STAY AGILE WITH THE IT REVOLUTION
The increase in the Centre and State spending in the Budget for the financial year 2011-12 stands testimony to the Indian Government's intent on furthering the effectiveness of its eGovernance initiatives across the country. Internet penetration in rural India is set to double this year and definitely shows positive growth in the Telecom Revolution in the country. The digital divide between rural and urban India is one of the main bottlenecks to equitable growth. The total number of active rural Internet users is projected to touch 24 million, an increase of 98% over the last year. The credit must go to the Government's National e-Governance Plan that has led to 90,000 rural kiosks across the country. The low-cost mobile handsets with Internet access have transformed into powerful tools for rural banking and a plethora of financial services.
The recent Anna Hazare movement for the war against corruption and its success has made possible the assertion of youth power in support of his movement. The movement was for the implementation of the Lokpal Bill which was envisioned in 1972, but has not been passed even till today. According to the Bill, the politicians and bureaucrats would be accountable for their deeds and corrupt practices. So, a strong Lokpal is part of a larger architecture of political reforms needed to improve governance. Even large corporate houses also came strongly to support this movement not only through Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites but also in person to strengthen the movement for benefiting the country.
There are various sets of opportunities, but it will also bring its challenges. There is a strong need to debate on the roadmap for the next decade, where the Government and the private sector can partner for bringing about a transformation. The 9th VARIndia IT Forum intends to provide a platform for an extensive dialogue between Government, PSUs, IT and telecom companies to collaborate in introducing a new citizen services framework.