Mumbai Is The Birthplace Of IT Evolution: Industry Expert

Software exports commenced in Mumbai’s Seepz area with the establishment of the first export processing zones, this led companies to flock to Mumbai.

Mumbai Is The Birthplace Of IT Evolution: Industry Expert

Ashank Desai, Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Mastek, a software company, hails from the illustrious academic institutions that include the likes of IIT Bombay and IIM Ahmedabad. Apart from his expertise in the entrepreneurial realm, Desai is also actively involved in the social space wherein he has undertaken trailblazing measures for girls from low-income groups among others.

During his conversation on Mumbai Charcha, Desai shared that his relationship with Mumbai stems not just from IIT-Bombay, but also from his job. He said, “This is the city where you can make your future happen, this is a place of dreams”.

However, while Mumbai opens doors of all kinds, Desai believes that the city’s lure is fading because other cities are competing to put their best foot forward. He elaborated on how back in the 70s the island city was home to clean air, less vehicular congestion and noise. This juxtaposed to the situation now is the stark opposite with traffic and pollution.

On the other hand, back in the days, Desai claims that there were fewer opportunities with a dearth of IT and financial services companies, absence of family encouragement, lack of social support and opposed union movement. Now, the tables have turned with Mumbai being compared with global cities with the society valuing entrepreneurs.

Further elucidating his entrepreneurial journey, he went on to highlight that the birthplace of IT evolution is Mumbai. Software exports commenced in Mumbai’s Seepz area with the establishment of the first export processing zones, this led companies to flock to Mumbai.

“Mumbai couldn’t continue being number one because other governments were taking efforts to lure these companies and were proactively pursuing it. The weather, other factors such as the moving of one company led to a snowball effect, resulting in others to move as well”, Desai remarked.

Therefore, the government of Maharashtra decided to promote Pune. “The Navi Mumbai to Pune section will become an industrial corridor owing to new infrastructure projects such as the airport and the MTHL which will be the catalyst to make this happen”, Desai uttered.

With infrastructure projects propelling business advancements in Mumbai, Desai strongly believes that corporates also have a job to play. This is done, he says, through the creation of jobs that influence the city.

Apart from being back supporters, enterprises pay taxes to the city, in addition to creating jobs of high calibre. These businesses become the centre of gravity with financial transactions, global citizens and corporations coming to Mumbai, highlighted Desai. Taxes paid by corporations are used by the civic body for the betterment of Mumbai by enhancing the water and power situation, amongst other infrastructure positives for wealth creation.

Taking into account all these businesses, Desai recommends methods by which Mumbai can make it easier for young entrepreneurs. He hopes that obstacles such as the high cost and slow speed of running a business here are dealt with.

In addition to this, he is of the opinion that talent is required. “Other cities have technology parks, but this is difficult in Mumbai because of the cost. But there should be parks near IIT-Bombay, similar to that of Silicon Valley”, Desai mentioned. 

To this end, he expects joint efforts from the government, corporates and non-corporates. “Corporates should be more active, give back to society in terms of education and help apart from money”, cited Desai.

From a change in mindset and removal of assumptions to ameliorated social contribution and vision, these are some of the hopes that Desai has.

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