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India now a global infotech hub
BS Reporters in New Delhi | November 29, 2006 11:34 IST
India is now getting ready for the next step, using broadband connectivity to take education and healthcare to the villages, says IT and Telecommmunications Minister Shakeel Ahmad.
Shakeel Ahmad, minister of state for communications and information technology, said India's skilled human resources had made it a global hub for IT.
Next year would be an important year for broadband connectivity in India. The country would be looking at a social revolution when education and health facilities would reach the rural economy through broadband connections.
He said this would put India to a higher growth and development trajectory. Skill training and creation of entrepreneurs would help address the issue of educated unemployment in the country.
Fran�ois Barrault, president, BT International, BT, UK, said, "India has set the benchmark in a digital network economy where Bangalore is seen as a model."
While moving forward it is important to create competition, lead innovation and perceive R&D as important and exclusive of sales, he said.
For the developed world, besides the labour cost, the other factors that matter are the risks, access to knowledge and skill development. Barrault said foreign investors are enthusiastic about India and see huge opportunities in its growing economy.
Rajendra S Pawar, chairman, NIIT Group, said there are great opportunities in India. By 2020, there will be a shortage of 50 million working age population in the developed world while India would have a surplus of 47 million.
If the Indian population is imparted education and skills, then the country stands a lot to gain from the demographic dividend, he said.
The government should concentrate on primary education. Pawar said that in higher education one-fourth of public-funded universities should be turned into centres of excellence and the rest of the sector should be opened to the private sector.
Also, he said, government policies regarding purchasing services should incubate a method to value the intangibles for meaningful e-governance.
Azim H Premji, chairman, Wipro, said India should not only concentrate on out-pricing other countries in terms of labour salaries, but should address the issue of competition from a different perspective.
Other developing countries are growing rapidly and the challenge for India would be to build productivity and generate more talent and skills.
Premji said growing competition is good for the industry and the challenge for India is to stay a few years ahead of other developing countries.
India needs to develop more sophisticated trade negotiations and invest more in developing the skills of the population. Also, the IT sector in India is generating broad-based employment, more purchasing power and creating a huge domestic market.
The panellists said India was doing well in the IT sector. However, success should not breed complacency.
The country needed to stay ahead of other developing countries and be involved in a constant process of innovation, skill development and capabilities. Going forward, India needed to scale up its capacities.