Special IT package for underdeveloped Indian regions

Friday, 20 September 2002, 07:00 Hrs
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PATNA: A Rs 100-150 billion package to spread information technology in underdeveloped areas of northern and eastern India is in the offing, said a federal minister.

Minister of State for Communications and IT Sanjay Paswan said the package aims to spread the IT network across the economically backward regions in eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, northern West Bengal and western Orissa.

"We have started surveying for opening IT centres in the most underdeveloped pockets and work would begin soon," Paswan said.

So far IT development has been more or less synonymous with the southern hubs of Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and, of late, Kochi.

"We have chosen Bihar to begin with because the state has remained far behind in IT compared with even its neighbours Orissa and West Bengal," Paswan said in the Bihar capital.

"In the first phase, we have chosen to open centres of excellence for IT in five old varsities -- the Bihar, Mithila Bhagalpur, Magadh and Patna universities."

He said that his ministry has identified North Bengal University in West Bengal and the Sambhalpur University in Orissa for similar centres.

Paswan said the government would provide between 100-150 billion for the special IT package.

He said was he happy that Chief Minister Rabri Devi and her husband Laloo Prasad Yadav, the head of Bihar's ruling Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), were cooperating with his ministry to develop IT in this state.

"It is good news for all of us that the Bihar government is going ahead with its plan to set up a Software Technology Park (STP) in Patna. This STP will come up by November or December this year," Paswan said.

He disclosed that the government would open another software park in the Bihar capital. "The second STP will be wholly funded by the central government and work on it will begin by the end of this year."

A late entrant in the IT race, Bihar has lately launched several projects to promote the use of computers and increase access to the information superhighway.

The state plans to computerize all its 9,000 village councils and will give laptop computers to its 243 assembly legislators to help them become more efficient.

Source: IANS
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