Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Times of India says: Sanjay Dasgupta breathes his last

Sanjay Dasgupta, Karnataka’s first IT secretary, died in Bangalore on Tuesday following a cardiac arrest. He was 51. He was the brain behind putting Karnataka on the IT map. After his tenure at the IT department, Dasgupta went on to head the State Tourism department and was later on deputation as the chief of Action Aid, an NGO.

When Karnataka was taking its first tentative steps in creating a global brand in IT in 1998, it created the post of a secretary, empowering him with a role to attract investors. Sanjay Dasgupta was picked for the job.

As new secretary, Information Technology and CMD, Karnataka State Electronics Development Corporation (Keonics), Dasgupta declared that the government would pull out all stops to retain Bangalore as the premier location for the IT industry. He then set up a technical support group that was entrusted with the day-today task of addressing the industry’s problems.

A definite sign of Dasgupta’s creativity is ensconsed in Bangalore’s annual IT carnival BangaloreIT.com which became India’s only pre-eminent tech show. “We were chatting one day and he (Dasgupta) came up with this idea,’’ recalls STPI’s B V Naidu.

It was during his tenure that special attention was paid to hardware. This, when 50,000 software engineers passed out from campuses as against a mere 500 in hardware.

“It is necessary to set right the imbalance immediately and we should set up of an exclusive zone for this sector,’’ he had said seven years ago. But the initiative is yet to take off.

In 1999, Dasgupta also mooted a school for internet studies as well as one for IT entrepreneurship in conjunction with giants like IBM. Software exports originating from Bangalore had then crossed Rs 1,700 crore, a 73% increase from the previous year’s Rs 980 crore and Bangalore alone had accounted for 57% of the national software exports.

“He was more of a visionary, a person who worked on concepts. And, this was when IT was just beginning to take off here. He was not the typical bureaucrat who followed the trodden path but came up with ideas that were way ahead of our times,’’ says Vivek Kulkarni, former Karnataka IT secretary, who succeeded him both as the Special Department Commissioner in Karwar and later as the IT secretary of the state.

After his tenure at the IT department, Dasgupta went on to head the State Tourism department and was later on deputation as the chief of Action Aid, an NGO.

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