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October 22, 1999
Government claims Y2K plan is on courseNeena Haridas in New Delhi
Eleven critical sectors including power and telecommunications will achieve Y2K compliance within 10 days, says the latest report of the National Y2K Action Force.
The report says sectors such as banking and finance, insurance, petroleum, civil aviation, power, atomic energy, space, ports, railways telecommunications and defence will be Y2K compliant by October end, though external audit and trials of contingency plans may spill over to November.
The National Y2K Action Force, headed by Planning Commission Member Montek Singh Ahluwalia, on Thursday submitted the report on Y2K readiness to Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission K C Pant.
According to Ahluwalia, India is in a better position to make the transition to 2000, though there might not be guarantees to a problem-free move to the next century.
The report states that certain sectors like water supply, sewerage and health that are under the states need more attention in the next two months.
However, the report assured that all commercial banks and scheduled urban cooperative banks that account for about 90 per cent of the entire banking operations in the country are Y2K okay.
The aviation sector is completely clean with radars at all the four metros, Ahmedabad, Guwahati, Hyderabad and Thiruvananthapuram free of the bug.
In the telecom sector, all telephones and related networks including those of DoT are already Y2K clean, though a few switching and computer application system of DoT are slated to be ready by October end.
VSNL too is expected to complete its compliance by the month end. Four public sector units under DoT - Bangalore based Indian Telephone Industries, Madras based Hindustan Teleprinters Limited, Telecom Consultants India Limited and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd are y2k okay too.
On the power sector, the report said over 97 per cent of the country's power generation capacity prone to the bug is compliant now and the rest will be ready by month end.
Alternating current transmission and distribution are Y2K ready and the PoweGrid Corporation has assured that the bug will not affect its transmission at the turn of the new century.
As far as the railways are concerned, passenger reservation will be clean by November end, while the supervisory control and data acquisition track maintenance is already ready. All units of the Department of Atomic Energy have confirmed readiness in their operations and safety systems.
Though the report does not contain the status of the defence organisation, the area is expected to be compliant by the year-end.
And for those worried about the bourses, all the major stock exchanges are compliant and the smaller ones are slated to be compliant.
Finance Minister Ashanti Sunhat is unlikely to have any problems making the budget this year as the Department of Economic Affairs is fully compliant. Besides, all trading will close on December 30 and stock exchanges will conduct mock trading and settlement session on the first day of 2000 to check themselves.
Hard copies of transactions will be maintained in case of trouble.
Meanwhile, as part of the contingency plans, the report has also recommended that the government formulate laws to tackle problems that could arise out of the bug such as contractual obligations, software copyrights etc.
As a contingency plan, RBI would ensure adequate supply of currency notes to meet eventualities. The banks will also maintain hard copies of important accounts and transactions and the RBI will provide conditional liquidity support to banks against certain government securities.
Government officials will be paid their salary and pension by December 24 and bank account holders will be given their account statement by December 25.
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