ICT Group submits recommendations to ensure State’s leadership in the field
The Karnataka Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Group submitted its report on Tuesday to the government in which it has said that Karnataka could become the world’s largest technology cluster in the next five years if the government implemented various infrastructure projects across the State, including Bangalore.
Group chairman T.V. Mohandas Pai submitted the report to Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar and said infrastructure projects in Bangalore and other emerging cities, namely, Mangalore, Mysore and Hubli-Dharwad should be implemented to ensure the State’s leadership status in the ICT sector.
The government had constituted the group in June last to suggest ways for Karnataka to continue to be ahead of other States in the ICT sector. The government wanted ICT exports to touch Rs. 4 lakh crore from the present Rs. 1.35 lakh crore; increasing employment in ICT to 20 lakh from the present 8 lakh and create 1,000 entrepreneur-driven companies by 2020.
The group said infrastructure development in Karnataka and Bangalore should be addressed as 35 per cent of the country’s ICT export revenue is generated from the State. The government should also clear all the pending IT projects within 90 days, the report said.
Satellite smart cities
Mr. Pai said the government should develop satellite smart cities around Bangalore, which may come up at Hoskote, Devanahalli, Bidadi and Electronics City on public-private partnership.
The government should also extend the Bangalore Capital Region. Similar satellite cities should be developed around other emerging cities, Mr. Pai added.
Impetus to education
He said the government should ensure all engineering students in the State get laptops to enhance their learning capabilities.
The government should create a fully-wired State by providing free Wi-Fi in Bangalore and establishing the Karnataka School and College Networks.
Quality of secondary education could be improved by providing tablets with wireless and 3-G connectivity to students from seventh standard and above. These gadgets should be preloaded with teaching material required for each class and students should be able to access portals where they can download latest teaching material, Mr. Pai said.
To implement various infrastructure projects, a total investment of about Rs. 2 lakh crore may be required in the next five years, the group estimated. While the Central government may have to provide about Rs. 70,000 crore, the State would have to raise the rest through user fee and similar other fees, the report said.
It said huge investment was required to strengthen infrastructure for improving the ICT sector in the State. Important infrastructure strengthening include setting up of Indian Institutes of Technology in Hubli-Dharwad, setting up of an innovation fund and interest-free loan to new entrepreneurs, all of which require Rs. 2 lakh crore investment.
Responding to the report, Mr. Shettar said the government will take up each and every initiative recommended by the group for implementation. “Necessary budgetary provisions will be made in phases over the next five years,” he said.
Meanwhile, the government will immediately implement the short-term measures recommended by the group and continue the same in the next financial year, Mr. Shettar said.
He congratulated the group for its hard work and for submitting the report within six months and urged the members to continue to support the government to implement the report.