Friday, March 4, 2011

Rangarajan report is ICT negative

The much awaited report submitted by Dr. C Rangarajan to the Chief Minister of J&K on Mar 03, 2011 at a function organized at SKICC, Srinagar is ICT negative. It is discouraging for the Local ICT sector which has been in the survival mode since it's birth in the State in early 90's. The recommendations made by the Information and Communications Technology Association (ICTA) of J&K during their interaction with the Rangaran committee in December last year, have been overlooked completely in the report.


ICTA had recommended measures for strengthening the Local ICT industry by adopting a simple policy of ensuring allocation of IT projects to the local ICT companies of the State to boost local employment, but the Prime Minister's Economic Advisory committee has completely chosen to overlook the matter as it involves loop holes of the State Government wherein they bypassed the tendering process of implementing the Central Government's E-governance plan for setting up of 1109 Com-unity Services Center throughout the length and breath of State for making Government Services available to the common man through these centers. The State Government bypassed the tendering process the instead of giving the project to Local ICT companies, gave it to the Jammu and Kashmir Bank Limited for reasons best known to the Government. All the other State's in India saw a massive boost to the Local ICT sector in the respective State's during the implementation of the CSC project. But J&K chose to involve a financial institution for implementing ICT projects and thus snatching the major share from the local companies which could have otherwise provided an opportunity to the local companies to grow their business and provide employment to thousands of IT Skilled youth in the State.


Rangarajan report recommends brain drain of the youth of J&K to other parts of India. The private companies will provide training to the youth at 50% expense of the State and Central Government and absorb them back into their companies. There will be no direct economic impact of this in our State. The Government will keep on shelling out money from the State to outside companies for ICT projects, like it has been doing in the past decade. Rather than creating programs for capacity building of the existing ICT companies to increase their capacity for generating employment, the Rangarajan committee has proposed to provide employment to the youth of J&K within other parts of country.

If this has to be the case then let the State Government invite such Committee's from other countries as well. From USA, from UK, etc. Let foreign investment flow into J&K, train our youth and absorb them in their companies abroad. The State government is preparing ground for selling human machines.


If the Government really cares to create avenues for growth for the local ICT sector, then it should take positive steps to ensure the allocation of the SDC and SWAN project to local ICT entrepreneurs in J&K and help to build their capacities and generate abundant avenues for their growth and employment of skilled youth within the State.That will only only boost the Local ICT industry but also create long term sustainable employment for the skilled youth in the ICT sector.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

ICT in J&K gearing up for growth

The good news for the ICT sector is just around the corner. While the PM's expert group on formulating plans for Jobs creation in J&K has visited Kashmir and interacted with the Local ICT here, it is time that the sector gears up to embrace the change that is soon going to happen. With Government of India and the State Government serious on their initiative something constructive seems to be around the corner. The light at the end of the tunnel is going to illumine the sector here and the report from the Expert group will spill the beans and we can see some positive growth for the ICT sector happening in Jammu and Kashmir.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Un-Paid Egovernance in Revenue Department

Saif Technologies, one of the earliest Data Processing Centers in Kashmir, setup in the year 2002 enthusiastically took up the project to computerize the Land Records for the Revenue Department of Jammu and Kashmir through Financial Commissioner Revenue, J&K Government, few years back.

Today, the Department is in pocession of fully computerized Land Revenue Records for the convinience of a normal citizen and can be enabled to provide it online to it's users. But, the burecuratic mafia, which is always in full force in the department is creating all the hurdles it can in stalling the process as the lower rung employees loose an opportunity to earn easy and quick bucks by providing land record information to the land owners, etc. The higher ups in the department are impotent to handle the lower rung employees and as a result the land record digitized information is not being made available to the common people.

Not only that, the Department has failed to release payments for the work done by Saif Technologies and is using all it's stunts and child games to avoid paying the company which put almost everything that it had at stake to execute this order.

The moral of the story is: even if the Government is willing to get an IT project executed, unless the payments are not made in advance, never rely on thier words or their sweet promises because they are incompetent to help release the payments for deploying technology and they feel handicapped in front of the lower rung employees who object to technology.

Saif Technologies approached the Tech Savy Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Omar Abdullah, uduring the IT Expo in October 2009 and he assured him that his payments would be released and also conveyed the same to his Principal Secretary who said that the payements are in process and shall be released as early as possible. But, after a gap of over 5 months, there has been no clue on their payments, maybe Saif Technologies need to do more research to understand what the Government Officials mean by 'soon'.

Wishing good luck to Saif Technologies and with appeal to the concerned officials in the Revenue Department to help out a growing IT Company and to not be a reason for hindering it's growth.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Can there be progress with non IT people steering IT ?

