Entrepreneurs unhappy with choice of Karnataka's IT minister

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Karnataka IT minister SR Patil

Bangalore:  Questions are being raised over the allocation of portfolios in the newly-formed Karnataka cabinet. And it isn't senior politicians or party workers but entrepreneurs who have expressed their disappointment over the appointment of senior Congressman SR Patil as the minister who will oversee the high-profile Information Technology and Biotechnology or IT/BT department.

Mohandas Pai, formerly with IT giant Infosys, tweeted, "Surprised at choice of minister for IT/BT for Karnataka. Need a person who can work with global companies and lot younger. Sad day for us."

His views were backed by Biocon chief Kiran Mazumdar Shaw who responded on the social networking site, saying, "@MDPai05  Agree with your view - CM can't afford to be seen to be viewing IT/BT lightly - These are priority sectors for Karnataka."

Mr Pai, though, clarified that there was no personal agenda involved in his objection to the choice of the minister. "I think he has done very well for himself, a wonderful person. But IT/BT requires a very different kind of person... who can go and talk to global CEOs, travel round the world, meet heads of government... When I meet the chief minister, I am going to raise it with him," he told NDTV.

65-year-old Mr Patil, a science and law graduate from Bagalkot in north Karnataka, said he will meet industry leaders to address their concerns.

"They should have some patience... I may be aged about 65 years but my mind and heart are young, very young. Younger than young people!" he told NDTV. The minister also pointed out that veteran Congressman SM Krishna was much older when he was credited with helping the IT industry as chief minister of Karnataka.

Mr Patil also said he has plans to spread the use of information technology around the state - and not just in big cities - and use it to improve the standard of living of the common man.



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