Union Budget 2014-15 To Take The Digital Route
Digital technologies and practices are becoming the buzzwords in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and the new government at the Center would not to miss out the digital flavor. At least that’s what the stakeholders of the telecom and information technology (IT) sectors are expecting from Finance Minister Arun Jaitley who will be presenting the budget details tomorrow at the Parliament. They believe that it should settle various taxation issues and invite fresh investment, thereby bringing a much-needed recovery in the economy.
The Telecom and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has also hinted that projects such as digitally connected universities, and Wi-Fi and broadband connections in all schools, enterprises and other public places will soon become a reality. He will also focus on recouping the electronic sector in the Union Budget this year.
While Prasad has recently met heads of some of the IT companies in India to discuss to resolve some of these critical issues hampering the growth of the industry, the government said it is bullish on the e-governance initiatives to facilitate growth and development in the economy. There are talks of starting a web portal wherein all the lost children’s pictures can be uploaded, so that their parents can identify and find the children sooner.
“The Prime Minister is very keen on digital connectivity and in case of IT and electronics, there are immense potential. The import bill of electronics could be over $400 billion in the next 5 years, and, therefore, we are keen on manufacturing. Why can’t we manufacture mobile phones here,” he said, adding that the Government is promoting electronic clusters to be set up, many of the Chief Ministers are now upbeat about it and are requesting for setting up manufacturing clusters in their States.
Keeping pace with the changing technology landscape, the government said it is keen on taking the digital route, with a focus on emerging technologies such as cloud computing, mobile, analytics and social media. In fact, the government is looking to use existing platforms such as Aadhaar, payment gateways, and nother real-time applications to step up its digital efforts. Social media is also seen as a big boost to the economy, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently said that platforms like Facebook and Twitter could be used as a critical element for effective governance and for better interaction between the people and governments.
Prasad who also believes that his Government is all for the freedom and creativity of the social media, warned that ‘abuses should not be promoted’ through this platform, which has been prohibited by Section 66A of the IT Act.
The Government of India is also looking to deploy cloud computing in a big way, especially in some of its multi-billion dollar projects some of these to focus on e-governance such as pensions, banking, insurance and judiciary. Six of these projects will be kick-started within a month’s time, after an evaluation of what technological changes can be brought about in these to improve efficiency and provide better citizen services, a senior official of the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) told in an interview with ET.
At a recent speech President Pranab Mukherjee also noted “Digital India would be the backbone of the government’s new ways of working.” He mentioned that emerging technologies such as cloud, mobile and social media when used actively can lead to greater development of the country, as it would ensure transparency in decision-making, enable service delivery and dilute corruption.
A recent Gartner study predicts that governments will be at risk of entering a long-term technological deficiency if they fail to recognize high-value areas — such as mobile services, business analytics and public cloud solutions and reward digitally savvy executives. Towards that end, Rick Howard, research director at Gartner indicates “The most successful government organizations will relish the opportunity to manage IT effectively in an increasingly diverse ecosystem of vendors and solutions,” he notes adding that they will combine specialized knowledge of government business practices and policies with the executive role, in order to promote architecture standardization, interoperability, robustness, agility and security.
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