Go beyond mere numbers: Sibal

Delivering the inaugural address of the Nasscom Leadership Forum 2011, he said more than the revenue generated or tax paid, the success of the industry should be measured by the number of people it helped to reap the benefits of technology.

For an industry that is giving all it has to reach a target revenue of $220 billion by 2020, Sibal’s call to make a ‘paradigm shift’ came as a gentle surprise. The Minister asked the delegates to look at the sector from a different stand point. Giving examples on the kind of role the industry could play, he said it could ensure delivery of quality education to students in remote parts of North-East or take state-of-the-art diagnosis to door steps of the people in villages through telemedicine. “Rather than a milk cow, IT should be seen as a tool for empowerment,” he said.

Pointing at the government efforts to take IT to people, Sibal said over the next 2 or 3 years every taluk in the country would be connected with fiber optics and enjoy broadband facility. If the dream of the $35 laptop materialized, lives of countless individuals would be transformed, he said. Further, as information was at the heart of freedom of speech, the industry could make a vibrant impact on democracy as well, he said.

Reacting to Sibal’s comments, senior Nasscom official Ganesh Natarajan said the IT industry had already begun to play the role the Minister was referring to.  If the IT-enabled development was a five-gear phenomena, the industry was transiting from the second gear of seeing profits in social business to the third gear of scaling up.

The initiatives of the industry towards meeting social objectives were a double blessing as the developmental sector offered a sizeable financial opportunity, Natarajan said.  The e-governance market in the country is estimated to be worth $10 billion with Centre itself running 23 mission mode e-governance projects. 

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