Government committed to bridging digital divide: President

NEW DELHI: Appreciating the need for empowering the citizen with modern information technology, President APJ Abdul Kalam today announced that the year 2007 will be the ‘Year of Broadband’ as the government was committed to bridging the digital divide by providing broadband coverage throughout the country.

In his address to the joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament on the opening day of the Budget session, Dr Kalam said, "Our Information Technology sector continues to develop and remain globally competitive," adding that, "My government will take forward the National Identity Card Project under the National e-Governance Plan for nationwide roll-out in a phased manner so as to ensure better delivery of services to our citizens."

He said the government was encouraging the growth of the electronic hardware industry and the semiconductor industry.

He also said the Right to Information Act was one means of empowering citizens, adding that it had often been said that eternal vigilance is the price of democracy.

The President said a Vision for the development of an empowered S&T base by 2015 had been prepared. Steps will be taken to attract talent, rejuvenate university research, enable women scientists to re-enter careers in science, strengthen technology business incubation processes, promote excellence in research, engage private sector in R&D and create greater science awareness and a scientific temper among the people. The financial allocation for science and technology will be increased from less than 1% of GDP to 2% of GDP.

He said that to sustain the efforts in the advanced fields of modern science and technology, there was need to increase the number of scientists and improve the quality of Indian science. The Government was deeply concerned about the inadequate enrolment of students in basic sciences and said Indian science is lagging behind other newly industrializing economies. India needs a new thrust in the field of science and technology.

The National Knowledge Commission had submitted its first report placing emphasis on the need to invest in education at all levels of the knowledge pyramid. Several new Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research, Indian Institutes of Technology and Indian Institutes of Information Technology were proposed to be set up in various parts of the country.


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