India to discuss outsourcing curbs with Obama (Lead)

October 28th, 2010 - 8:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Bangalore, Oct 28 (IANS) The Indian government will discuss a host of issues, including the outsourcing curbs, with US President Barack Obama during his visit to India November 6-9, union Minister of State for Communications and Information Tachnology T Sachin Pilot said Thursday.

“We will be discussing a host of issues with Obama during his visit to India November 6-8. Issues related to the IT industry, including hike in US visa fee and outsourcing curbs will also be taken up with him by our government,” Pilot told reporters on the margins of Bangalore IT.Biz 2010 here here.

Noting that concerns of the IT industry have already been conveyed to the highest levels in the US administration, Pilot said that the government would adequately address issues pertaining to the growth of the industry.

“The Indian IT sector is a very strong and resilient industry. No matter what strategies or challenges it faces from others, it will overcome all of them, as it has young, energetic and talented people, who understand the needs of the country and the world better,” Pilot said after unveiling the three-day premier event.

Asserting that the Indian IT industry was matured and strong enough to deal with any challenge that may come up, he said that information and communication technologies (ICT) have to reach out to the farthest parts of the country.

“The IT industry and other stakeholders have to focus on the farthest, remote and rural areas. I believe that computer penetration, internet broadband services and e-governance must be implemented in rural areas expeditiously,” Pilot said.

Referring to the launch of electronic public call offices (ePCOs) in Karnataka, Pilot said the ePCOs would ensure and enable the people in rural areas access government services at reasonable rates.

“It will also create much more transparency and ensure delivery of services at the last mile. We feel that e-governance has to be a reality and that can be possible when we target the 600,000-odd villages across the country,” Pilot pointed out.

Promoted by the state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Karnataka State Electronics Development Corporation Ltd (Keonics) with global chip maker Intel and Suvidha Group, the ePCOs will be set up across the state to ensure employment to those who were operating PCOs before the mobile revolution rendered landline phones redundant.

“About 5,000 e-PCOs will be set up across the state this fiscal year (2010-11) with a computer and high speed broadband connectivity for internet facility to offer a range of e-services, including utility payments, booking of air, train and bus tickets and e-mail for citizens in urban and rural areas,” state Indormation Technology Minister Katta Subramanya Naidu said on the occasion.

The Karnataka government has taken the initiative to bailout about 200,000 PCOs across the state affected by the mobile revolution, by equipping them with a computer and internet for providing a range of e-services to citizens and ensure steady income for self-employed operators.

“Apart from continuing its robust growth on the export front and consolidate its leadership in the global arena, the IT industry should breakdown barriers that exist across the country by using ICT and improve the living standards of the ordinary people,” Pilot told about 600 delegates participating in the event.

Exhorting the ICT companies to diversify their export destinations beyond the US and Europe to South America, Africa and Asia, Pilot said they should avoid commoditising their services by moving up the value chain and foraying into niche services through innovation and intellectual property.

“The industry also needs to replicate the success it achieved in the software services in electronics hardware industry, which is projected to grow exponentially to $125 billion by 2015 and $400 billion by 2020 from $45 billion in 2010,” Pilot noted.

Calling upon the industry to invest more in electronics hardware, Pilot said increasing the production of electronic goods and consumer durables and ICT products to meet the projected demand, hardware manufacturing was imperative. Rapid growth of the electronics hardware industry will not only create thousands of jobs, but also enable us to achieve self-reliance as in the software sector,” Pilot added.

Delivering the presidential address, Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa said the state government was revising its ICT policy to include telecom as mobile telephony was bound to be the growth engine of the rural economy.

“The revised ICT policy will be announced soon. Electronic hardware also has tremendous potential as there is huge domestic market for electronic products. A policy is under consideration to promote electronics hardware manufacturing in the state,” Yeddyurappa said.

Among the host of dignitaries present on the occasion were Chilean Ambassador Cristian Barros, Union IT Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma, Infosys Chief Executive S. Gopalakrishnan and Texas Instruments India Managing Director Biswadip Mitra.

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