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January 31, 2000
IT Ministry plans 8-year strategy
The ministry of information technology plans to formulate an eight-year strategy that will lay down the steps to be taken annually to reach the 50 billion dollar software export target by 2008.
The eight-year plan will set a road map to achieve 40 per cent cumulative annual growth rate for information technology sector to enable the country achieve 87 billion dollars software revenues by 2008, Pramod Mahajan, the information technology minister, said on Monday.
Indian software industry is expected to garner four billion dollars in export revenues in 1999-2000.
The McKinsey-NASSCOM report had also stated that India can achieve a total of about 90 billion dollars revenues from software, including 50 billion dollars from exports.
Inaugurating the Electronics and Information Technology Exposition (Elitex 2000), organised by the ministry in New Delhi, Mahajan said at the end of every year, the government would assess the progress of the software and hardware industries in achieving the targets.
''We will not leave it to the markets to set targets," he said.
Mahajan said India needs to emphasise on speedy decision-making, and enabling infrastructure and IT education to meet the intended revenue targets.
IT Secretary P V Jayakrishnan said the plan would also consider increasing computer penetration to 20 per 1000 in eight years from the current three per 1000, and television penetration to 225/1000 from 75/1000 now. It would call for an investment of 160 billion dollars and create 4.8 million jobs by 2008, he said.
Jayakrishnan urged the Indian IT industry to step up research and development since, at 0.5 per cent of turnover, it is much lower than the eight per cent of the turnover expended by US and Taiwanese companies.
Prinicipal Scientific Advisor A P J Abdul Kalam said India should leverage its core competency of software design and development to emerge as a leading player in the hardware sector as well. Besides having a Silicon Valley type culture, India should have the proper physical infrastructure and entrepreneur-friendly environment to use information technology in a wide range of sectors, he said.
"Literacy for all using IT can be the real mission for India.... Unless we develop full software products, we will be improving the US economy at India's cost," he said.
Kalam called for a national debate on issues relating to security of information, cryptography standards and cyber laws. UNI
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