Is brand Bangalore losing its sheen?


BANGALORE: Brand Bangalore is at some risk. But serious, coordinated action through a government-industry partnership, especially on infrastructure, can not only sustain the brand but also strengthen it to make it a leading global technology hub.

That was the opinion of the high-profile panel that was part of the CEO Conclave on 'Brand Bangalore — The Toast of IT', organised by the Karnataka government's IT department, in association with the Software Technology Parks of India and The Times of India on Monday.

S Gopalakrishnan, Infosys president and COO, was categorical that Brand Bangalore is losing its sheen. He cautioned that the gradual shift of companies out of Bangalore to other cities could gather steam, and "suddenly you will find job creation slowing down".

IIIT-B founder director S Sadagopan articulated the same feeling, arguing that people/investors frequently feel they are not wanted in Bangalore. Several panelists felt infrastructure is Bangalore's biggest bugbear.

"There's a lot to be done by the government on infrastructure," Ghanshyam Dass, MD (Asia Pacific) of Nasdaq Stock Market said.

A point echoed by Subex CMD Subhash Menon: "Infrastructure is needed. But the Karnataka government often does not have the attitude to do the right things."

Bob Kondamoori, MD, Sandalwood Capital Partners, felt the more important issue is to further build Bangalore's intellectual capital.

"Universities should pitch in more." Frank Jones, president of Intel India, expressed his frustration at having to spend an inordinate amount of resources to "manipulate" through red tape.

"We wish we could focus on our business," he said. Vivek Kulkarni, former Karnataka secretary and now CEO of Brickwork India, said companies should look at the option of setting up facilities in smaller cities in Karnataka.

"Many of these cities have necessary facilities. Belgaum even has a golf course." The discussion was moderated by H Balram, Resident Editor, The Times of India.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com - October 31, 2006