R Jai Krishna
CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu Government announced a series of measures to create an investment friendly climate for the Information Technology (IT) sector as well as upgrading the infrastructure in the State.
Announcing the various schemes of the State government, Chief minister, Dr M Karunanidhi, who also holds the IT portfolio said that it was a matter of pride that Tamil Nadu was the first State in India to announce an IT Policy in the year 1997.
“With a view to consolidate the gains made so far and to propel the industry into a higher growth trajectory, the Government of Tamil Nadu has decided to formulate a new Information Technology Policy,” he said adding that the new policy will put in place the required environment for an all round growth of the “Knowledge Economy”.
IT in education
Recalling the setting up of a State level Information Technology Task Force under the Chairmanship of Tamil Nadu Chief minister in 1998, he informed that the Task Force had met thrice then and rendered valuable suggestions and schemes for the growth of IT industries in Tamil Nadu.
“The State Government has now decided to reconstitute the State Information Technology Task Force,” he said.
Similarly, he recalled the establishment of TANITEC (Tamil Nadu Institute of Information Technology), which was constituted in order to improve the standard of Computer education in the State and to upgrade the curriculum in post-graduate courses in keeping with the changing needs of the IT Industry, which was closed in 2002-03, after its activities were merged with the Anna University. In this context, the Chief minister said that in the present circumstances, there is a need to change the Syllabus of courses in keeping with the present needs of the IT Industry.
“There is a need to train the faculty of the Colleges in teaching according to the revised syllabus. In order to fulfill these needs, the Government has decided to set up an IT Academy in the State. This will set up on a Public – Private Participation model,” he announced.
The Chief minister announced that the State Government would design a ‘Self Confidence and Communication Skills Development Courses’ in consultation with Academicians and Subject Matter specialists from the IT industry and implemented at School and College level, to increase the confidence level and employability in the State.
The Chief minister said that Tamil Nadu was striving to reach the top spot in the field of ‘e governance,’ and in order to achieve this goal; the State Government has decided to establish an e-Governance Training Academy to train the officers and staff of all Government Departments.
In this regard, the Chief minister told the assembly that the State Government was taking steps to ensure the speedy implementation of the Tamil Nadu State Wide Area Network (TNSWAN) project.
“This project is aimed at providing 2 Mbps backbone connectivity linking State Headquarters at Chennai with all the 30 District Headquarters as well as linking Districts Headquarters to the Divisional Headquarters, Taluk Headquarters and Block Headquarters,” he said.
The Chief minister said that the Tamil Nadu government was committed to harness e-Governance as an enabler for ushering in a new era of digital governance where services will be delivered to the citizens through convenient and easily accessible delivery channels for creation of a model ‘e-Governed State’ in the country.
“The Government has decided to establish a Directorate of e Governance for this purpose. Action Plans are being prepared for introducing e-Governance in 12 State Government Departments under the National e-Governance Programme of the Government of India. These Plans would be implemented very shortly,” he said adding that as a result, citizens will get services in a responsible, transparent and efficient manner.
“In order to empower the people in the rural areas and to bridge the digital divide, a framework for rural service delivery through Village Resources and Service Center (VRSC) is being under taken. This project will provide all services and information of the Government at the doorsteps of the common man,” the Chief minister informed.
IT Parks in tier-2 cities
Pointing out his announcement in 2000 during the inauguration of the TIDEL Park, he said that a second TIDEL Park would be established at Taramani in Chennai.
“The Government is keen that the IT revolution should not be confined to Chennai alone. It is firmly committed to spread the IT revolution to other Towns of Tamil Nadu. It has therefore decided to set up IT Parks in Coimbatore, Madurai, Trichy, Salem and Tirunelveli apart from Chennai announced earlier. These would be joint ventures between the Government of Tamil Nadu and The Software Technology Parks of India (STPI), a body under the Government of India,” he informed.
The Chief minister said that while this would ensure that the youth of Tamil Nadu get increased employment opportunities, it would also pave the way for rapid economic growth.
“A number of requests have been received from Honorable Members for the establishment of IT Parks in their respective Constituencies. Even though it is our desire to set up such parks in every Constituency, this is not feasible. However, if individuals in the Private sector come forward to establish such Parks, Government will render all necessary assistance and cooperation,” he said further.
Stating that one of the main reasons for the spectacular growth of the IT Industry in Tamil Nadu was the availability of the abundant pool of skilled human resources, he said that apart from Engineering, there is a substantial pool of Diploma Holders and Graduates in Arts and Science, who are suitable for the IT Industry.
“In order to further strengthen this, the Human Resources Development Ministry of the Central Government has decided to establish a National Centre of Excellence called "Indian Institute of Information Technology, Design and Manufacturing" meeting international standards, at Chennai,” the Chief minister added.
“As land had not been entrusted to Central Government since 2003, and as no decision had been taken, the construction of buildings and commencement of this prestigious institution has been delayed. As soon as the new Government has assumed charge, decision has been taken to provide the required land to the Central Government and render necessary cooperation,” he said adding that the establishment of this prestigious institution in Tamil Nadu would create a new Chapter in the development of the IT Industry in Tamil Nadu.
The Chief minister said that about 143 IT Parks with a built up area of 480 lakh square feet are being constructed in Tamil Nadu in the private sector, which would provide direct employment opportunities to about 4 lakh persons. “The Government is aware that this rapid increase of population will pose a strain on the existing infrastructure of Chennai city,” he said.
“In order to meet this challenge,” the Chief minister said: “the Government of Tamil Nadu in various Departments is launching a number of farsighted schemes. The long delayed IT Expressway project has been put on the fast track and will be completed very soon. A master plan is being formulated to provide basic amenities of power, roads, drinking water, apart from sewerage and storm water drainage to meet the demands of the increasing population of Chennai Metropolitan area. A Metro Rail Project has also been planned for improving the transportation needs of the Metropolis. The creation of satellite towns near Chennai has also been planned to ease the pressure on Chennai’s infrastructure.”
“All these infrastructural developments will ensure that Chennai continues to be a preferred destination for national and international investors,” he said.
The Chief minister also informed of streamlining the activities of the State-owned Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu (ELCOT), and establishing 16 contact centers in various countries of the Tamil Virtual University.
In his concluding remarks, the Chief minister said that the Government of Tamil Nadu would continuously strive for the growth of the IT sector in Tamil Nadu in order to ensure that it reaches the first place among the States of India.
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