Shujaat Bukhari

The concern is how to spread its benefits to other parts of the country: Jairam Ramesh

SRINAGAR: Union Minister of State for Power and Commerce Jairam Ramesh on Friday expressed concern over the IT revolution remaining confined to six major cities.

Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai and Pune accounted for 95 per cent of the exports in the information technology sector which touched $40 billion during 2007-08.

The “concern is how to spread the benefits of the IT revolution to other parts of country,” he said on the occasion of signing of a memorandum of understanding between Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Jammu and Kashmir Bank here.

There were certain hurdles to achieving the goal, one of them being non-availability of broadband Internet services. “Kolkata accounts for two per cent of the IT exports but that was possible only after TCS made an entry into West Bengal a few years ago.”

Likewise, its entry into Assam was another major step in spite of the situation there.

“We are looking forward to seeing J&K as a major destination for investment and this has to be something beyond recruitment,” Mr. Ramesh said.

Poor broadband services

“I hope we will soon have a TCS development centre here,” he said. The TCS entry signalled Jammu and Kashmir finding a place on the country’s IT map. However, he expressed concern over poor broadband services in the State. “Until we provide broadband services, J&K will not become a destination for IT.”

Mr. Ramesh said NASSCOM would soon enter into an MoU with Jammu and Kashmir Bank for conducting tests for entry into IT services.

“They will conduct tests for 20,000 engineering and 2,000 non-engineering graduates.”

The Minister complimented the TCS chief executive officer S. Ramadorai, who was present, on taking this initiative.

e-governance

Mr. Ramesh called for efforts to make e-governance a reality in Jammu and Kashmir. However, one of the senior officials of TCS, Tanman Chakarvarty, said the State government was not showing interest in e-governance. “There is no committed leadership in the State government for this. The government has changed the IT Secretary so many times in the past three years. We are still ready to work with the State.”

Haseeb Drabu, chairman, Jammu and Kashmir Bank, said it was ready to work further to put the State in IT mode.

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