Centre planning to double number of IT seats in engg. colleges

BANGALORE, JULY 12. The Union Minister for Information Technology and Parliamentary Affairs, Mr. Pramod Mahajan, has said that three million personnel will be required for the Indian IT industry in the next two years.

He was speaking at the inauguration of the new research and development facility of the National Centre for Software Technology (NCST) at the Electronics City here on Wednesday. The Chief Minister, Mr. S.M.Krishna, inaugurated the facility.

Mr. Mahajan said that he had convinced the Prime Minister, Mr. A.B.Vajpayee, that Rs. 5,000 crores had to be invested in the IT education sector. He urged the States to raise funds to meet the needs of the IT industry. The centre was also considering doubling the number of IT seats in engineering colleges.

If India was to become a global player in IT, research and development should be intensifed. Hardware development should also be given importance along with software development, he added.

The IT Bill would become effective from August 15, the minister said. An IT Convergence Bill was being studied by a committee headed by Mr. Yashwant Sinha, Union Minister for Finance. The Bill would not be introduced in the monsoon session of Parliament, he added.

The Ministry of Information Technology in collaboration with the Massachussets Institute of Technology would set up media labs in the country in the next two months with an investment of Rs. 500 crores. Limited bandwidth and other such difficulties would be tackled by August 31 before the Prime Minister's visit to the U.S. The Ministry was keen on meeting the deadline, he said.

Referring to the recent attacks on churches, Mr. Krishna said that some "lunatic fringe elements" were trying to create unrest in society. He urged all "sane people" to cooperate with the Government to maintain peace.

The Chief Minister demanded that the IT Education Standard Board set up by the State Government be recognised by the Centre.

The Union Minister for Tourism and Culture, Mr. Ananth Kumar, and the Secretary to the Ministry of Information Technology, Mr. P.V.Jayakrishnan, were present.