The Millennium Special

The Past

The Present

N Chandrababu Naidu

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Ten ways India could become an superpower in information technology

In my opinion, the following 10 items should get priority in helping India realise its aspirations to become an infotech super power:

Change in mindset
We need to change our mindset to start thinking globally and begin benchmarking ourselves internationally. In future only the best will survive and there may not be any place for the second best. Consequently, we must endeavour to achieve excellence by benchmarking ourselves in different spheres with the best practices and benchmarks available globally.

One of the important parameters, which will signify power in the digital age, will be bandwidth per capita. Unless, we are able to provide high-speed digital communication facilities within the country it will not be possible for us to compete internationally. It is extremely important therefore, that India quickly develops a high-speed fibre optic backbone and addresses the need to connect remote areas and villages through terrestrial/satellite links. In order to establish networks across the country, it is necessary that a thorough and comprehensive de-regulation of the telecom sector is carried out.

Knowledge will provide the ultimate competitive edge in the 21st century. There is a need therefore to focus great attention on both the quality and spread of education in our country. If we look at a country like Ireland, 60 per cent of graduates belong to the science and technology disciplines. This figure is only 29.3 per cent in the case of a state like Andhra Pradesh. We need to therefore make a quantum jump in terms of the number of science and technology students graduating in the country. Further the quality of education needs to be systematically addressed.

The pedagogy has to change in order to develop attitudes, values and skills in addition to knowledge for succeeding in the Information Age. The course curriculum has to be in sync with technological developments taking place elsewhere in the world. We must ensure that the quality of education imparted to students in the country is world class.

Affordability of PCs
In order to prevent the rise of 'information haves' and 'information have nots', the government will have to lay great emphasis on making PCs/information access devices affordable to the common man.

Cyber laws
It is important that the entire legal framework existing in the country is given a complete overhaul keeping in view the requirements of the digital age.

IT architecture
For achieving a high level of IT usage throughout the country, it is necessary to ensure sharing of information and data across various administrative boundaries in the country. It is necessary that the Government of India define an IT architecture at a Pan Indian level in this context.

Smart government
It is necessary to have a comprehensive look at the existing processes and procedures in government. In future for the country to succeed it will be necessary for the government to provide an environment which allows businesses to proceed in the fastest possible manner from garage to market. It is necessary therefore that we reorient government by making it Simple, Moral, Accountable, Responsive and Transparent.

Development of regional content
At present English is the language of the Internet. It is necessary that concerted efforts are made to develop local content in digital form. Unless this is done, it will be difficult to achieve an all-pervasive use of Information Technology in the country.

Development of the India brand
It is necessary for India to develop its brand image as a reliable supplier of high quality services. This must be achieved through consistent emphasis on high quality benchmarked globally.

Venture Capital
In order to encourage the growth of entrepreneurship in the country, it is necessary to give a thrust to the growth of venture capital in the country. Unless we have a vibrant and active venture capital sector, it will not be possible for Indian companies to gain the competitive edge in the highly competitive world of the 21st century

Nara Chandrababu Naidu, the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, has made his state a power to reckon with in information technology.

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