| IT INDIA '97/COMDEX
|December 3, 1997||
Govt promises better facilities, Net policingVijay Shankar at Pragati Maidan
The cold morning chill was giving way to watery sunshine when IT India '97/Comdex exhibition began, inaugurated at 1100 hours sharp.
Over 300 exhibitors and all the names worth knowing in the IT industry gathered at the aesthetically-designed amphitheatre at Lal Chowk, Pragati Maidan. A bunch of balloons were released by the honoured guests of the
In his speech that followed, DoE secretary Ghosh, the chief guest, mapped the government's general policy thrust in the IT area. The government, he said, was committed to the Natural Information Infrastructure which would establish a high speed network backbone operating at between 2 and 5 gigabytes per second, to connect major cities in the first phase.
He said Internet connectivity and penetration would be further enhanced to attain a user strength of over 2 million in the next 2 or 3 years, adding that he expected a big jump in PC penetration, from 1/1000 in 1996-97 to about 1/100 by 2000. Besides, he pointed out, there was already great emphasis being laid on localisation, an effort that would be aided by the forthcoming Hindi version of Windows.
Ghosh said the IT industry had been aided by huge and fast-moving changes, with increasing reach and its spread in entertainment and learning. It had also become difficult to predict the future direction of technology, he said. Computer processing power was increasing in geometric proportion, while sizes of components -- and prices overall -- had reduced considerably.
The DoE secretary said the government also wanted to first address anomalies in the duty structures on imports of hardware and software and reduce the overall duty structure to zero by 2005.
Cyberspace had come under government scrutiny and laws were being framed by an expert committee, he said. The effort, he added, was to encourage manufacture of hardware through good infrastructure and simplified procedures so that the Indian IT industry grows at double its current rate. At present the industry has just one per cent of the global market.
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