With a population of 1.3 billion and the presence of 75 percent of with world’s IT companies – including Amazon, LG, Microsoft, Panasonic and Samsung – India’s immense size provides great opportunities as well as challenges. It makes perfect sense that the IT service industry in India is rapidly expanding. According to research group McKinsey, India is digitizing activities at a faster pace than many mature and emerging economies.
By 2023, India will have 700 million smartphones and about 800 million internet users. At the same time, environmentally responsible e-waste disposal remains a concern. India is the world’s third largest e-waste generator, with 3.2 metric tonnes created in 2019. To make its digital growth sustainable, India’s IT industry and government will need to continue addressing issues associated with sustainable management of electronic waste disposal.
India’s IT services industry makes up 18.5 percent of the world’s total IT spend, and around eight percent of the country’s GDP. That number is projected to grow as major industries focus on business continuity and digital maturity. Despite the impact of COVID-19, the industry’s value is estimated to reach $13.4 billion by the end of 2024. Inevitably, this growth will lead to more hardware in use which, over time, will need to be sustainably reused or recycled.
This growth mirrors the increased demand for cloud storage which can be attributed to increased internet usage, private sector investment in big data, IoT and artificial intelligence, and public sector legislation.
To secure that data, recent legislation now requires businesses to store and process “sensitive personal data” within India, and that data is being stored in the cloud. State governments are also offering tax incentives for digital investments and to encourage data center building. As a result, the data center market is rapidly expanding, as are the facilities and hardware needed to power the growth.
Colocation centers are already common across India. Local companies like Yotta Infrastructure, NTT-Netmagic, STT GDC India and Sify Data Centres have a large presence, and international operators including Equinix, are quickly entering the market. Increases in hyperscale data center development is on the horizon. With exploding internet usage and low-power tariffs combined with the rollout of a 5G network in major cities, over two dozen hyperscale data centers are projected to open in the next three years; primarily in Mumbai, Chennai and Bengaluru in the south, and Delhi in the north. Operated by global companies, these data centers will be working to provide the type of consistent service required by those operating across the world. Likewise, they will need operate to corporate compliance requirements.
Bengaluru is known as the “Silicon Valley of India”. Infosys and Wipro, two of the country’s largest IT companies, are based there and international IT companies also have a heavy presence in Bengaluru. These include Amazon, Cognizant, Capgemini, Cisco, Dell, Oracle and SAP. With their strong emphasis on compliance, these companies can help drive India’s push toward responsible lifecycle management.
Despite significant progress being made in responsible reuse and recycling nearly 80 percent of India’s e-waste is still processed by an unregulated informal sector. For a decade, legislation has been in place mandating that e-waste collection must only be performed by authorized recyclers. E-waste (Management) Rules, 2016 strengthened Extended Producer Responsibility provisions. But many authorized recyclers still have limited processing capacity and ability to maximize reuse through the waste value chain. Reuse is the truest form of recycling, so it will be critical in ensuring that digital growth is sustainable.
With sites in the north and south (Bengaluru and New Delhi, respectively) SLS can provide on-site services and efficient logistics solutions at offices and data centers across India. Our secure processing facilities operates to ISO9001, ISO14001 and ISO45001 management standards for quality, environment and health, and ensure the secure, standardized and sustainable management of IT, cloud and electronic equipment. We are poised to meet the challenge of India’s growing It and data center markets for local and global companies alike.