Thiruvananthapuram | Kerala has set in motion an ambitious policy framework to bridge the digital divide by 2020 and make it first ‘digitally literate’ state in India.
The state government will leverage various initiatives aimed at making Kerala a ‘Digitally Empowered’ society.
The key objectives of ‘Bridging the Digital Divide Vision 2020′ programme include transforming Kerala into a digital knowledge society to achieve sustainable economic growth, making accessible the digital infrastructure to all at affordable cost, attracting more investments and promoting IT exports of the state.
State Minister for Industries and IT P K Kunhalikutty said the vision aims to ensure that various e-services offered by the government are availed of by the people and achieve social harmony and high quality of life for all.
Vision 2020 has the potential to ensure wilful participation of all sections of the society which, in turn, would prevent the less privileged from getting marginalised. It is also aimed at promoting entrepreneurship and generating more employment opportunities for the youth, he said here in a release.
Principal Secretary, Industries and IT, P H Kurian said the four major pillars that contributed to the gradual evolution of Kerala into a truly digital society are Akshaya Project, IT@School project, digital infrastructure availability and State Data Centre and allied applications.
We are greatly enthused by the success of the Akshaya project, which has so far made e-literate 33 lakh out of nearly 75 lakh households. Akshayas have grown in stature, with more than 2,300 centres across the state, covering rural and urban areas, taking e-governance to citizens doorstep, he said.
The Akshaya Project, launched in 2002, was piloted in Malappuram with the objective of opening the doors of digital literacy to at least one member in each family. Following its huge success, it was later replicated in all other districts of the state.
Likewise, the IT@School initiative, also launched in 2002, was started with the objective of making more than four lakh students graduating from schools every year computer literate.
The project has so far turned out more than 39 lakh students spread around 12,600 schools of Kerala with a high level of computer literacy, Kurian said.
In a major initiative to revolutionise the school education sector, Kerala became the first state in the country to introduce Digital Collaborative Texts (DCTs) under IT @ School.
The DCTs comprises information contributed by persons around the globe in audio or video formats,besides the scanned copy of normal textbooks. Over 3.7 million students and about more than two lakh teachers in government-run schools are to benefit from this project.
As for establishment of digital infrastructure, Kerala has roped in leading telecom players during 2001-10, resulting in the state occupying the pole position in the country in terms of its Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) coverage a vital imperative for bridging the digital divide.
The state has a vast OFC network of which BSNL had contributed majorly covering 20,000 km, followed by Reliance (8,500 km), and other major players being Airtel, Vodafone, Idea and Tata (nearly 3,225 km put together).
We have now taken our digital initiatives to a qualitatively higher level. Kerala has started e-Governance in Cloud SDC (2), becoming the second cloud-enabled Data Centre in the country, Kurian said.
The government also plans to make its offices paperless in 2015-16, which will increase efficiency and transparency in file movements.
Also, Wi-Fi hot spots are to be provided in government schools through availability of high-speed Internet and Wi-Fi services. Those who live near schools can access Wi-Fi free, the official said.
Under Digital LiteracyPhase II, various programmes implemented by multiple agencies to achieve digital literacy in the state will be organised under a common umbrella programme ‘Digital Literacy to Masses in Kerala’, he said.
Our goal is to make Kerala a 100 per cent e-literal and digital state and to plan, develop and market it as the most preferred IT/ITES investment destination in the country, Kurian added.
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