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|April 9, 1999
The Prime Minister's National Task Force on Information Technology and Software Development has come up with a plan for a $100 billion opportunity by 2010.
It involves setting up university-industry joint ventures for developing human and content resources for information technology. That is because half of the projected $100 billion opportunity comes through software exports.
The plan suggests that $5 billion be earned through export of human resource development. For this to happen, Indian HRD companies would be helped to become multinationals.
The paper says 'One of the key issues in achieving the targeted level of around $100 billion for the IT sector in the next 10 years is adequate availability of quality manpower in IT as well as IT enabled sectors. Currently, productivity in the IT industry is much less compared to international standards.'
Professor P V Indiresan, chairman of the National Academy of Engineering, headed the subgroup on HRD.
Key to the HRD growth in information technology is the creation of training institutions on commercial lines and their transformation into Indian multinationals that can export their instructional expertise abroad.
This would be on the lines of the NIIT and some others, which have already become MNCs, taking their own patented instructional systems to build joint ventures abroad.
NIIT has companies in Singapore and Malaysia and has spread out already up to China and Japan. It is planning to acquire a foreign company for its European thrust in instructional software.
The subgroup proposes more such joint ventures between companies like NIIT and Indian universities including elite organisations like the Indian Institutes of Information Technology.
The universities could offer their existing facilities and the rupee equivalent of such facilities could be considered as their equity contribution in the proposed joint venture.
Extensive methods to make finances available to such university-industry ventures have been suggested. These include government funding too.
The training programmes are to be structured in such a way that they meet the industry's needs. Also care would be taken that no surplus manpower is created in any area of information technology.
The subgroup has even suggested income tax exemption for such joint ventures to encourage educational companies.
To make quality IT education affordable, the subgroup has proposed extensive backing to students from banks and financial institutions in the form of loans and treating this as priority for lending.
The financial packages would be made attractive for poorer sections of society. Endowment schemes proposed by the group would enable the institutions to hire high quality teachers offering them higher emoluments.
The group has proposed incentives to industries and the government and other institutions, including the Vidya Kalyan scheme to optimise available national resources.
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