In a month, the Maharashtra government will release a data centre strategy, a senior official announced on Thursday. According to the official, the state already has a thorough policy governing the information technology sector, under which data centres currently operate. However, given the extremely rapid growth of data centres and the policy’s lag behind the industry, it was felt that a separate policy specifically for the data centres industry was necessary.
The official responded that the industries department, under Uday Samant, is leading the policy’s formulation and that the document will be released in 30 days in response to a question regarding the timing for the publication of such a policy.
A joint secretary to the government and officer on special duty for deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, Kaustubh Dhavse, said that such a strategy will be highly beneficial for the sector’s orderly growth while speaking at an event sponsored by the industry lobbying group CII.
“This government will provide an adequate, optimal policy for data centres, which is beneficial to the citizens and enables the entrepreneurs and the ecosystem,” Dhavse said.
He claimed that the proposed policy will emphasise green and sustainable energy in order to alleviate the electricity crisis. The state government’s energy portfolio is also held by Fadnavis.
According to Dhavse, there are a lot of unanswered questions and “questionable operators” in the data centre industry that need to be investigated.
He agreed that some areas of the Goods and Services Tax issues need more clarification and that the administration has been made aware of some challenging issues pertaining to the same. According to him, Maharashtra was one of the first states to migrate its data centres to the cloud. He also stated that in 2015, the state operated 75 large and small data centres and spent Rs 450 crore annually to expand, which was a “huge wake up call.”
The government met with several investors from Qatar earlier this week to discuss the possibility of using liquified natural gas (LNG) to meet the state’s energy demands, according to Dhavse. To prevent price swings, he said, imported LNG will need forward contracts for up to five years, unlike the common energy source coal, which may be mined locally.
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