New IT ministry moves ahead against all odds

By : |November 9, 1999 0

Puneet Kumar

NEW DELHI: Despite being a step ahead in attaining the IT super power status, the change in nomenclature of the Department of Electronics to Ministry of Information Technology has captured the headlines of the dailies for reasons not so much in its favour.

Envisaged to be a ‘super ministry’, which would encompass the current communications and information and broadcasting ministries besides delving into science and technology, MIT is one such ministry without a minister in charge. It is also under fire from all these departments, some of which are expected to be merged with MIT. While DoT declines to let go Internet from its gambit, I&B feels it will lose its power in giving away the cable TV. Similarly NIC, which at present is under Planning Commission, has conveyed its discomfort in moving to MIT.

Going by the Presidential notification on transaction of business rules of the new government, MIT is entrusted with 11 functions. Some of these fall under various departments under separate ministries besides looking after the functions currently being looked after by DoE.

Some of the functions being entrusted to MIT includes policy matters relating to IT, promotion of knowledge-based enterprises, all matters pertaining to silicon facility, all matters concerning computer-based IT and processing, promotion of the Internet, promotion of e-commerce, promotion of IT education and IT-based education, National Informatics Centre, electronics and computer software export promotion council.

These functions of MIT are largely along the lines suggested by a Task Force on information technology headed by Infosys chairman N.R. Narayana Murthy. However, amidst prevailing chaos over the jurisdiction of MIT, it has announced its intention to create a venture capital fund with a corpus of Rs 100 crore in association with SIDBI and IDBI. A new company will soon be launched to this effect.

There could not have been a better time for taking such an initiative to boost the morale of IT industry in the country. In fact, the move has been overdue on the part of national government to create a finance pool to fund new IT projects.

According to the sources in MIT, the ministry will accord high priority for all round technology development in the country. It supports and funds technology development through its Councils set up in various fields namely, the Technology Development Council (TDC), National Radar Council (NRC), Electronics Materials Development Council (EMDC), National Micro-electronics Council (NMC) and National Photonics Council (NPC).

In fact, in order to put the developments of newer technologies on display, MIT will hold Electronics and Information Technology Exposition 2000 (ELITEX 2000) at New Delhi. The event will be held from February 2-4, 2000 and will disseminate information on the technologies developed as a result of Research and Development funded by MIT.

ELITEX ‘2000 will also address issues on global competitiveness of IT technologies and know how of transfer, capital venture, IPR and other related matters with focus on the subject areas. A special session is also being planned on the implementation of Electronic Governance in various ministries and departments and on e-commerce.

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