Ravi Shankar Prasad, union minister for communication and information technology, has unveiled Prime Minister Modi’s ‘digital India’ dream to bridge the gap between urban and rural India while laying the foundation stone of the country’s first two electronic manufacturing clusters- one in Jabalpur and another in Bhopal.
Prasad claimed that the NDA government has set a target to connect all villages in the country with optical fibre network. By the end of this fiscal year the government targets to connect 50,000 villages with broadband connectivity. By 2015-16, another one lakh hamlets will be linked and yet another one lakh rural habitations by 2016-17. "This is our Bharat Jodo Abhiyan (Unite India Movement) to take Wi-Fi connection to our villages," said Prasad.
He told that Modi government will soon bring a new BPO policy to include youth of small towns in business process outsourcing jobs.
He explained that there are youths from small towns of Madhya Pradesh and Bihar in IT hubs like Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai who work in BPO offices. The new BPO policy will ensure that this young crowd does not have to leave their states in search of employment.
The minister said, "The calculation is simple. It is IT (India’s talent) + IT (information technology) = IT (India tomorrow)." Prasad explained that 90 crore mobile phones are being used in the country along with SIM cards and smart cards, and yet none of it is manufactured here. "We import $100 billion of electronics which is set quadruple to $ 400 billion and the country would pay more than we do for petrol. This is why a meeting of all IT secretaries of states was called and letters reached the chief ministers," he explained.
He announced that Rs 38 crore would be given by the Centre to set up the two manufacturing clusters. In addition to this, if any company starts producing electronics and allied goods the Centre will get a support with 20% of the installation costs. He further added, "Modi government has agreed to 49% foreign direct investment in defence manufacturing. And 60% of these defence equipment are essentially electronic goods. We have to start manufacturing electronics for our defence machinery. The summary of it all is to Make in India – invest and manufacture here."