India's new IT CEO takes charge

By siliconindia staff writer   |   Thursday, 27 May 2004, 07:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: The minister for communications and information technology, 37-year-old Dayanidhi Maran, took charge on Wednesday armed with a 10-point programme for IT that promises to fill all the gaps that the software-export oriented industry has not.

His agenda includes ushering in convergence technologies, broadband connectivity , leap-frogging to 4G mobile wireless (allowing high quality smooth video transmission), a national internet exchange, migration to next generation internet protocol IPV6 by 2006, promotion of digital signatures in the financial sector, and R&D — to make India the outsourcing hub, to boost language computing, as well as to prop up Media Lab Asia programmes.

Topping his agenda is increasing the PC penetration and bringing “cyber connectivity” to every citizen. This would provide a platform to achieve convergence of information, communication and media technologies as well as citizen-centric government services. At present, PC penetration in India is below 10 for 1,000 people while internet subscription is below the two million mark. Development of a low-cost PC and other communication devices under the Media Lab Asia project is proposed to help increase PC and Net penetration.

Asked if he would re-introduce the Communication Convergence Bill, Maran said a decision was yet to be taken and that there were several issues to be taken care of in the proposed legislation. When prodded, he specified “the existing Bill talks of data, voice and video on a single platform — there is some disturbance on this approach and it would have to be looked into.”

Maran however declined to comment on the I&B minister Jaipal Reddy’s decision to set up a separate regulatory authority for broadcasting. Backing the on-going efforts of the DIT and TRAI to provide an enabling framework for broadband, he said “providing broadband connectivity to all, at the most reasonable prices would be a priority.”

Comfortable with tech-jargon, Maran also announced a National Centre for Excellence to develop 4G technology.

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