Members of the National Task Force on Information Technology and Software Development today met the Prime Minister, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and submitted to him its first report called the 'Information Technology Action Plan'. It was presented to the Prime Minister by Shri Jaswant Singh, Chairman of the Task Force, at a meeting held in Parliament House this afternoon.
The Prime Minister expressed appreciation and happiness at the "magnificent work" done by the Task Force and congratulated its members for their dedication, commitment and competence.
The Task Force was constituted on May 22, 1998 through a Notification issued by the Office of the Prime Minister. It was given two major assignments. The first one, to be completed in 30 days, required the Task Force to identify bottlenecks in the path of development of IT in India and recommend measures to remove them. The second task, to be completed in 90 days, was the formulation of a draft of the National Informatics Policy.
The report submitted to the Prime Minister contains 108 recommendations which cover not only bottleneck issues but also a wide range of promotional issues. What is more, the Task Force has held in-depth discussions with the ministries and departments concerned and obtained their prior approval on most of the recommendations aimed at de-bottlenecking development of IT and enabling Indian software developers to establish global dominance in a short time.
The IT Action Plan aims at enabling India to achieve annual software and IT services exports worth $50 billion in the next ten years. The report has a special section on 'IT For All by 2008', whose centre-piece is a major national campaign called 'Operation Knowledge' focusing on the universalisation of IT and IT-based education at all levels of the education pyramid.
"In submitting this unanimous report," Shri Jaswant Singh told the Prime Minister, "the Task Force has more than accomplished the first mandate given by the Office of the Prime Minister: As the preamble to the report states, 'This is the first time in India that representatives of so many ministries, departments, industry associations, business houses, educational institutions and State Governments interacted so intensively and in such a shot period of time to cover so many bottleneck and promotional areas in Information Technology. It is also the first time that agreement was reached and concurrence received on most points in the Action Plan'."
Members of the Task Force explained to the Prime Minister the salient features of the Action Plan. Shri Singh thanked the Prime Minister for his encouragement and personal support received in the course of the preparation of this Report. He expressed confidence that the Government will initiate necessary action for the formal acceptance of the recommendations at the earliest.
Those who met the Prime Minister included, besides Shri Jaswant Singh, Prof.M.G.K.Menon, Co-Chairperson of the Task Force; Dr. N. Seshagiri, Director General, NIC, and member-convenor of the Task Force; and the following members: Shri A.V. Gokak, Chairman, Telecom Commission and Secretary, DoT; Shri Montek Singh Ahuluwalia, Secretary, Finance; Shri N. Vittal, Chairman, PESB; Shri T.H. Chowdary, Information Technology Advisor to the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh; Shri P.P. Prabhu, Secretary, Commerce; Shri Ravindra Gupta, Secretary, DoE; Major General S.S. Mehta, Dy. Chief of Army Staff; Commodore Prem Chand, Addl. DG, WESEE, Navy; Shri Dewang Mehta, Executive Director, NASSCOM; Dr. Y.S. Rajan, Senor Advisor, Technology, CII; Shri Anil Bakht, CMD, Eastern Software Systems; and Sudheendra Kulkarni, Director, Communications and Research, PMO, who coordinated the activities of the Task Force from the Prime Ministerís Office.
Earlier in the day, the Task Force met at Yojana Bhavan under the chairmanship of Shri Jaswant Singh and formally endorsed the 'Information Technology Action Plan'.