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|February 3, 1999||
The target of installing a million new computers in the country during the current financial year may be missed.
This is because of the non-implementation of a government decision in the gazette to bring down customs duty on important computer components to zero from January 1.
According to studies conducted by the Manufacturers' Association for Information Technology and the Indian Market Research Bureau, the installed base of computers in India was to have touched four million units within the next two months, making one out of every 250 Indians, owner of a computer.
This is standing in the way of the government resolve to make India a global information technology superpower with its own strong hardware and software manufacturing base.
The grey market is currently proliferating due to the non-implementation of a decision in the gazette by the government on July 25 last to remove customs duty from the new year day on all important components imported for indigenous manufacture of computers.
This decision followed recommendations of the Prime Minister's Task Force on Information Technology.
The annual loss to central and state governments due to the staggering presence of grey market in computers is estimated by MAIT at Rs 6.38 billion in 1998 in terms of customs, excise and sales tax.
The studies also reveal that a growing number of homes in India are going in for computers. Over 18 per cent of the new computers sold in the country during the first six months of the current financial year were installed in homes.
Nearly 400,000 Indian homes have computers now.
Children's education is emerging as a major growth area for home computers. During six months, 28 per cent of all home computers bought were for education of children.
Internet telephony is also an attraction for many buyers of home computers. Office work at home and infotainment are other areas of attraction.
Between 90 and 95 per cent of computers in India are installed in and around 13 major cities with Bombay, Delhi, Madras and Calcutta, accounting for over 75 per cent of the computers installed during April-September 1998 according to the study.
India had 100 computers in 1968, 1,000 in 1979, 100,000 in 1988 and 1 million in 1994.
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