New ventures worth Rs.567 crore announced for the region

Giving a major boost to information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure in the North-East, Union Minister of State for Communication & IT Sachin Pilot on Monday announced projects worth Rs.567 crore for eight States in the region. The money would be spent on setting up 10 new ICT training centres, building newer capacities for BSNL and modernising post offices.

“The Congress-led UPA government is focusing on all-round economic development of the North-East region, with special focus on developing ICT capabilities. The Centre has recently sanctioned a Rs.388 crore special package for the North-East to impart affordable ICT training to the local youth,” said Mr. Pilot after chairing a consultative meeting of all North-East IT Ministers at Shillong where he reviewed the progress of ICT schemes and working of the BSNL and postal services.

The States being covered under the project are Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura.

Mr. Pilot said the project would enable training of 14,000 youth per year, which is a five-fold increase from the current figures. “This will ensure availability of trained professionals in the North-East and will attract the IT industry to set up units in the region,” he pointed out.

Mr. Pilot said the project would be implemented through the National Institute of e-Learning & Information Technology (NIELIT) by upgrading the six existing NIELIT centres located at Imphal, Aizawl, Guwahati, Shillong, Gangtok, Itanagar; setting up of 10 new extension centres at Senapati and Churachandpur in Manipur; Dibrugarh, Silchar, Jorhat and Kokrajhar in Assam; Lunglei in Mizoram; Tura in Meghalaya; Tezu and Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh; and upgrading the two existing extension centres located at Chuchuyimlang in Nagaland and Tezpur in Assam.

After reviewing the implementation of his Ministry’s flagship scheme – the National e-Governance Plan – he directed all agencies to resolve the pending issues. Pointing out that IT infrastructure has been established in all the States for a smooth rollout of the delivery of citizen-centric services, he said total expenditure of Department of IT in the North-Eastern States is estimated to be Rs.243 crore this year, of which Rs.190 crore has been earmarked for e-governance.

Mr. Pilot also said BSNL has planned a capital expenditure of Rs.347 crore in the North-East this year, while an additional Rs.300 crore will be spent on the National Optical Fibre Network and other projects.

He also announced that 50 more post offices in the region would be taken up for modernisation under Project Arrow this year, while over 7,000 have already been upgraded.