Communication and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday said his ministry has approved proposals worth over Rs.9000 crore for setting up electronic clusters across India to increase manufacturing in the country.
“So far we have got 21 proposals to set up electronic clusters in various states…Out of proposals worth Rs.20,000 crore, I have approved projects worth over Rs.9000 crore,’’ Mr. Prasad said at Aaj Tak’s Manthan programme organised to mark one year of Narendra Modi government.
Stating that India was sending its IT products in 60 countries, the Minister said his ministry wanted to make India a manufacturing hub for IT and telecom products to cut down India’s eletronic goods imports that today stand at $100 billion that would grow to $400 billion by 2020.
. ‘’We are setting up two chip manufacturing plants in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat…We are in talks with other manufacturing companies to set up plants in India. During his foreign visits, Prime Minister Narendra
Modi has been focusing on bringing investments to India that would lead to job creation,’’ he added at the Aaj Tak programme.
Mr. Prasad also said his ministry has initiated a project to provide Wi-Fi facilities at all major tourist place in India. ‘’Taj Mahal, Sarnath, Bodh Gaya are some of the places that will get Wi-Fi facility soon…We have already started providing free Wi-Fi service in Varanasi ghats. Similarly, the government has started facility of providing e-visa to tourists,’’ he added.
The Ministry has also come out with a new policy to make tier II and III cities IT hubs. “We are setting up calls centres and BPOs at small towns and creating 48,000 jobs in the first phase…We will give subsidy to take IT revolution to smaller towns,’’ he added. “e-commerce is a big opportunity and we are roping in Department of Posts to deliver
goods to small towns and villages. Postal department has become a reliable partner for big e-commerce companies to deliver their goods,’’ Mr. Prasad added.
Talking about Modi government’s focus on ‘digital India’ that aims bridging gap between have and have-nots by using telecom and IT as a tool, Mr. Prasad said India would soon have 100 crore mobile subscribers, while within two years Internet connection would grow from 30 crore to 50 crores. “We are connecting 2.5 lakh villages panchayats with broadband and opening common service centres at remote locations to provide services and government facilities at the doorsteps of citizens.
On forthcoming Bihar elections, Mr. Prasad said he was not in the race for Chief Ministership, but questioned Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar joining hands with his one-time political adversary Lalu Prasad Yadav, who has serious corruption charges against him. He charged Mr. Kumar with failing to provide good governance to the people of Bihar.