Empowering the youth

T.E. Raja Simhan | Updated on September 14, 2011

CHENNAI; A laptop meant for distribution, which will begin on September 15. Photo: Special Arrangement   -  THE HINDU

Laptop chart

Tamil Nadu has scientific and social infrastructure and the human resources, which are required for attracting IT investments. By harnessing the above resources, it becomes necessary to use information, communication and technology (ICT) tools to extend the benefits offered by Government to the citizens and take the State to an incomparable position in the IT sector in the country.

Tamil Nadu is a front-runner among the States in ICT-enabled Governance, by successfully implementing various e-Governance programmes of the State Government and also the schemes under the National e-Governance Plan.

While the Rs 10,000-crore ambitious laptop scheme will make Tamil Nadu proud as being the first state to launch such a scheme, the State Government has announced several welfare schemes by using ICT that will benefit people both in the urban and rural areas.

Laptop scheme

The free laptop scheme of the State Government to be launched on September 15 to coincide with the birth anniversary of the former chief minister, C.N. Annadurai, is likely to benefit nearly 68 lakh students.

Under the scheme, a poll promise of the Chief Minister, Ms J. Jayalalithaa, the Government will distribute 9.12 lakh laptops in the current financial year and the balance in the next four years. The project will entail a cost of Rs 10,200 crore, the Government has allocated Rs 912 crore for the distribution of the 9.12-lakh laptops in the first year.

For distribution, the Government has assigned Electronic Corporation of Tamil Nadu (Elcot) as the nodal agency, considering its rich experience and performance on large-scale procurement.

For procurement of laptops, Elcot recently issued a global tender for the 9.12-lakh laptops to be supplied in the first phase in this financial year. IT majors Hewlett-Packard and Acer have already supplied 4,000 and 2,000 laptops, respectively, for the September 15 launch. For the remaining nine lakh laptops, the bidding process is still on, a Government official recently said.

Lower price

Each laptop will cost nearly Rs 14,000, which is lower than the Rs 15,000 anticipated for the device of the configuration described in the tender.

The specification includes 14-inch LED display and pre-loaded operating system of dual booting — Windows starter edition with anti-virus for one year licence and Linux. While the market price for such a configuration could be nearly Rs 21,000, the State Government managed to get it for Rs 14,000, the sources said.

The sources said the 6,600 units will be given at the inauguration that will happen across all the districts. The rest will be distributed in a phased manner.

A company need not have a manufacturing base in India — it could import, but would need to have a representative in India. The bidder should have annual manufacturing capacity of at least one lakh units a year and should have sold at least 50,000 laptops in any one of the previous three audited years.

Broadband connectivity to panchayats

During her previous tenure as Chief Minister, Ms Jayalalithaa had provided computers to all the12,618 village panchayats in the year 2005. She has now decided to provide broadband connectivity to all these village panchayat Offices. The cost per broadband connectivity works out to Rs 7,000 per annum and the total recurring cost for all the village panchayats approximately works out to Rs 10 crore.

Citizen Contact Centre

To furnish details required by the citizen, enhance the citizen-Government interaction and also to deliver the services of various departments to citizens, the Government has decided to set up a Citizen Contact Centre at Chennai at a cost of Rs 6 crore. Services such as Grievance Redressal, providing clarifications on Government Schemes, contact details of Government Offices, status of applications/petitions seeking services will be offered through this centre.

Rural BPO Policy

To create employment opportunities for the rural youth in the IT sector, Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) Centres will be established in rural areas.

An enhanced, restructured rural BPO policy will be devised so as to attract willing entrepreneurs to set up their centres in rural areas.

By establishing these Centres, job opportunities will be created in rural areas on par with the urban areas. As a first step, a rural BPO centre will be set up in tune with the enhanced rural BPO Policy at Srirangam Assembly Constituency in Tiruchi (from where Ms Jayalalithaa was elected) by Elcot.

IT training to rural students

Training will be imparted to college students from rural areas by technical experts so as to equip them with the necessary skill-set required for competing in the global market and secure an employment in multi-national companies. Approximately 2,500 students will be trained during the year 2011-2012 at a cost of Rs 5 crore.

Urban Common Service Centres

The e-District project piloted in Krishnagiri district aims at taking the Government services to the last mile, effectively and efficiently. Departments such as revenue, social welfare, backward classes and most backward classes, Adi Dravidar and Tribal Welfare Departments have commenced providing services at the village level through Common Service Centres (CSC).

Citizens can apply for and receive services such as Patta, Chitta, various certificates, marriage assistance, scholarship, and so on.

Similar centres will be set up in Chennai and sub-urban areas. Data, voice and video services in the areas of e-Governance, Health, Education, Entertainment, Tele-Medicine and other private services will be rendered to citizens through these centres.

Published on September 14, 2011

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