[Fsf-friends] NEWS-INDIA: Kerala to get Centre's help to push e-governance

Frederick Noronha fred@bytesforall.org
Fri, 16 Aug 2002 20:58:00 +0530 (IST)

Kerala to get centre's help to push e-governance

By Sanu George, Indo-Asian News Service

Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 16 (IANS) The centre will sign a memorandum of
understanding (MoU) this week with the Kerala government, offering it all
assistance in promoting e-governance.

The state is viewing this as a reward for its consistency in networking
government affairs and putting them online.

State IT minister P.K. Kunjalikutty said federal Communication and IT
Minister Pramod Mahajan would be here Sunday to sign the MoU that would
facilitate technical and financial help from the centre.

"We are really proud because this is the first time any state government has
been asked to sign an MoU with the centre in this field. This is going to
boost our efforts to promote private investment in the IT sector,"
Kunjalikutty said.

Mahajan will during his visit also inaugurate a 600,000 square foot building
at Thiruvananthapuram's Technopark, which currently houses 60 companies.

The major push for e-governance in Kerala had come during a crippling 32-day
strike by government employees from February. Apart from providing Rs.1.2
billion for projects to improve efficiency in various departments, the
budget earmarked Rs.150 million to set up a single point access for those
seeking services like welfare benefits and revenue certificates.

Plans for the MoU came in the wake of a study by the National Association of
Software and Service Companies (Nasscom) ranking Kochi as the second most
preferred destination in the country for the setting up of business process
outsourcing or IT-enabled companies (ITES).

The government is currently working on a state-of-the-art 400,000
square-foot building in Kochi to house such companies. "The building would
be ready for occupation by the end of next year," said IT Secretary Aruna

Another encouraging development for the IT industry in Kerala has been the
rare political consensus on pushing the sector and ironing out the creases.

"We had a problem in one of the Technopark companies here. Because of the
wholehearted support of the opposition, the issue has been sorted out
without any problems. This is a good sign for all potential investors," said

--Indo-Asian News Service