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'250K village panchayats to get optic fiber network'

BS Reporter  |  Mumbai/ Ahmedabad 

PM’s adviser Sam Pitroda says Union govt investing over Rs 100K crore on ICT

To usher in the second revolution in information and communication technology (ICT) government of India plans to connect 250,000 village panchayats through an optical fiber network in next two years time.

Outlining various initiatives to increase access and transparency in development programmes, adviser to Prime Minister on public information, information and innovation, Sam Pitroda said that the Union government was investing more than Rs 100,000 crore to put in place ICT systems for the next generation reforms.

Pitroda who was here to attend a private function said, "In the 1980s the seeds for the first phase of ICT revolution was sown. At that time India had some two million telephone connections. But today we are a connected billion with 900 million mobile phone connections."

"Now, we are sowing the seeds for the second phase of the revolution. The first phase was more about voice communication, the second phase is aimed at using the communication technology of telecommunication and internet to improve e-governance, health services, education and every other thing," Pitroda said.

He was of the opinion that creation of public information infrastructure using the technology would have a big impact on the next generation. According to Pitroda the systems in place at present have become obsolete and required to be changed.

"As part of creating a public information infrastructure, the second phase of revolution would include connecting 250,000 village panchayats through optic fiber network with an investment of Rs 30,000 crore. Trial in 50 panchayats was on in Goa, Rajasthan and North East. The results of this pilot projects is expected in October," Pitroda said being optimistic of Union government's initiatives.

He also talked about the broadband network under the National Knowledge Network, the Unique Identity project headed by Nandan Nilekani, the National Geographical Information System (GIS) project under the leader ship of former ISRO chariman, K Kasturirangan, cloud computing, cyber security initiatives, and standardising software used by all states.

"Union government has already initiated number of projects to usher in second phase of ICT revolution. It is investing over Rs 100,000 crore in putting in place the required systems. No other government in the world, that I know of, are doing this kind of thing," Pitroda said.

Bullish on the next generation reforms, Pitroda said that it would increase people's access to development programmes, improve transparency, health services, education and other services.

He also said that there were some misunderstanding with the UID project which has 20 crore people registered under it. "By next December 65 crore people would be registered under UID," Pitroda claimed.

"The government is also implementing a National GIS program. This will help various departments have a same maps, which is not the case at present where each department was using different maps of the same village, town or city," he said.

Pitroda further claimed that the task in hand was enormous one looking at the volume of the country's population. He also lamented that there was dearth of trained persons who could make efficient use of the new system.

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First Published: Mon, September 17 2012. 00:54 IST