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|November 7, 1998||
Net policy delights NASSCOMThe National Association for Software and Service Companies has welcomed the beginning of the process of providing licences to private Internet service providers in the country.
The new Internet policy was announced yesterday by the Minister of State for Communications Kabindra Purkayastha.
"We welcome the implementation of the National IT Task Force recommendations and the quick implementation of the prime minister's announcement last week to provide licences to private ISPs," he enthused.
Mehta hopes that the move would eventually lead to lower unemployment rates and help increase computer literacy in the country. "The privatisation of Internet services would lead to nationwide proliferation of IT. This would in turn lead to a higher rate of literacy and employment. It would also bridge the information gap between rural areas and cities," he elaborated.
NASSCOM is confident that a new generation of software entrepreneurs would flourish with the proliferation of Internet in the country. It hopes that this would further boost the brand equity of the Indian software industry.
"The privatisation of Internet would facilitate our professional and software companies to tap export opportunities in the areas of e-commerce, content development and Internet products development," Mehta elaborated.
A survey by NASSCOM revealed that there are currently over 150,000 Internet connections and about 450,000 Internet users in the country.
Mehta is hoping for a tenfold rise in the figures. "With the private ISPs entering the fray we expect many of them to be operational in next three to six months. This will lead to more than 1.5 million Internet connections in the country by the turn of the century," he claimed.
Mehta is emphatic that laws need to be in place to regulate the Internet industry in the country.
"Steps need to be taken for encouraging local content development for Internet as well as introduction of cyber laws in the next session of Parliament," he stressed.
Mehta urged the government to quickly set up an inter-ministerial group that would examine and permit private ISPs to have their independent international gateway. "Such an inter-ministerial group should work in a time-bound manner and provide clearances on a fast track," he said.
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