IT Taskforce
Taskforce Diary


Minutes of the meeting of the
National Task Force on Information Technology and Software Development
held under the chairmanship of
Professor M. G. K. Menon, Co-Chairperson
Co-Chairperson of the National Task Force.

Date    :  3rd April 1999

The meeting was chaired by Professor M. G. K. Menon, Co-Chairperson, National Task Force on Information Technology & Software Development. List of memebrs and invitees who attended the meeting is enclosed at Annexure I.

Prof. M. G. K. Menon, in his opening remarks expressed the view that the suggestion for establishing the Ministry of Informatics by merging Department of Telecommunications, Department of Electronics and Ministry of Information & Broadcasting should to be taken up at a higher level and therefore need not be discussed in the Task Force. Dr. Seshagiri clarified that this suggestion was made by Shri Chandrababu Naidu, Chief Minister, Andhra Pradesh and Co-Chairperson of the National task Force on IT & Software Development in his submission to the Prime Minister. Prof. Menon felt that while the Task Force should highlight the urgent need of facilitating the convergence of computers, telecommunications and broadcasting technologies, the issue of formation of the combined ministry may be kept out of the scope of discussions at the Task Force.

Prof. Menon then invited the members to express their views on various aspects of the Background Report 3 (BR-3).

The summary of deliberations in the meeting is given below:

  1. Page 6: Para 2 : Enhancing Per Capita Productivity
  2. With regard to enhancing the per capita productivity of IT professionals at the level higher than that of Israel and USA, it was felt that while we may retain the reference to Israel, the reference to USA may be deleted as USA being a major market for Indian companies an intent of surpassing USA may affect marketing opportunities for Indian companies in that country.

  3. Page 6: Para 4 : Salary Structure
  4. With regard to the suggestion for administrative departments to ensure appropriate salary levels in this sector, it was felt that this may become counter productive as it may cause further brain drain of Indian IT professionals. It was therefore suggested that the salary issue may be left to the market forces only.

  5. Page 7: Para 8 : Copyright
  6. The enforcement of existing laws is difficult merely through the provision of specialized legal support, since the Act has to be implemented within the existing judicial system.

  7. Page 9: Income Tax
  8. The provision of 50% is not clearly mentioned in Section 80HHE. It should be made applicable to product software export revenue also.

  9. Page 10: Brand Building
  10. The India Brand Equity Fund should be made use of more effectively to develop brand image for Indian software products.

  11. Page 10 : Price Preference
  12. The price preference to software companies is not considered to be an attractive enough incentive for promoting indigenous software. Instead, the companies should be given incentives at the input stage such as 133% depreciation by users (compared to 100% for imported packages). In addition, mechanisms should be put in place to make it easier for Indian organizations, particularly in government, to use the indigenous products and give domain expertise to help improve the products for attaining international standards. It was felt that non-fiscal incentives to IT companies through appropriate ‘enabling provisions’ such as large government and corporate users collaborating with IT companies will go a long way in building products requiring intensive Domain Knowledge.

  13. Page 10: Para 15 : Listing on International Stock Exchanges
  14. There is a need to evolve an institutional mechanism to ensure that only the right kind of companies can get listed on international stock exchanges such as NASDAQ, NYSE. In the absence of such a mechanism the credibility of even the good Indian companies may get adversely affected as has happened in case of Chinese companies.

    Electronic Commerce (EC) will not effect the actual movement of goods being physically traded. Similarly, the need for personnel to travel and work at user locations will not be reduced due to network based software development. EC makes the turn-around time faster.

  15. Page 11: Para 16 : Incentives to Product Development
  16. Task Force should recommend same level of incentives for all software products and services instead of identifying a few selected areas. In view of this, the paragraph referring to ERP will be dropped.

    Due to extensive Net specific product development and newly emerging concept of ‘component’ based products, it is possible to achieve high turn-around time in product development, marketing and support. These trends are threatening conventional large software development. Indians have excelled in these newly emerging technologies around the world using innovative concepts of product development.

    The component based development requires extensive patenting of small products/components.

  17. Page 12: Call Centres
  18. Call Centres for a variety of services offer a very large potential in the area of IT-enabled services. However, we neither have adequate infrastructure nor the administrative mechanism to support extension of Toll Free telephone services from developed countries such as US and Europe for Call Centres based in India to support customers located in these regions. For enabling establishment of such services in India, it is essential to have a Single Window Clearance in DOT for this purpose.

  19. Page 24: Para 11(iii)
  20. This para may be dropped.

  21. Page 25: Para 13 : Service Rules Amendment
  22. Amendment to service rules should be done with care to ensure that the normal administrative functions are not affected and procedures are not manipulated to create pecuniary advantage to a section of the employees who may not be adequately innovative and productive.

  23. Suggestions on HRD Report
  24. With regard to the discussion on various points in HRD report such as facilities similar to minority institutions, it was clarified that the final version of the HRD Working Group report, which was circulated to the members in the meeting, has already taken care of all these issues.

  25. Regarding Project Sankhya Vahini, it was suggested that the detailed project description may be dropped and only the objectives of the project are included in the report.
  26. Funding for the implementation of the recommendations/policies in this report will be mobilised from the 1 to 3 percent of the sectoral Plan Budget already approved by the Cabinet under IT Action Plan - Part I as well as funds from bilateral and multilateral agencies and corporate investments including private sources.

Annexure-I

List of participants in the meeting of the National Task Force
on
Information Technology and Software Development |
held on 3rd April 1999

  1. Professor M.G.K. Menon
  2. Co-Chairperson, National Task Force on IT & SD Chairman

  3. Dr. N. Seshagiri
  4. Member Convener,
    National Task Force on IT & SD

  5. Shri P.R. Dasgupta,
  6. Secretary, Department of Education

  7. Shri P.G. Mankad,
  8. Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting

  9. Shri Ravindra Gupta,
  10. Secretary, Department of Electronics

  11. Shri P.P. Prabhu,
  12. Secretary, Ministry of Commerce

  13. Shri Anil Bakht,
  14. Managing Director, Eastern Software

  15. Shri Dewang Mehta,
  16. President, NASSCOM

  17. Shri R.S. Sharma,
  18. Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs,
    Ministry of Finance

  19. Shri Ashok Soota,
  20. Vice Chairman, WIPRO Limited

  21. Commodore Prem Chand
  22. ADG, WESEE

  23. Shri R.S. Pawar,
  24. Managing Director, NIIT Ltd.

  25. Shri Y.S. Rajan,
  26. Sr. Adviser (Technology), CII

  27. Lt. Gen. S.S. Mehta,
  28. Deputy Chief of Army Staff (P&S), Army Hq,

  29. Shri N.K. Sinha,
  30. Member, Telecom Commission

  31. Dr. T.H. Chowdary,
  32. IT Adviser, Govt. of Andhra Pradesh

  33. Professor P.V. Indiresan
  34. Indian National Academy of Engg.

  35. Shri Shanti Narain,
  36. Member (Traffic), Railway Board

  37. Dr. N. Vijayaditya,
  38. Deputy Director General, NIC

  39. Dr. B.K. Gairola,
  40. Deputy Director General, NIC

  41. Dr. K.K. Bajaj,
  42. Deputy Director General, NIC

  43. Dr. Y.K. Sharma,
  44. Deputy Director General, NIC

  45. Shri Satender Singh,
  46. Director, Ministry of Human Resource Development

  47. Shri Randeep Sudan,
    Special Secretary to the Chief Minister of AP



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