Bihar to get priority in IT, communication

Tuesday, 25 May 2004, 07:00 Hrs
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PATNA: Bihar is set for a dramatic turnaround on the IT and communication front if a newly appointed central minister from the state has his way.

"It is only by spreading a communication and IT network in rural Bihar can the poor and downtrodden be helped," Minister of State for IT and Communication Shakeel Ahmad told IANS on the phone from Delhi.

Ahmad, a Congress MP from Madhubani, said his priority would be to bring up Bihar to the level of other states on the communications and IT fronts.

Ahmad, a medical practitioner, contended that the fruits of the IT and communication revolution should be shared by all.

"We have to set up more telephone exchanges and Internet networks in rural areas," he asserted.

The minister said he will try to make Internet access cheaper to benefit poor students across India.

Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi and her husband Lalu Prasad, the new railway minister, had earlier rubbished IT as "a tool of the elite", have now said this would be promoted in the state.

Rabri Devi, whose two sons-in-law are IT professionals, has announced that the 9,000 village councils in the state will be computerized and that laptops will be given to the state's 243 legislators.

Aided by a Delhi-based NGO, the Bihar government had earlier provided computer training to the inmates of Patna's Beur Jail.

It also spent 150 million on computerising select departments and updating records, particularly those related to land.

Source: IANS
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