Hardware bill in PMO’s office

By : |June 14, 1999 0

The hardware recommendations of the IT task force has been signed by the finance minister
and is in the Prime Minister’s office for his signature, according to Dewang
Mehta,
President, National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM). Both this
and the third report of the task force on creating a transparent interface between the
Government and the citizen using IT are expected to be approved in the next four weeks.

Apart from lobbying for these two, NASSCOM is also lobbying for a policy for the
establishment of call centers in India. "There is an immediate need to simplify the
procedures as well as take a policy decision on setting up of call centers in India. This
would also require setting up reliable communication infrastructure in India at globally
competitive rates and change at DoT policy," he explained. NASSCOM is also lobbying
for call centers to be treated as IT enabled services and be exempted from income tax
under Section 10A/10B of the Income Tax Act, to allow call centers to be connected through
EPABX and for 50% cut in international lease circuit and single window clearance.

Calling IT enabled services as an opportunity area for the country, Mehta said that
currently there are 25,000 people employed in various facets of IT enabled services.
According to a NASSCOM survey, India can earn Rs 81,000 crore and creating an additional
one million jobs in this sector by 2008. Towards this, the IT task force has also
recommended a venture fund with an initial fund of $100 million for funding start-ups, the
setting up of Indian Institute of Global Studies to understand latest trends, key
indicators and new opportunity areas. The task force has also recommended courses on IT
enabled services as part of vocational course.

E-business is yet another area of focus for NASSCOM. According to Mehta, ISPs may soon
start providing free connectivity and charge for value added services. "The survey
revealed that the total volume of e-commerce transactions in India were estimated at Rs
131 crore in the year 1998-99. Of this, Rs 12 crore was from retail business while the
remaining Rs 119 crore came from business-to-business transactions," he said.
Transactions are expected to exceed Rs 300 crore during 1999-2000, of which Rs 50 crore
would be from retail business.

The real business opportunity, however, is to provide software solutions and services in
e-business areas. "We expect this market to fetch annual revenue of more than Rs
3,000 crore by 2002," he said. In the global scene, corporate spending on
web/package-based services will grow from about 45% in 1998 to over 85% by 2010. NASSCOM
is starting a nationwide campaign to urge professionals to start e-business software
service units. It is also organizing an e-commerce seminar on July 20 at Mumbai.

The survey also has identified the need for cyber laws, a national digital certification
authority, global telecom infrastructure, private gateways and 56-bit encryption
technology as areas of concern with regard to e-commerce.

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