Bangalore IT expo starts on subdued note


Bangalore : The tenth edition of Bangalore, arguably Asia’s biggest technology expo, got underway Monday on a restrained note due to the political crisis in Karnataka.

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In the absence of an executive government and the IT-savvy state under President’s rule, Karnataka Governor Rameshwar Thakur inaugurated the four-day technology event at Bangalore International Exhibition Centre on the outskirts of the city.

Although Communications and IT Minister A.Raja was invited to be chief guest at the inauguration, he was conspicuous by his absence. The honours went to West Bengal IT minister Debesh Das at the last minute.

The shifting of the venue from central Bangalore to the outskirts also affected attendance of visitors.

“It is for the first time such a major IT event is being unveiled by a governor due to the political vacuum in the state. Incidentally, shifting the event, also for the first time, from Bangalore Palace grounds in the heart of the city to the outskirts has kept lay people away from the venue due to inadequate public transport and traffic snarls en-route,” Prem Kumar, a software engineer who has been attending the trade fair over the years, told IANS at the venue.

Robbed off the pomp and fanfare with which the mega event has been associated in the past, the first day turned out to be merely ceremonial. The presence of overseas delegations from about 20 countries and aggressive participation by competitive states was the saving grace.

According to state IT secretary M.N. Vidyashankar, about 200 foreign and Indian IT firms are participating in the exposition to showcase products and services.

“The event, comprising exhibition and concurrent conferences, is showcasing Bangalore as the ICT (internet and communications technologies) gateway to Asia. Delegations from Australia, Britain, Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Russia, Singapore and Taiwan are among the international participants exploring business opportunities at the fair,” said Vidyashankar.

About 1,000 delegates have registered for the conferences and brainstorming sessions, including 18 parallel tracks, five keynote addresses and five power panel discussions.

In the run-up to the event, hosted by the state IT department in association with the Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) and CyberMedia, a rural IT quiz was held across the state to promote use of ICT and empower rural youth with the power of IT.

About 1.2 million students participated in the quiz held at 130 locations across the state.