About 94 per cent of the local cable TV operators (LCOs) and Multi-System Operators (MSOs) outside Chennai have applied for enrolment with the State-run Arasu Cable TV Corporation Ltd (ACTCL), Information Technology Minister R.B. Udhayakumar told the Assembly on Thursday.

Moving the demands for grants for Information Technology, he said following the government's decision to revive the institution, which became dysfunctional soon after its incorporation, ACTCL had advertised for enrolment of cable operators in the State except Chennai.

Describing the response as “overwhelming,” Mr. Udhayakumar said until August 9, the last date for enrolment, 35,030 LCOs and 2,640 MSOs had registered themselves with Arasu Cable. The total figure of 37,670 constituted 94 per cent of the 40,000 cable TV operators in the State, he said.

The digital head-ends already established at Thanjavur, Tirunelveli, Coimbatore and Vellore were being revived and new analog head-ends were being installed in 16 districts, he said. ACTCL, he added, proposed to take over the existing control rooms of private operators to provide cable TV services in 11 districts.

“Many MSOs having their own control rooms have expressed willingness to provide them to the ACTCL,” he said and added that the State-run entity would commence cable TV services at the earliest.

The Minister said the government would shortly launch an e-governance policy that would reflect the government's resolve to “minimise citizen-government office interaction and maximise citizen-government interaction”.

The Chief Minister's vision was that the Web should be the interface for the citizen to avail of routine government services.

Later, replying to the debate, he said as a mark of recognition and encouragement to government departments, the State would institute an annual Chief Minister's Award for Excellence in e-governance.

Apart from this, separate awards would be given to winners of a competition for development of innovative e-Governance software applications every year.

Mr. Udhayakumar said IT-enabled services exports would be of the value of around Rs.25,000 crore in 2011-12.

Status of IT SEZs

The Minister alleged that the previous DMK regime had not provided proper facilities at information technology special economic zones in various parts of the State. As a result, IT companies were not keen on making use of the facilities at these SEZs. “To overcome the sluggish and deteriorating conditions prevailing in the IT SEZs, the government will try to improve their quality and attract investments from multi-national companies and local firms.”

Broadband connectivity

In other announcements, he said broadband connectivity would be provided to all village panchayat offices. Further, village administrative officers and revenue inspectors would be given personal computers based on cloud computing that they could work on e-District applications, maintain computerised accounts and work on other utility services from their own offices.

Initially, Krishnagiri, Ariyalur, Perambalur, Tiruvarur, Coimbatore and the Nilgiris districts would be covered.