eGovernance in India

Improving eGovernance in INDIA

GOVERNMENT COMMITTED TO PROVIDE VALUE ADDED CONNECTIVITY TO TACKLE DIGITAL DIVIDE : SHRI MAHAJAN

Posted by egovindia on June 23, 2006

GOVERNMENT COMMITTED TO PROVIDE VALUE ADDED CONNECTIVITY TO TACKLE DIGITAL DIVIDE : SHRI MAHAJAN

MINISTER MEETS MR. BILL GATES

MICROSOFT TO CONTRIBUTE $1 MILLION TO MEDIA LAB ASIA

 http://pib.nic.in/archieve/lreleng/lyr2002/rnov2002/12112002/r121120022.html

Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Communications and Information Technology, Shri Pramod Mahajan today met Mr. Bill Gates, Co-founder, Chairman and Chief Software Architect of Microsoft. During the discussions, Shri Mahajan outlined India’s Telecom&IT initiatives that had been undertaken in the last two years. He specifically highlighted the achievements that had taken place in the Basic, International Long Distance, National Long Distance and Internet sectors. The focus was also on the Government’s commitment to provide level playing field in the sector with the customer being regarded as the ‘King’. The Minister also apprised Mr. Gates of the efforts undertaken to tackle the Digital Divide. Both agreed that there was a similarity of purpose between the Department of IT and Microsoft in taking IT to the Masses.

During the discussions, Shri Mahajan specifically touched upon the key programmes of the Government in the IT&Telecom sector. He specifically gave an indepth overview of the functioning of Media Lab Asia in India in the last one year. The Minister touched upon the key components of the initiative and said that it had evoked a popular response amongst IT corporates. As a result of the discussions on the issue, Mr. Gates agreed to contribute $1 million for Media Lab Asia. Appreciating this gesture, Shri Mahajan said this initiative from Microsoft would attract other international IT corporates to participate in the Media Lab Asia programme.

The deliberations also focussed on the e-learning initiative in the country. As a result of the detailed discussions, Microsoft has also agreed to give $20 million for training the trainers in the e-learning programme, also known as ‘Shiksha’. Under this, 80,000 teachers and three and a half million students would be trained between a period of 3-5 years. The collaboration would be done in partnership with the Department of Information Technology.

Shri Mahajan also explained in detail two specific Government initiatives namely, the Village Public Telephony (VPT) and the Community Information Centre (CIC) programme in the North-East. The Minister informed Mr. Gates that when he had come to India two years ago, the CIC programme had just begun as a Pilot Project and today, it was present in 487 blocks in the remote corners of the North-Eastern Region of the country. In this regard, he mentioned that it was through this programme that the Government had initiated the policy of providing value added connectivity to the people and hence tackle the problem of Digital Divide. The Minister gave an indepth view of how this facility had benefitted the people of North East India in being digitally connected with the rest of the country. He also gave an overview of the Village Public Telephone programme and explained how through appropriate measures, by the end of this year, there would be a telephone in every village of the country. In this context, he also touched upon the Village Mobile Telephone Programme.

The meeting also saw discussions on the role and relevance of language software in empowering the people. Mr. Gates acknowledged that during his last visit to India, he had taken the advice of the Minister to embark upon the local language software development programme. He specifically mentioned that they had been quite successful in this regard. The Minister also explained the initiatives of the Government in the e-Governance sector and specifically mentioned the ‘Bhoomi e-governance Project’ undertaken across the country.

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