IT honchos focus on NE digital growth

Amtron managing director M.K. Yadava lights the inaugural lamp as CEO and managing direct of ABP Pvt Ltd and chairman of NICT, D.D. Purkayastha (in suit), looks on in Guwahati on Thursday. Picture by UB Photos

Guwahati, Sept. 7: The Assam Electronics Development Corporation Limited, having digitalised the state excise department, now plans to put the forest department online, Amtron managing director M.K. Yadava said at the 13th edition of the NICT that began here today.

Amtron is a co-sponsor of the Northeast Information and Communication Technology (NICT), the region’s leading business-technology-leadership conference, which has been organised by The Telegraph along with the department of information technology, Assam, at Radisson Blu here. The conference will conclude tomorrow.

“We have successfully brought the state excise department online and all payments by the treasury to suppliers are now done on real-time basis with the help of the portal. Now the government has entrusted us with the task of bringing the forest department online. These are revenue-generating departments and online payments will eliminate the scope for corruption. A gateway from Cox’s Bazaar to Agartala has been set up by BSNL with a 10 Gbps connection. We want to extend it till Guwahati with a 1-2 TB link. This is one of the requirements for digital connectivity and IT growth of the region,” Yadava said.

He said the state government would soon bring all gaon panchayats online. Work on a model online gram panchayat at Khetri in Kamrup district is under way. He also said the city’s delayed IT park would soon see the light of the day as land acquisition has begun. He described the NICT as a flagship event of Guwahati and a premier IT event that has sentimental value for its regular participants. He said its theme, Digitally Transforming Northeast, was relevant.

Earlier, delivering the welcome speech, D.D. Purkayastha, managing director and CEO of ABP Pvt Ltd and chairman of NICT, defined the event as the leading business and technology convention of the region which was started 12 years back as a platform to showcase the region to the IT community and investors of the country.

“The event has been instrumental in driving the growth of the IT sector in the region and enrich the lives of the people. The event has been made possible by The Telegraph and the government of Assam. Since the launch of the Guwahati edition of The Telegraph in 1997, it has been playing a leading role in integrating the social values of the people in this region,” Purkayastha said.

“The region has a huge potential due to the abundance of rich natural and human resources. The key objectives of the conference include driving the growth of the telecom sector and improving Internet connectivity in the face of hostile terrain and conditions, spearheading the growth of SMEs which have the potential to take the country forward, helping in the process to digitally transform the region to drive economic growth and invigorating the people. NICT has been doing it in the past and will continue to do so in the years to come,” he added.

He also spoke about The Telegraph Northeast Excellence Awards 2017 which celebrates the contributions of 10 individuals from eight northeastern states to the growth and development of the region.

President of the Federation of Industry and Commerce of North Eastern Region (Finer) Pabitra Buragohain spoke of the need for sustainable economic growth of IT firms in the region. Finer is a partner of the NICT event.

“Largescale industries are not viable in the absence of core competencies. Medium and small scale industries are driving the engine of economic growth in the country. In countries like China and Japan, SMEs constitute 97 to 98 per cent of the industries, contributing around 40 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). About 70 to 80 per cent employment is generated from this sector,” he said.

“The slow pace of industrialisation can be attributed to the mindset of society which is not ready to take risks. There is a need for hand-holding and capacity utilisation by the government. The region’s human resources are going to other areas in search of employment and entrepreneurial facilities. IT companies should be provided land and other facilities here,” Buragohain added.

The director of the National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology, Krishnacharyya Baruah, said 19 lakh people in the age group of 14 to 60 will be trained in information technology in the rural areas of the state.

“There are 41 training centres, 900 accredited centres and 8,000 facilitation centres in the country. Of these, 20 are in the region. Each state of the region has at least one centre. Seven of them are located in Assam and two new centres are coming up in Majuli and Kaliabor. We will provide skill training as well. Already 35,000 people from SC and ST communities have been provided training,” he said.

Prabir Kumar Das, director of the Software Technology Parks of India in Guwahati, spoke about the necessity of digital inclusiveness and setting up of BPOs in the region. “Under the North East BPO Promotion Scheme, 5,000 seats for BPO training have been allotted for the region. Already 2,000 seats have been availed of. The Centre will provide 50 per cent of the training cost per trainee, upto a maximum of Rs 1 lakh. Three BPOs have already been set up in the city. There is scope for employing 50,000 youths in BPOs in the region,” he said.

In the theme session on Digitally Transforming Northeast, AdarshKaul, Avaya head of marketing (India and SAARC), Prasun Talukdar, country manager at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Sunando Shome, state business head at Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, spoke about latest technologies and their application for digital transformation of the region.

The last session of the day was on Re-Imagining the Citizen Experience of Northeast. P.V.S.L.N. Murthy, chief general manager (Northeast), SBI, said adoption of technology in the Northeast has been very good in the banking sector. He said there are issues of connectivity in Arunachal Pradesh and the government needs to look into it.

ALI FAUZ HASSAN Telegraph India

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