Kerala

Plan to create knowledge society

The Budget presented by Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac on Friday in the Assembly envisaged creation of a knowledge society. For this, the Minister has identified the presence of a robust digital infrastructure and increase in accessibility to these as one of the pre-conditions.

This project for the transformation of the State into a digital economy includes everything from the Kerala Fibre Optic Network (K-FON) to a scheme to ensure at least one laptop in every household. The first phase of the K-FON project will be completed in February. This will include a Network Operating Centre, 14 district nodes and 600 associated offices. The project is expected to be completed in July.

Once K-FON becomes a reality, internet with speed ranging from 10 MBPS to 1 GBPS will be provided free of cost to BPL families. Government institutions will be connected by high-speed intranet giving a shot in the arm for the State's e-governance system.

As the next step in making digital capabilities universal, Dr. Isaac proposed to expand the laptop distribution programme. Laptops will be distributed at half the cost to children hailing from fisherfolk, scheduled communities and Antyodaya households. Other Below Poverty Live (BPL) families will get 25% subsidy. The cost will be borne jointly by the departments and local bodies concerned.

Laptops will be made available in the months of February, March and April to all who join the Kerala State Financial Enterprises Micro Chit Fund through Kudumbashree. The government will bear the cost of interest for this.

"Digital capabilities should be made available to everyone. The digital divide should be eliminated. Innovations should be interwoven into all avenues, leveraging the rich experiences of people from all sectors, including agriculture. In such a society, knowledge will be recreated perpetually," said Dr. Isaac.

Major e-governance projects of Kerala such as State Data Centre, Kerala State Wide Area Network, Secretariat Wide Area Network and digital services are being implemented through Kerala State Information Technology Mission, for which a total of ₹125 crore has been earmarked.

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Printable version | Mar 4, 2021 4:28:29 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/plan-to-create-knowledge-society/article33580960.ece

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