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Electronic city of Bengaluru, Karnataka: Silicon valley and The Capital of World Outsourcing


Which city is known as electronic city of india?

What is the Electronic City Bengaluru Karnataka? Somewhere, the neologism "to bangalore / bangalored" appeared in the English language. Internet dictionaries quite unambiguously decipher its meaning: to outsource (an employee, position, or function) to India, especially to Bangalore. We are talking about the practice when American and European companies fired their IT specialists or refused the services of local contractors to save money by outsourcing IT tasks to India.

In most cases, when "ubangaloreniya" geographically, the order was sent to the city of Bangalore, the capital of the South Indian state of Karnataka, lying in the southeast of the Deccan plateau. As Chinese Zhongguancun, Bangalore (Bengaluru) claims to be the "Silicon Valley of Asia". And it certainly is an analogue of the California Valley for the entire Indian subcontinent. Well, for its location on the Deccan Plateau, its alternative and unique name was “silicon plateau”.

In many ways, it was the concentration of IT companies, coupled with the Indian aerospace industry and biotechnology, that led to the transformation of what was once a small city into the third most populous metropolis in India. Now about half of all Indian startups “live” in it, and the country owes 38% of its IT exports to it (2020 data).

electronic city bengaluru karnataka

Electronic City Bengaluru Karnataka

In terms of the number (23 as of 2022) of unicorn companies in the information field, Bangalore is in sixth place in the world after Greater San Francisco (with the cities of the Valley), New York, Beijing (with Zhongguancun), London and Shanghai. Headquarters of the largest Indian IT companies such as Infosys, Wipro, Mindtree, Mphasis, Flipkart, Myntra are concentrated in the main IT quarter with the speaking name Electronic City and several other districts on the southern and eastern outskirts of Bangalore. As well as representative offices of global information corporations of the West and East, and countless contractor companies and start-ups.

The Californian Silicon Valley, due to the picturesque landscape between the mountains and the bay, low-rise buildings and “spreading” over a vast space, does not look like the sleepless heart of global cyberpunk, but an idyllic southern resort. Chinese Zhongguancun with busy freeways, high-rise office buildings and glowing neon hieroglyphic inscriptions looks much more canonical in this regard. Indian Bangalore most accurately embodies the main slogan of cyberpunk: high tech low life. Here, not too far apart, you can see well-maintained and stylish IT offices and, uh, typical streets of a modern Indian city.

However, by the standards of the Indian subcontinent, Bangalore (Bengaluru) is an extremely comfortable and rich city. Indians from other states and foreigners accustomed to life in the rest of India are surprised by this. It is no coincidence that Bangalore holds the first place in terms of quality of life among all Indian cities with a population of more than a million people. When in Mumbai up to half of all city dwellers were considered living below the poverty line as slum dwellers, in Bangalore only one in ten was so. At the same time, in Bangalore, due to the increased "intelligence" of the inhabitants, they are considered indecent and there are relatively rare manifestations of demonstrative personal and family wealth in the "doroho-bahato" genre, popular in other cities and states of India.

konappana agrahara electronic city bengaluru karnataka

However, the level of development of urban and transport infrastructure still leaves much to be desired. This is largely due to the fact that Bangalore, with its 8.5 million inhabitants, is not the largest share of the population of the entire state of Karnataka: according to the 2011 census of the year (later data is not available), more than 60 million people lived in it, now this figure is probably closer to 70 million (half the population of Russia, say, or plus or minus the population of France or the UK).

The politicians of the state are forced to listen first of all to their conservative rural voters, who, according to tradition, are not too fond of "snickering urban", especially "overly progressive and godless" IT people and "come in large numbers" from other states. In particular, because of this, the Bangalore elevated metro system has degraded, which runs so slowly and sadly that it has become a local meme. And in general, the living environment even in the “profile” IT quarters is such that local IT specialists are even forced to organize subbotniks on their own initiative in order to personally (and free of charge) bring the streets around them into a more decent look. The rest of the residents are usually "and so the rules." However, against the background of other Indian cities, Bangalore looks like Switzerland compared to Romania, there are enough clean streets in places, and even landscape design.

But why did the main hub of the Indian IT sphere appear in this place, Electronic city of Bengaluru?

