Turn Bangalore into a free Wi-Fi hub, provide free tablet computers and laptops with 3G connectivity to students studying in government colleges and schools and connect colleges with a high speed data network.
These are among the recommendations made by Karnataka Information Communication Technology group, headed by TV Mohandas Pai, in its report submitted to chief minister Jagadish Shettar on Tuesday.
According to the report titled ‘Karnataka’s Roadmap to Undisputed Global Leadership in ICT by 2020’, there is a need for creating skilled manpower in the state to meet the challenges in the field of ICT.
Speaking to reporters after submitting the report, Pai said: “Turning Bangalore into a free Wi-Fi city will create a brand equity. Having free access to internet will help the people connect with various stakeholders in government. It will also help them have access to web information.”
Commenting on the suggestion to provide free tablet computers and laptops to students studying in government schools and colleges, he said: “It will help students to be more interactive in sessions with their classmates or teachers. They will have teaching material for each class and access to a portal where they can download teaching materials. Each tablet computer can cost between Rs5,000 and Rs6,000.”
The expert committee also felt that by providing gadgets to the students will help them overcome the problem of textbooks.
Making recommendations on skill development financing, the report stated:
“To enable access and opportunity for skill development for all segments of youth, it is important to arrange for skill financing schemes through bank loans. The state government can provide a 10% default guarantee to banks and encourage them to extend skill loans at low interest rates. If the state government creates a Rs100 crore default guarantee fund, the banks may be willing to extend Rs1,000 crore in skill credit to the youth in the state.”
Give boost to ESDM
The experts asked the state government to boost the electronics systems design and manufacturing (ESDM) sector so that it can compete with players in the sector in China, Korea and Western countries. The state, which is doing remarkably well in software exports, is lagging behind in ESDM. The committee suggested that the government should implement national electronics and telecom policies in the state.
Recommendations to promote the ESDM sector include giving ‘post performance’ fiscal incentives, promoting research and development, and creating a focused ESDM fund worth Rs500 crore for promoting companies. As per the report, the size of the ESDM industry was just Rs17,000 crore in 2012 and target of Rs1 lakh crore has to be achieved by 2020 to boost the sector.