The Bihar Government has taken to the IT path for holistic development of the State, says the Hon’ble Minister for Science & Technology and IT, Shri Shahid Ali Khan, in an interaction with Nirav Soni of Elets News Network (ENN)
Please tell us about various initiatives undertaken for growth and development of Bihar.
We are committed to the people of Bihar to provide good governance, and development of the disadvantaged, underprivileged and the marginalised sections of the society. We believe in inclusive development, so have framed policies and formulated programmes accordingly.
Our policy of development with justice has led Bihar to a higher growth trajectory and more importantly, has improved the condition of the people living below the poverty line (BPL). In 2005, 54.4 percent of the population of Bihar was below the poverty line, while as per the latest report of the Planning Commission of India, it is 33.74 percent now.
Our foremost priority is to maintain law and order in the State. To that end, we have set up a 344-strong Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS). We are also equipping our Special Task Force (STF) with all modern equipment, and the forensic labs are being modernised. Furthermore, the cybercrime unit has also been expanded.
We are following a policy of zero tolerance against corruption. The Vigilance Investigation Bureau, Special Vigilance Unit and the Economic Offence Unit are working very effectively.
What steps have been taken in the field of education?
We are highly focussed on education, so as to ensure qualitative growth in the capacity of human resources. We have opened new primary and higher-middle schools, improved enrolment rate, increased the number of classrooms, ensured availability and attendance of teachers, upgraded primary schools to middle schools and facilitated admission of deprived sections and undertaken several measures to lessen the gap between girl and boy education.
Similarly, we have taken a decision to establish a higher secondary school in every Gram Panchayat. National level universities, colleges and technical institutions have been established with an aim to improve the quality of higher education. One ITI has been established in each district with the aim of strengthening the production capacity of skilled workers. The Bihar Skill Development Mission has given a final shape to its work plan so as to develop the skill of the youth of Bihar. We have aimed to provide employable skill to one crore individuals in the State in next five years.
We are taking similar steps in the fields of health, agriculture, road infrastructure and electricity across the State to increase the gross industrial output.
Also Read: IT Redefining State of Bihar
What are the various ICT initiatives of your department for better governance?
We are living in the e-age and the government is not an exception to it. We, in Bihar, have implemented several ICT projects primarily to ensure greater efficiency by adopting best e-Governance practices, promoting social inclusion, expanding digital economy, enabling broader engagement between citizen and the government, and supporting the wider goals of sustainable economic development. We are focussed to use e-Governance to increase transparency and accountability, connect the back-end, close the digital divide through active measures and develop multi-channel services delivery.
Bihar is on its way to getting transformed in the revolution through Information Technology. For strengthening the IT infrastructure in Bihar, core infrastructure projects, like Bihar State Wide Area Network (BSWAN), State Data Centre and Vasudha Kendras (CSC) are being implemented.
Other e-Governance projects operating in the state include ICT in schools, BRAIN (Bihar Revenue Administration Intra Net), Jankari Call Centre, Comprehensive Treasury Management Information System (CTMIS), Bihar Knowledge Society, Bihar Online, e-Khazana, Bihar State Cooperative Bank (COIN), e-Courts, Computerised Rural Information Systems Project (CRISP), e-Procurement etc. Under the project e-Court, Patna High court has been computerised and web-enabled services, like Cause Lists and Court Orders, are now available for the legal professionals, judges and people at large. Bihar Knowledge Society aims at grooming young professionals according to industry standards, by imparting them quality IT training. It also provides capacity-building training to the state officials. Jankari Call Centre is a one of its own kind initiative that facilitates people obtaining information under RTI.
Bihar has bagged several accolades for its ICT feats. The State recently won the “National Award for e-Governance” for two successful implementations – One, “Force Deployment Software – by Chief Electoral Officer, Govt of Bihar” and Second, “Application SAMVIDA for Rural Development Department”. Both these applications are developed by the National Informatics Centre, Bihar.
“We are living in the e-age and the government is not an exception to it. We, in Bihar, have implemented several ICT projects primarily to ensure greater efficiency by adopting best e-Governance practices”
What is your ministry doing to boost Skill Development in Bihar?
Let me proudly say that IT is now a revolution in Bihar. To make the revolution a success, we need to nurture young minds with latest in technology not only in urban areas, but to reach to the farthest of the remote. We very well understand that our basic problem is not unemployment but unemployability of our youth. India has a target of creating 500 million skilled manpower by 2022, whereas we in Bihar have a target of creating 10 million skilled manpower in next two years. And, to achieve this goal, we have formed Bihar Skill Development Mission.
Among the major objectives of the Mission is to develop young men and women of Bihar as leaders for the promotion of the economic and industrial development of the country and to play a creative role in the service of humanity. The Mission’s main goal is to increase employability of the youth and empower them to take part in the economic growth of Bihar and India through chalking out a roadmap for providing professional and skill training in modern and market-driven professions at reasonable cost and monitoring its delivery, and thereby reduce unemployment, poverty and socio-economic inequality.
“Our basic problem is not unemployment but unemployability of our youth. India has a target of creating 500 million skilled manpower by 2022 whereas Bihar has a target of creating 10 million skilled manpower in two years”
How is Bihar ready to become an attractive IT investment destination?
Bihar will soon host some of the major IT companies in Global Call Centre Management, and Electronics Hardware and Device Manufacturing Units (EHDM) to start their operation. The Government of Bihar has taken initiatives like RTI and RTS (Right to Services). Bihar has been suffering from the “brain drain” syndrome like many other developing states where IT investment has not taken place to the extent as expected, hence the government is creating opportunities to retain the brains of the State by creating better policies to excite investment. Several policy measures are being taken to increase investment.
Importantly, Bihar is already on the way to promote electronics hardware manufacturing in the State through a dedicated policy. The electronic hardware sector has a lot of potential for large-scale employment of ITI graduates, diploma holders, electronics/ hardware engineers etc. The State has a distinct advantage in terms of low-cost skilled / technical manpower over other states, and it has to take initiative of dismantling barriers to investments and luring leading electronics hardware manufacturers. The Government of Bihar envisages creating a hi-tech electronics hardware industry in the State to provide an added impetus to its socio-economic development.