Debating India


Aggressive in IT

Saturday 21 May 2005, by KRISHNAMOORTHY*Suresh

ANDHRA PRADESH is an aggressive player in the Information Technology market, striving as it does to preserve its premier position in the development of the IT industry.

Hyderabad has been the hub of the cyber revolution ever since Microsoft chairman Bill Gates chose the city to locate the only facility of Microsoft outside the United States. The creation of the high-tech facility "Cyber Towers" even earned the city the appellation Cyberabad.

The research and analysis company Gartner, in a December 2004 report titled "IT Outsourcing to India - Analysis of Cities", crowned Hyderabad the next IT hotspot, rating it as high on human resource, infrastructure and government support. A proactive State government is going full steam, aspiring to achieve a Rs.69,000-crore export turnover and direct employment to at least three lakh persons by way of software.

For this to happen, the State government needs to adopt some aggressive steps to attract investments in the IT industry and ensure the growth of local industry. This will enable the growth of Tier-II cities such as Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada. The government had earlier formed think tanks comprising members from industry, government and academia to chalk out action plans to make the State attractive to investors.

The inputs received from the think tanks and a careful consideration of the best global practices have led to the evolution of the government’s new Information Technology and Communication (ICT) Policy 2005-2010. The proposed policy, which is expected to take the State ahead by leaps on its implementation, is in tune with the government’s focus on transforming the State into a knowledge society and reaching the benefits of IT to all citizens at all economic levels.

In the process of becoming a knowledge society, Andhra Pradesh will be positioned to compete effectively to attract the global ICT industry. The State will leverage ICT to achieve an information-age government that will be inclusive, networked, fast, open, accountable, globally benchmarked and efficient. The announcements on ICT initiatives are documented under the broad sections of `e-governance’ and "investment promotions".

The salient features of the e-governance initiatives include an exclusive department - Andhra Pradesh Technology Services Limited (APTS) - to function as a specialised agency for all e-governance initiatives in the State, introduction of IT in all departments by developing the skills of the existing staff, and training for the Chief Information Officers by developing links with institutes such as the John F. Kennedy School of Governance in Harvard and the Civil Services College in Singapore.

In the e-governance pipeline are an inter-governmental inter-operability frame, taking into account global developments in evolving similar frameworks; a global information society (GIS) infrastructure; making available broadband connectivity with threshold widths of 10 Gbps (gigabits per second), 1 Gbps and 100/50 Mbps (megabits per second) at the district, mandal and village levels respectively; and the opening of the Rajiv Internet Villages providing G2C and B2C services and giving preference to members of self-help groups, especially women, to set up and run these kiosks.

In the specific area of poverty alleviation, the government is planning to launch IT for Alleviating Poverty (IT4AP) with focus on using ICT in key sectors such as irrigation, agriculture, education, health and rural development, all aimed at registering a significant impact on the poverty situation.

Smart cards and biometrics will be introduced for use in applications such as banking, retail payments, issue of driving licences; vehicle registration, Internet payments, issue of citizen’s identity card, e-governance, issue of ration cards, pension payments, maintenance of health records and the like, and covering the complete history of the citizen’s lifecycle.

The government plans to showcase its IT capabilities to bag the maximum share in IT and IT enabled services (ITES) industry with the focus on developing human resource, infrastructure, capital and incentives. These include APInvest, a special vehicle to identify potential investors and present the State’s value proposition.

See online : Frontline


Volume 22 - Issue 11, May 21 - Jun. 03, 2005

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