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August 26, 1998


Naidu opens the conferences and exhibition

Madhuri Velegar K at Pragati Maidan

Email this story to a friend. Back to IIW coverage index. He came dressed in a spiffy raw silk shirt and trousers and leather chappals, holding a laptop. N Chandrababu Naidu, dubbed the only technocrat-politician by the Indian industry, was the star inaugurator of the India Internet World '98 conference and exhibition here this morning.

Pradeep Kar, director and chairman, Microland, believes that Naidu would be the "perfect interface to discuss the evolution of the Internet and the role of the Indian government" when it all happens.

Quoting Kennedy: "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country," he said "I am telling all the people of Andhra Pradesh to begin doing their bit to help improve the environment and the workplace to make things move more efficiently."

In a rapid presentation that lasted 45 minutes, Naidu said he is working to bring about a: "SMART government: Simple, moral, accountable, responsive and transparent. I would like to create a direct interface between the government and the citizens. Today, if the citizen wants to meet the chief minister, there are at least eleven senior secretaries, principal secretaries to meet, not to mention various deputy directors under them. The Internet will allow us to do away with the middleman. This is part of my Vision 2020 initiative."

Naidu elaborated on the numerous projects that his state government is involved in to leverage his government with other global competing players. "We've begun a pilot study, which will be officially launched in December this year. It offers a one-stop non-stop service, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in 30 departments of Hyderabad. We have an MoU with Singapore Network Services for this study where utility payments, permits and licenses and information are provided non-stop to customers.

"In another joint venture with Singapore Network Services, we hope to give value added services through the Internet. Tourist information, airline and train reservations, with links to hotels and hostels, tele-schools and so on.

"We hope to have digitisation of all Acts, all government orders would be made available on the Internet, a tele-tracking system for our files etc would change the face of how the Indian government will think and operate."

Naidu has a four pronged attack in line:

  • IT and infrastructure (The Hi-Tec City project in Hyderabad is almost ready with 80 per cent occupancy).
  • IT and education (Achieve computerisation at the grassroots level and have committees that will see to the upgradation of the PCs in village schools and in colleges and high schools).
  • IT and the government (Improve the government-citizen interface and efficiency) and
  • IT and the private sector (Ask industrialists and corporations to adopt IT, use the Internet to improve efficiency).

Naidu shared his experience of personally meeting the World Bank chief despite his opinion that AP was a poor and economically backward community.

"He saw the plans I proposed and we managed to receive around Rs 100 billion within the next two years to complete all these projects."

Naidu also bulldozed his way to meet Microsoft CEO Bill Gates when he was in India. "That's why he has put up a Microsoft office in Hyderabad," the chief minister explained.

The chief minister also rattled off statistics about the use of the Internet in the US: "Business-to-business e-commerce in the US is expected to touch $327 billion by 2003."

He hopes to have AP connected by fibre-optic cabling by the next millennium. One of the participating delegates was heard murmuring that "It's still talk, where is the money and where is the access? But then again if a man of his stature believes in the Internet in the new millennium, we may still have hope."

Back to IIW coverage index. Kar presented the chief minister with a trophy after which both of them made a brisk tour of the high-tech stalls with a battery of photographers clicking away.

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