IT major Infosys has paid another Rs 50 crore for the Rajarhat land, sending out signals that the company is keen to have its footprint in Bengal.
State urban development minister Firhad Hakim broke the news in the Assembly on Saturday while participating in a debate on the West Bengal Municipal Corporation(Amendment) Bill, 2016. The bill passed in the assembly provides a maximum 50% exemption in property tax for land or building used exclusively for IT industry and IT-enabled services for a period of 12 years.
“Infosys is coming to New Town. The company has paid Rs 50 crore to Hidco. This is not all. IT majors Wipro and IBM have sought land as part of their expansion plan. Cognizant also has similar plans. TCS is setting up the country’s tallest building that has a seating arrangement for 40,000 people,” the state urban development minister said. Cognizant has already purchased a portion of land allotted to Shapoorji & Pallonji & Company in Rajarhat.
When asked if the sop on property tax is an attraction for IT majors, the minister said: “It is up to the IT firms to say. I believe that granting higher FARs for buildings housing IT industry and also the sop on property tax may have played a positive role,” the state urban development minister said.
The development marks a turnaround from the situation a year ago when Infosys had asked the Mamata Banerjee government for SEZ status or return Rs 75 crore it had paid to the government for Rajarhat land.
While the minister didn’t elaborate on the factors behind the development, sources close to the department hinted that Infosys wasn’t stubborn on its SEZ demand anymore. Instead, the IT major was looking for alternative sops, particularly after the model GST Bill passed in Parliament isn’t very clear on whether the tax sops granted to SEZs would continue in the GST regime.
The state urban development department’s granting property tax sops to IT and IT-enabled services (ITeS) industry may have come as an incentive to the IT majors that have started making plans for Bengal. For instance, 50% property tax exemption for a period of 12 years is a major incentive for firms in Bengal even if they don’t get the SEZ tag.
Source: Times of india