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September 15, 1999
DoE chief assures of smooth Y2K switchover
Public utilities in India will not fail because of the millennium bug as critical sectors of the economy are well on their way to be Y2K compliant by October 31, promised Ravindra Gupta, secretary, Department of Electronics.
"There must be a communication gap because the world is still perceiving India to be low on Y2K compliance scale," Gupta said while inaugurating a seminar on 'Y2K Preparedness - an Assessment'.
The seminar was organised in New Delhi by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
The DoE secretary said the government is in touch with the developed countries besides several travel agencies to spread the message of Y2K compliance in the country. "The foreigners are basing their opinion on Y2K compliance data published months ago despite us displaying the latest reports on our Web sites," Gupta claimed.
He has called upon the Indian industry to get on with building confidence in their computer systems with continuous testing, simulation, third-party certification and preparation of contingency plans.
On fears of breakdowns of power on new year's eve, he said about 86 per cent of the three arms of power sector - generation, transmission and distribution - are Y2K compliant.
The Y2K compliance in the defence sector is little known as all aspects of the sector can not be revealed, Gupta said.
"But I can assure you that the defence sector is well on its way to compliance. No missile is going to take off (from India) on its own," he assured.
Speaking on the occasion, NASSCOM President Dewang Mehta said an area of concern is the low Y2K compliance in small and medium enterprises. Awareness is high, yet compliance is not as much as needed.
Since only about 55 per cent of the 500,000 small and medium enterprises are Y2K compliant in varying degrees, "the sector needs some kind of hand holding", he argued.
Besides SMEs, the government needs to focus on supply chain industries, national infrastructure and embedded systems for preparing contingency plans and rehearsal drills.
Central Vigilance Commissioner N Vittal said the private sector in the country is likely to face little problems due to the millennium bug as it does not have many vintage computers and mainframes.
Of the 3.2 million computers and 2,000 mainframes, hardly a third is in the private sector.
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