Information Technology Minister P.K. Kunhalikutty on Wednesday said the government was planning to expand the scope of Akshaya centres by enabling them to handle various banking services. The government was also working on an incentive plan to promote private IT parks.
Participating in a meet-the-press programme organised by the Kesari Memorial Journalist Trust here, Mr. Kunhalikutty said discussions were on with certain banks to develop the Akshaya centres into “bank kiosks” that would provide services, including e-banking.
The Akshaya programme had come a long way since its inception as a computer literacy scheme.
Today, these centres had emerged as excellent entrepreneur and employment models, attracting worldwide attention for the e-governance services it offered to the rural population.
In reply to a question, the Minister said IT exports were growing but not at the rate witnessed in the other States. But the IT sector in the State had emerged as a brand. Kerala was placed second among 29 States in achieving e-governance targets. It had adopted e-procurement and digital documentation.
The export numbers were not as important as the fact that the development in the IT sector had set the stage for modernisation of administration and big leaps in efficient delivery. One reason for the slow growth rate in exports was that the other States had private IT parks, while Kerala continued to stick to IT parks in the public sector, which had become the main driver for employment.
With regard to mineral sand-mining, Mr. Kunhalikutty said the question of allowing private players into the mining sector was a policy decision to be taken after discussions with all sections of the people. But there was scope for investment in value-added industries in the sector.
He said it was a fact that the State had sustained huge loss owing to smuggling of mineral sand. It was difficult to change habits of the local population and needed huge effort to usher in scientific methods of sand-mining that would not harm the environment.