How Bangalore became the Silicon Valley of India
Bangalore is dubbed as the “Silicon Valley of India.” The name is justified with the evolving status of Bangalore to be the hub for IT (Information Technology) in India. IT firms in Bangalore employ about 35% of India’s pool of 2.5 million IT professionals and account for the highest IT-related exports in the country.
If we look at the analysis or the reasons for such a growth in the field of information technology, it is because the city Bangalore is mostly out of reach from the nation’s biggest rivals, China and Pakistan and hence the central government invests heavily in Bangalore’s public sector industries. Another reason is the favourable climate of the city. Bangalore has one of the nicest climates in India — neither too hot nor too cold. At a time when computers were sensitive to heat and dust, this was very important. The climate factor motivated Sir Ramsey who suggested Bangalore to be the location of the major research university that the then Viceroy Lord Curzon was planning to build. Given the favourable climate, long distance from Pakistan/China [so that it doesn’t get easily hit in a war] and the research core built by IISc, independent India’s government built a variety of labs and institutes related to defense and space research. These attracted the best of minds to the city.
The Electronics City was the brainchild of R. K. Baliga, the first Chairman and Managing Director Karnataka State Electronics Development Corporation, a government owned agency aimed at expanding the electronics industry in the state of Karnataka established in 1976. Baliga proposed the concept of developing the electronic city in the 1970s. The agency purchased 335 acres (1.36 km2) of land 18 km south of Bangalore for its Electronics City project, which was meant to establish an industrial park in Bangalore. In the early 1980s, Narayana Murthy & friends moved from Pune to build Infosys in the city closer to his hometown in Kolar. Wipro too moved to Bangalore that time to build their software business. Around that time, Texas Instruments (TI) was looking to setup the overseas development center in India. The decision was due to the number of Indians joining the company in US. India was an attractive destination as it had a good pool of engineers who were available at nearly one-fifth of US salaries. They initially tried to setup office in Mumbai and Chennai but they received bureaucratic hurdles at both places. Then they approached Karnataka and were treated quite differently. The CM of Karnataka at that time, R. Gundu Rao physically received the delegation at the airport. The entry of the Texas Instruments, the first MNC, which was set up in the year 1985 in Sona Tower, Bangalore marked the beginning of the growth and development of the software industries. In 1989, when GE’s Jack Welch was in India to sell airplanes to the government, Indian government’s policy guru arm-twisted him to setup an office in India as a return favor. GE found Wipro’s Premji to be quite trustworthy and thus setup their shop there. In India’s Outsourcing Boom, GE Played a Starring Role. Once GE setup in Bangalore, it got into the international business radar and a variety of companies were formed around that core. TI’s presence attracted the attention of global IT majors like Intel and IBM in the early 1990s. The turn of the millennium witnessed the growth of internet based technologies which resulted in the dotcom boom. Bangalore’s IT industry grew during this period with the establishment of local and foreign IT companies.
All these factors taken together give rise to the rampant growth and development of the IT hub of India. Today, the city has grown to be a conglomerate of several IT companies in India such as HP, Accenture, Dell, IBM, Cisco and many more. The superb infrastructure coupled with the positive attitude of the Indian youth and the technological flair as well as the quality education, skilled professionals contribute to the progress of the city as the heart of the Information Technology of the nation.