Bangalore developed from the fortress of the principality of Mysore (on whose lands the state of Karnataka is now located) into a full-fledged city in those days when, after four difficult wars, the British colonialists managed to defeat the powerful Mysore Maharajas. In Bangalore, they set up a large military base, next to which, outside the old fortress, residential areas began to grow. Growth accelerated greatly after the advent of the railway and telegraph, then the telephone line, water supply, and Bangalore was the first city in India to receive electricity.

electronic city

The efforts of the colonial authorities to improve Bangalore were caused not so much by concern for the local population as by the fact that Bangalore had a surprisingly mild climate for India. Due to its location on the southeastern edge of the Deccan Plateau, winds constantly blow here, dispelling the stifling heat characteristic of most other Indian cities. There are no extremely low and high temperatures here, and even the monsoon rains of summer and autumn are relatively moderate. Because of this, Bangalore became a desirable place for retired colonial officials and officers who decided not to return to the metropolis, and more was done for the comfortable life of respected gentlemen than in other cities of the British Raja. However, significant efforts were also made by the authorities of the autonomous principality in the person of Maharaja Krishna Raja Vadiyar IV

In Bangalore already in 1886, the Bangalore University appeared, and in 1909, with the joint efforts of Indian industrial magnates, the Maharaja of Mysore and British scientists, the Indian Institute of Science, which to this day is considered the best or at least one of the best universities in the country. It was created quite deliberately as a center for training, first of all, engineering personnel for the development of various areas of India's own industry.

After India gained independence in 1947, the first national government of Jawaharlal Nehru decided to stake on Bangalore as the most important center for the development of science and technology. New universities, scientific centers, laboratories and polytechnic schools were created here. And then a man named Ram Krishna Baliga became interested in the scientific and technical potential of Bangalore.

IT Bangalore

He graduated from the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore with a degree in electrical engineering, after which he went to work in the United States for General Electric and Westinghouse for several years. In 1960 he returned to Karnataka as a professor at the Technological University of the coastal city of Manipal, and in 1961 he became chief engineer at Bharat Electronics, one of India's most important electronics manufacturers to this day.

Ram Krishna Baliga followed the trends in the electronics industry very closely, and already in the early 70s, as soon as the concept of “Silicon Valley” appeared in the press in relation to California, he came to the conclusion that it was necessary to create his own analogue in India. He named Bangalore as the optimal location for the project. The state government, after much debate, decided to support him, and in 1976 appointed him the head of the electronics development corporation in Karnataka (Keonics). Two years later, in two villages near the southeastern outskirts of Bangalore, Keonics officially opened the 332-acre Electronic City.

Alas, at first things in Electronic City of Bengaluru (Karnataka) went slowly and sadly, including due to the economic crisis that swept the Indian economy in the 80s. She was too crushed by protectionism, state regulation of everything and a huge public sector. Prime Minister Narasimha Rao's government's launch of sweeping market reforms and privatizations in 1991 not only breathed new life into the Indian economy, but also gradually transformed Electronic City from a semi-corpse into a booming center of the nation's electronics and IT sector, the heart of India's future Silicon Valley. . Alas, Ram Krishna Baliga himself did not see this, having died back in 1988.

In the 1990s, things were still not going very fast, since the national IT sector was still too small, and trained specialists preferred to leave to work in the USA or Europe at the first opportunity. However, by the end of the 90sthey began to return back with great experience and a desire to open their own business - and the center of their attraction was Bangalore, “just designed” for this, with its “electronic city”. Since the 2000s, India in general, and Bangalore in particular, began to confidently turn into a global center for IT outsourcing, offering services for a very modest fee. Of course, the quality was also lame, and it is no coincidence that the main meme of the 2000s about the work of Indian IT specialists was the aforementioned "Hindu code" not by nightfall.

electronic city of india

But time passed, experience accumulated, external and internal markets grew. For ten years in India, the Internet from a curiosity for the educated upper classes has become the daily life environment of the majority of the inhabitants of a country of almost one and a half billion people. And Bangalore, its Electronic City of Bengaluru (Karnataka) and all the new districts in the vicinity have turned into a full-fledged "silicon valley", one of the most important in the world, with all the features and possibilities: from the concentration of technical education centers to the financial environment for start-ups. Now hundreds of thousands of IT specialists work here, and the phrase about “Hindu code” can be applied to their products less and less.

However, there are also problems. For example, with the development of truly innovative start-ups, the situation in Bangalore is so-so: the majority prefer to "cut into" guaranteed profitable outsourcing for Western IT giants. But Bangalore has every chance to benefit from the ongoing political and economic confrontation between the United States and its allies with China. India is a very promising place for the relocation of production and IT outsourcing from the once “paradise” for these tasks of continental China to companies from the USA, the EU, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. Moreover, it is already reported that the Japanese are going to build a large factory for the production of microchips in Bangalore, and other players in this complex and extremely important field may follow their example.

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