Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Tuesday urged state IT ministers to move swiftly and promote electronics manufacturing through pro-investment initiatives, in a bid to tap a "great opportunity" that now beckons India.
Prasad, who interacted with state IT ministers through video-conference against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, told reporters later that eased connectivity norms to facilitate work-from-home, which were to end on April 30, have now been extended till July 31.
Prasad said states have been highly appreciative of the Aarogya Setu app and he assured them that a similar solution for feature phones is being developed and will be launched soon.
The Union minister for electronics and IT further said his ministry is constantly monitoring spread of fake news on social media platforms and that companies have informed the government of the progress they have made in removing content that were aimed at inflaming passion and placing roadblocks in India's fight against COVID-19.
He cautioned that any inaction by companies to clamp down on fake news would be met with consequences at the Centre and state levels, as well as police action.
The minister said products coming from any country, particularly China, should be subject to stringent security audit and verification.
"One thing is clear... we are not against any country, we are only pro India, we are committed to India and will take measures to create opportunities for India. As regards security initiative are concerned... Any product coming from any country particularly China, we expect proper security audit and verification," he said replying to a specific query on India's stance on Chinese products.
Summing up his interaction with the state IT ministers to discuss challenges and road map in the background of the coronavirus pandemic, Prasad said it has been decided that the IT ministry along with NIC will come out, in 3-4 days' time, with an app that will facilitate sharing of best practices.
"I took on board the suggestion that we must have a strategic group assisting our system, state governments, (their) IT ministers and some of the best minds of IT profession... so that this type of challenge and opportunity, we can leverage with fresh ideas. I have also relaxed norms for working from home, it was to end on April 30, I have extended it to July 31. More and more products for Aarogya Setu app, e-pass, linkage with the district officials, all I have agreed to immediately," he said.
The minister also underlined the government's commitment to promote electronics manufacturing, in a big way.
"A great opportunity beckons India, and we already have policies in place. This is India's opportunity, where the Centre and state governments should move together. I have urged state IT ministers that they should also undertake pro-investment initiatives," he said.