Indian ICT Minister Unveils Draft Of Country’s New IT Policy; Invites Comments

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Kapil Sibal, the Indian Minister of Communications and IT released a draft of the country’s new National Policy on Information Technology, 2011. “The policy seeks to achieve the twin goals of bringing the full power of ICT within the reach of the whole of India, and harnessing the capability and human resources of the whole of India to enable India to emerge as the Global Hub and Destination for IT and ITeS Services by 2022”, according to a statement by the ministry. “To strengthen and enhance India’s position as the Global IT hub and to use IT as an engine for rapid, inclusive and sustainable growth in the national economy,” is the country’s vision as articulated in the new policy statement.

The Indian government has also released its policy on Electronics. You can find the policy here. The country articulates its electronics vision as, “To create a globally competitive electronics design and manufacturing industry to meet the country’s needs and serve the international market”. The ministry has made both the drafts available on the department’s website and has invited discussion on the matter.

The Indian IT and ITES sector currently employs over 2.5 million skilled people and has been one of the major employment generators in the last two decades. Some 80 per cent revenues of India’s $88 billion IT industry come from exports. The new policy aims to increase revenues of IT and ITES Industry from $88 billion at present to $300 billion by 2020, and aims to make at least one individual in every household e-literate, among other things. You can find the full text of the policy here.

In the electronics sector, domestic demand is expected to be driven by growth in income levels leading to higher off-take of electronics products, automation demands of corporate sector and the government’s focus on e- governance. The domestic production in 2008-09 was about $20 billion, according to the policy statement. However, the actual value-addition in the domestically produced electronic product is very low, ranging between 5 to 10 per cent in most cases. At the current rate of growth, the domestic production can cater to a demand of $100 billion in 2020 as against a demand of $400 billion and the rest would have to be met by imports, according to the Indian ICT ministry.

Kapil Sibal (Minsiter of  Information Technology and Commerce, India): Given its current global position in the IT and ITES sector, India is well positioned to enhance and leverage its existing IT capabilities for a leadership role… On the domestic front, use of IT in all sectors can transform our economy, enhance equity and help the nation to rapidly improve its development indices.