Rediff Logo Infotech Banner Ads Find/Feedback/Site Index
May 22, 1998


The binary brigade

Email this story to a friend. The government sets up a national task force to draw up an informatics policy that will make India an IT superpower.

The government has constituted a national task force to formulate a draft national policy on informatics to make the country a superpower in the sphere of information technology within the next three years.

The task force, headed by Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Jaswant Singh with Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and scientist Professor M G K Menon as co-chairpersons, will also include 16 other members. It will submit its report to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in three months.

The team is expected to include telecom commission chairman and telecom secretary A V Gokak, electronics secretary R Gupta, I&B secretary P G Mankad, PESB chairman and Rediff on the NeTcolumnist N Vittal and National Informatics Centre Dr Seshagiri. National Association of Software and Service Companies executive director Dewang Mehta, Infosys Managing Director N R Narayana Murthy, Wipro Computers president Ashok Soota, NIIT managing Director and Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services managing director Rav Pathasarathi.

Within a month it will recommend to the government immediate steps necessary to remove bottlenecks and to give ''a big boost'' to information technology.

The task force will prepare a blueprint for adopting technology using a wide network of empowered task forces at all governmental and non-governmental levels.

The task force will be guided by an "IT vision group'' consisting of IT professionals, academics, retired and serving civil servants, business people and political leaders. It will have some IT professionals from abroad -- both non-resident Indians and foreigners. It will complete work within 90 days and might invite as many members as required with the chairperson's permission.

The task force will recommend a strategy for extensive use of information technology in all areas of the national economy -- agriculture, industry, trade and services -- to help make India a global economic power.

It will also prepare the design of building a world-class IT infrastructure appropriate for India. The design will embrace the growing convergence of telecommunication, computers, consumer electronics and media infrastructure other than content.

Towards this end, the task force is to determine the means for creating a national information infrastructure backbone, linking IT to the local informatics infrastructure and the global informatics infrastructure.

These laws are intended to replace the outdated Indian Telegraph Act and the Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act and the Indian Post Office Act, which are outdated now.

Meanwhile, the Andhra Pradesh government has already drawn up an informatics policy, calling for a separate Union ministry for informatics, enactment of cyber laws, a national virtual university, a software development fund and the end of the Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited monopoly on international gateways.

The policy suggests computerisation of government services to standardise them and make them citizen-friendly; it also calls for the incorporation of the departments of telecommunications, the department of electronics and the information and broadcasting ministry in the new ministry.

Tell us what you think of this story