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`ICT must be made more affordable'

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Mr Shiv Nadar, Chairman, CEO and President, HCL Technologies Ltd (right), and Dr Raj Reddy, Professor of Computer Science and Robotics, Carnegie Mellon University, at a press conference in Chennai on Thursday.

CHENNAI, Dec. 26

THE Indian Government should provide free broadband Internet to make ICT (information, communication and technology) affordable in the country, Dr Raj Reddy, University Professor, Computer Science and Robotics, School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University, said.

Speaking at a function at the SSN School of Advanced Software Engineering here today, Dr Reddy said that providing free broadband would cost only one per cent (about Rs 6,000 crore) of the cost of building roads in the country. "ICT is going to be the life blood of the 21st century. In future, ICT would be as precious as oxygen and water," he added.

According to Dr Reddy, recipient of the Padma Bhushan award in 2001, ICT was not a cure for all of India's problems. It is only a tool to facilitate and enable affordable solutions for economic development (like job creation), social development (improve literacy and increase transparency) and environmental (like pollution monitoring and logistics support for disaster recovery), he added.

ICT cannot improve the quality of life but can facilitate access that can improve quality of life such as providing access to entertainment and provide access to education and life-long learning. Further, ICT cannot make one literate but can enable learning independent of age and physical limitation, he added.

Meanwhile, the first batch of five students successfully completed the Software Engineering curriculum of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). The students will now proceed to CMU for further studies towards a Masters Degree with specialisation in software engineering (MS IT/SE), said Mr Shiv Nadar, Chairman, President and CEO, HCL Technologies. Mr Nadar, along with his brother, late Justice Pratap Singh, founded the school located about 25 km on the Old Mahabalipuram Road.

The SSN School in collaboration with CMU offers the Masters Degree programme. The one-and-half year programme constitutes one year of study at the school and continue further studies at the CMU for six months, he added.

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