Kerala to create India's largest ITES initiative

Monday, 23 December 2002, 08:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: Kerala is set to roll out a major initiative that will see the largest workforce being trained for IT-enabled services (ITES) in India.

"The initiative will be launched in January that will enable Kerala to position itself as an ideal IT hub, taking advantage of fibre optic connectivity," Kerala IT secretary Aruna Sundararajan said.

"Kerala is one of the only two locations in India where both optic fibre submarine cables SEA-ME-WE-3 and SAT-3/WASC/SAFE converge, giving superb global connectivity," said Sundararajan.

The Kerala State IT Mission is fine-tuning a programme to create around 9,000 multipurpose community information centres through private initiative.

Known as Akshaya, this will see community information centres coming up within a two-km distance and serving around 600-700 families.

Akshaya's pilot project will commence in Malappuram in northern Kerala and Thiruvananthapuram in January. The entire state will be covered by May 2004.

All centres would Internet connections in order to form a robust network to guide and support people on e-governance initiatives, e-commerce and information dissemination.

"One person from each family will be trained to enable them to use a computer for day-to-day communication and information needs, including downloading information from the Internet," said Roy Mathew, head of the technology services and business development of the IT mission.

To ensure reliable services, Kerala is planning to set up a neutral carrier service and data processing centre in the commercial hub of Kochi.

"The centre would provide an aggregate bandwidth of different carriers and make available the required bandwidth to companies," said Shiv Shankar, director of the Kerala State IT Mission.

The project is being offered on a build-operate-transfer basis.

In August, Kerala signed a memorandum of association with US DataPort, a Silicon Valley-based global IT infrastructure development major, to set up a world-class carrier neutral facility at the Kinfra Information Technology Park at Kakkanad, Kochi.

US DataPort is to undertake modular development of a world class IT and ITES facility at Kochi to help companies in this field have access to high quality networking, computing and storage facilities.

Work on a 1.2-million-square-feet IT park at the Kinfra export promotion park in Kakkanad has commenced. The first phase is to be completed by August 2003.

Together with the community IT centres, Kerala is preparing a training module in collaboration with leading institutions to offer courses as part of the university curriculum.

"This will enable universities to train and attract graduate aspirants to fill the need for trained manpower requirement for Kerala to tap the business process outsourcing (BPO) potential," contended Shankar.

Kerala has the highest tele-density and penetration of optic fibre cable in the country.

An alliance with the British Council is being proposed to help students acquaint themselves with the finer nuances of the English language.

Said Sundararajan: "Focused training would be offered on various verticals like insurance, finance and retail among others. Additions will be made to the base training modules when required."

Kerala has meanwhile entrusted international consultants Ernst and Young with preparing the master plan and funding pattern of the second phase of the Thiruvananthapuram Technopark.
Source: IANS
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