Kolkata’s Tech Hurdles
In the ever-evolving landscape of India’s technology sector, cities like Bengaluru and Hyderabad have established themselves as prominent tech hubs, attracting global attention and investment. Nestled in the cultural heart of India, Kolkata, a city known for its rich history and vibrant arts, stands at a crossroads. So , let us discuss why Kolkata lacks in the Tech front Hub lists.
Amidst the rapid technological evolution transforming India into a global IT powerhouse, Kolkata presents a unique conundrum. Kolkata, despite its rich cultural heritage and strong intellectual history, has struggled to emulate this success. While its counterparts like Bengaluru and Hyderabad soar high in the tech skies, Kolkata seems to hover, reluctant yet aspiring.
In this deep dive, we unravel the complex tapestry of reasons that have kept this historical metropolis from blossoming into a tech hub, despite its potential. From the nuances of investor sentiments to the infrastructural intricacies, join us as we explore why Kolkata, the City of Joy, has yet to fully embrace the joyous revolution of technology.
Why Kolkata is lagging behind?
Kolkata faces several challenges that contribute to its lagging behind other major metro cities in India. Some key reasons include:
- Industrial Decline: Kolkata’s traditional industries, such as jute and manufacturing, have faced a decline, leading to limited economic growth.
- Infrastructure Issues: The city’s infrastructure, including roads and public transportation, needs significant improvement to meet the demands of its growing population. Read a report from News 18 on it
- Economic Factors: Kolkata has lower per capita income compared to cities like Mumbai and Delhi, affecting overall development. Read a report from Mitsui and Co.
- Limited Investment: The city has attracted less foreign investment compared to other metros, impacting its economic growth.
- Political Factors: Historical political factors have affected the city’s development and governance. Read Tata Nano Singur controversy
Addressing these challenges through strategic investments in infrastructure, encouraging business growth, and promoting economic development could help Kolkata catch up with other metro cities.
Reasons why Kolkata cannot become a tech hub like Bengaluru or Hyderabad?
Here are 10 reasons why Kolkata has not become a tech hub like Bengaluru or Hyderabad:
- Limited Startup Funding: Kolkata ranked 14th among cities for startup funding in the first half of 2017, indicating a lower level of entrepreneurial activity compared to tech hubs like Bengaluru or Hyderabad.
- Lower Foreign Investment: Kolkata received only a small fraction (1.3%) of British businesses’ investment in India from 2000-2016, highlighting a lack of international investment appeal. Read the related interesting fact
- Infrastructure and Amenities: The social infrastructure in Kolkata, crucial for IT industry employees, has been less developed compared to other tech hubs. Amenities like housing, educational institutions, and lifestyle options are vital for attracting and retaining tech talent.
- Government Support and Incentives: In comparison to Bengaluru and Hyderabad, Kolkata has lacked aggressive government support and incentives for the IT sector. Telangana and Karnataka governments have offered various incentives like land allotments, tax benefits, and infrastructure support which have been pivotal in their growth as IT hubs.
- Perception and Branding Issues: Kolkata faces a perception gap even among its diaspora, affecting its ability to attract investment and talent. This is in contrast to the strong international branding of Bengaluru and Hyderabad as major IT destinations.
- Concentration of Tech Talent: Hyderabad and Bengaluru have a higher concentration of tech talent, thanks to their established IT infrastructure and ecosystems, which Kolkata has struggled to match.
- Cost of Operations and Real Estate: The cost of operations, including real estate, is a critical factor in the growth of IT hubs. Cities like Hyderabad offer a significant cost advantage over Kolkata in these areas.
- Decentralization of IT Sector: The IT industry in India is decentralizing to include tier-2 and tier-3 cities, but Kolkata hasn’t been a significant beneficiary of this trend, unlike newer destinations that are emerging as tech hubs.
- Cultural and Historical Orientation: Kolkata’s strong cultural and historical orientation, while enriching in many ways, has not been conducive to fostering a tech-driven entrepreneurial culture, unlike the more tech-centric cultures of Bengaluru and Hyderabad.
- Lack of Specialized IT Educational Infrastructure: Although Kolkata has prestigious educational institutions, it lacks a concentrated ecosystem of tech-focused educational institutions compared to Bengaluru and Hyderabad, which affects the local availability of highly skilled tech talent.
While Kolkata is a city with immense potential, its development as a tech hub has been hindered by factors such as limited startup funding, lower levels of foreign investment, infrastructural challenges, lesser government incentives, perception issues, a lower concentration of tech talent, higher operation costs, and a cultural orientation that is less focused on technology and entrepreneurship.
Kolkata’s Crossroads: Charting a Future in India’s Tech Odyssey
As we conclude our exploration, it becomes evident that Kolkata’s journey towards becoming a tech hub is not just a path untraded but a mosaic of unrealized potential and challenges. This city, steeped in cultural richness and intellectual prowess, stands at a pivotal crossroads. It’s a tale of contrasts—where traditional charm meets modern aspirations, where potential awaits its full expression. The road ahead for Kolkata requires a harmonious blend of strategic policy-making, infrastructural upgrades, and a cultural shift towards embracing technological innovation.
As Kolkata gradually bridges the gap, there’s hope that this City of Joy will soon find its joyous rhythm in the symphony of India’s tech progress, illuminating its own unique legacy in the digital era. The future, indeed, holds a promise, and Kolkata’s story in India’s tech odyssey is far from over—it’s just awaiting its next captivating chapter.