J&K may be one of the most disputed states in the World, but nevertheless the world goes on and technology has to keep going and the companies and the entrepreneurs who have staked thier lives and everything to go on with their IT businesses are in a dark well with no rope giving a hope to save their lives.

With a distrurbed condition in Kashmir that is already prevailing here since more than a decade, the Government is not interested to help the IT industry grow. All that they have done till today is nothing more than making promises, which are never kept, like other things. The IT Expo that was organized by ICTA in the october of 2009 was attended by several government decision makers including the Chief Minister of J&K, Omar Abdullah. He made promises to help the IT sector grow and some of his fake promises included the creation of an IT Task force which would include members of the local ICT companies in J&K and the task force would look for opportunites for IT implementation in the State cand accordingly create projects which can then be implemented by the local ICT companies. This would have enhanced the implementation of projects and ensured local participation of the IT players. But as the Promises of the Politicians are made to be broken or just to build castles in the air, he remained true to the spirit of the Politicians.

Even though, I never expected anything to come out of his promises, but the other members of ICTA were quite positive since they thought that Omar is young and energetic and understands technology. Understanding technology for using internet/email does not make you a technocrat. For implementing technology one needs to have a vision and a strong heart to take the jump into the unknown. Being able to receive and send email while on the move or organizing meetings and reminders on the palm top cannot be depective of one's being an IT revolutionary.

The so called IT department of the State, made with a sole purpose to provide employment to near dear ones and nothing else, has people steering it who cannot differentiate a Linux from Windows. They are happy to type letters and send emails from 10 to 4 and beyond that thier mind does not move because they are happy with their job and think that they have put in thier best efforts from 10 to 4, so why worry more.

With States like Jharkhand and Himachal Pradesh, where technology has been implemented to create government to citizen interfaces for effective monitoring and creating responsibility among the government servants, in J&K the top most reason for implementing technology projects would not be to create government to citizen interfaces, but to help the growth of Local ICT sector. Those interfaces would be a result of this exercise and more.

But with the kind of people in the Government we have who are steering the IT in J&K , it is not possible.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

ICT EXPO 2009 - KASHMIR

IThe ICT EXPO at the SKICC (8-9 October 2009) is intended to kick-start work on the Information and Communications Technology (ICTA) Association’s roadmap. The event will be organised in a trade show cum conference format and will discuss the role of ICTA, private ICT businesses, ICT consultants, and that of the government in promoting the ICT sector in the state. It will be the first event of its kind in the state drawing participation from all major ICT players in the state.

ICT EXPO will be a trade show cum conference. This event offers the best opportunity to network with the right people involved in ICT within the state of J&K. The conference will comprise of keynotes, debates, panel discussions, and workshops. There will be a good mix of speakers and content from (1) ICT Entrepreneurs From the State, (2) Government Officials, (3) Overseas ICT Experts, and (4) ICT Consultants From the State. The exhibit floor will have 24 stalls of 10fx10f size each.

Besides interacting with the IT planners/personnel from the government departments, the event aims to set a precedent for debating and discussing other important issues related to the ICT sector in Kashmir including ICT awareness in the state, services and support to ICT professionals, liaison with overseas IT players, and effective ways to promote/develop the requisite infrastructure for ICT development.

more information at http://icta.in/ICT-EXPO-09

Friday, September 4, 2009

A Pahalgam Hotel goes wi-fi

Hotel Tulyan in Pahalgam is wi-fi enabled now. They are offering free wi-fi internet access to their customers of hotel as well as those casual eaters in thier Nathus ki Rasoi (Fast Food). It's a applaudable step by the Hotel Management for allowing free internet access in that tourist destination.

Bizcomp 2009 :: Chance to get 1 Lac funding :: FREE

Information and Communications Technology Association (ICTA) of Kashmir in collaboration with Mercy Corps is organizing a Business Competion with an Award of Rs 1 lac for the best business plan submission.
Any aspiring entrepreneur who has that spirit in him and idea in his mind (IT releated) and between the age group of 20 - 35 can enter this competition, happening for the first time in J&K. One can submit the business plan as per the guidelines (http://www.icta.in/bizcomp2009) and get a change of winning not only the cash prize of Rs. 1 lac but also 6 months mentorship by the Mercy Corps eam to ensure that the business idea turns into a success.

The last date for plan submissions is September 25th, 2009 and forms can be downloaded from the URL mentioned above. Bizcomp 2009 will be a part of the ICTA organized first ICT expo in Kashmir on October 8th and 9th, 2009.