghatta that have bordered the main city of Bangalore. Electronics City is on the southern part of the city. It was formed long back in 1978. Top IT companies of India like Infosys and Wipro have their head-offices here. On the other hand, Whitefield was formed as a joint venture of India and Singapore in 1994. it is a home for many IT giants like SAP, Dell, Huawei and Oracle. The ring road of Challaghatta is the cluster of several eminent companies like BPL, Sanyo, PSI Data, Target, Synergy etc.
Accenture, Intel, Cisco, Nokia have their offices in Bellandur Outer Ring Road. With the new millennium starting, the internet based technologies came out with a hope for a better future. It resulted in the dotcom boom that has made the city an outsource hub. In fact, western media have proclaimed several times that Bangalore or Bengaluru is the second Silicon Valley. The city still lacks proper infrastructure and basic amenities to some extent. But the government of India is keen on this matter and the area is the most promising IT zone of the country n
Courtney from Study Moose
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