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Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad today released a vision document for a digital northeast that aims to improve people’s lives by capacity building of government staff and doubling BPO strength in the region.
Unveiling the plans under the ‘Digital North East: Vision 2022’, he said the document emphasises leveraging digital technologies to transform lives of people of the northeastern states and enhance the ease of living.
A cloud hub for the northeast will be set up in Guwahati and capacity building for 50,000 government staff will be taken up using digital technologies, the Union electronics and IT minister said.
The number of seats planned for BPOs in the northeastern states will be doubled to 10,000 while the network of common service centres will be expanded to cover all villages, Prasad said.
The minister said that he had asked the officials of his ministry to prepare a comprehensive digital plan for the entire northeastern region, with digital profiles of all the eight states, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of each one of them.
Inaugurating a new BPO at world’s largest river island Majuli, Prasad said the government will provide Rs 1 lakh subsidy to all BPO centres coming up in small cities across the northeastern states.
“We want to strengthen the digital power of villages. We are now seeing that people are coming back from big cities to their hometowns,” he said.
Asserting that there are issues related to connectivity in region, the Prasad said enough bandwidth would be provided for the states and an “e-pragati” project will be launched to connect the region.
“I also request all chief ministers to identify hospitals. We are going to make them e-hospitals. Digital Seva is most important in digital India,” he said, adding the government is also developing e-classrooms in medical colleges at Shillong, Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Dimapur, Imphal and Agartala, while a free space optical fibre project is being launched in Arunachal Pradesh.
According to the vision document, high-speed broadband connectivity will be will be provided in all the uncovered villages in the northeastern region.
With an aim to empower the people of the northeastern region, the vision document identified eight digital thrust areas -- digital infrastructure, digital services, digital empowerment, promotion of electronics manufacturing, promotion of IT and IT enabled services including BPOs, digital payments, innovation & startups, and cyber security.
State-wise roadmaps have been developed for implementing digital initiatives.
The document was released in the presence of chief ministers of Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura, and senior government officials.
Coinciding with the unveiling of the Vision Document, several other projects were launched for the Northeastern states.
Three parallel sessions were held in the morning, comprising a networking workshop on hub-and-spoke model for the BPOs, a session on expanding the role and reach of common service centres and another session on government e-market place.
Before the event, Prasad and Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal laid the foundation stone for a common facilitation centre and smart meter manufacturing facility at the Electronics Manufacturing Cluster (EMC) in Tech City at Bongara village, near here.
“We are trying to promote electronic manufacturing here. We want to make India big in this. Electronics is going to be an important component of economic development,” Prasad said.
On India’s target of becoming a trillion-dollar digital economy, the Union minister said the northeast will contribute significantly to this.
“We aim to achieve this target in the next five to seven years. This will give 50 to 75 lakh jobs in the digital sector. All big companies are coming to India, which is becoming big globally,” he said.