BANGALORE, INDIA: India's premier information and communication technology (ICT) event 'Bangalore IT.biz 2010' got underway on Oct. 28 at the Lalit Ashok, Bangalore on Thursday on an upbeat note, with the IT industry returning to the growth path after a year of downturn.
With "Billion-strong Empowered by ICT" as the theme of the conference, the inaugural session of three-day event witnessed the launch of the electronic public call offices (e-PCOs) in Karnataka under the public-private partnership by chief guest, Union Minister of State for Communications and IT Sachin Pilot.
Promoted by state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Karnataka State Electronics Development Corp. Ltd (Keonics) with global chip maker Intel and Suvidha Group, the ePCOs will be set up across the state to ensure employment to those who were operating PCOs before the mobile revolution rendered landline phone redundant.
"About 5,000 e-PCOs will be set up across the state this fiscal year with a computer and high speed broadband connectivity for Internet facility to offer a range of e-services, including utility payments, booking of air, train and bus tickets and e-mail for citizens in urban and rural areas," state IT and BT (biotechnology) Minister Katta Subramanya Naidu.
The Karnataka government has taken the initiative to bail out about 200,000 PCOs across the state affected by the mobile revolution, by equipping them with a computer and Internet for providing a range of e-services to citizens and ensure steady income for self-employed operators.
Naidu also announced that the state government would soon enter into a bilateral agreement with the Israeli industry to share latest technologies and collaborate in research and development projects.
"Keonics and the Israeli industry centre (Matimop) will soon sign the joint agreement to facilitate the sharing of ICT for the benefit of the people spawning urban and rural areas," Naidu told about 600 delegates participating in the event.
Though Union Finance Minister Mr.Pranab Mukherjee and Telecom Minister A. Raja were to attend the inaugural event, their absence was made up by young Sachin Pilot, who inspired IT honchos and delegates by his spirited speech, exhorting them to diversify their export destinations to South America, Africa and Asia, avoid commoditizing their services and replicate the software success in hardware (electronic products).
"The prowess and tremendous progress of the Indian IT industry despite global downturn once again demonstrated that the sector is not only resilient to sustain robust growth, but also has the talent and resources to thrive in the global arena," Pilot said.
Delivering the presidential address, Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa said the state government was revising its ICT policy to include telecom as mobile telephony was bound to be the growth engine of the rural economy.
"The revised ICT policy will be announced soon. Electronic hardware also has tremendous potential as there is huge domestic market for electronic products. A policy is under consideration to promote electronics hardware manufacturing in the state," Yeddyurappa said.
Among the host of dignitaries present on the occasion were Chilean Ambassador Cristian Barros, Union IT Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma, Infosys chief executive S. Gopalakrishnan and Texas Instruments India MD, Biswadip Mitra.
The event concluded on October 30.