The State Government has initiated several steps to provide IT enabled services to the people of the State to visualise the dream of Digital India of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. This was stated by the Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur after he along with the Union Minister of Electronics and Information and Technology and Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad laid foundation stone of Incubation Centre of Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) here today. The Centre would be setup at Mehli near Shimla.

Jai Ram Thakur said that the Park would be developed with incubation facility with approximate built up area of 14000 sq ft at a tentative cost of Rs 10 crore. This would accommodate about 15 to 20 startups with direct employment to 300 to 400 IT professionals and four times the indirect employment in over five years.

He said that another STPI was proposed to be setup in Kangra district near Gaggal Airport and the land for the same has been identified. The state government had set up ten targets for the first 100 days and out of these nine have been achieved and tenth target had been achieved with the laying of foundation stone of this Centre.

The Chief Minister said that the Park would go a long way in encouraging new IT/ITES entrepreneurs and generate employment opportunities and multiple IT prospects. He said that 113 government services were being provided in rural areas through 2858 Lok Mitra Kendras. In the first phase of Bharat Net Project, out of the 251 Panchayats, 221 have been provided high speed internet facilities and the work was in progress under the second phase to provide this facility to the remaining 2785 Panchayats.

Jai Ram Thakur said that HIMSWAN network and State Data Centre had been established in the Information Technology Department for strengthening digital infrastructure in the State. He said that an amount of Rs 32.86 crore was required for expansion of the Data Centre from the Government of India. He said that the far-flung and tribal areas of the State had poor mobile and internet connectivity. Keeping in view the strategic importance of these border districts, priority should be given to these areas in various projects of the Union Government, he urged the Union Minister.

He said that the State want e-Hospital facilities in at least all the district hospitals of the State so that better and specialised health services could be provided to the people living in the remote parts. He urged the Union Minister to provide all assistance in this regard to the State. He also urged to provide similar facilities in all the six government medical colleges in the State.

The Chief Minister said that as many as 52 services were being provided online under the e-district Project. He said that out of the 80 percent Centre share Rs. 9.23 crore was urgently required under this project. He said that the State Government was giving special emphasis on digital transactions and for this 8.26 lakh RuPay Cards have been released. Most of the government transactions such as bus ticket, hotel booking, payment of electricity bills, all transaction in state treasury, tax payment etc. were being made online.

Speaking on the occasion, Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the stupendous growth in exports by the STPI units from Rs 52 crore in 1992-93 to more than Rs 3,50,680 crore in 2016-17 shows that STPI has played a key role in creating Brand India and transforming the country as the most preffered IT destination. He said that it has also played a phenomenal role in promoting Tier-II/ Tier-III cities of the country.

He said that Prime Minister has a vision of Inclusive Digital India. He said that 31 crore bank accounts were opened under Jan Dhan Yojana and started providing Direct Benefit Transfer to the poor directly to their accounts. The Government has saved Rs 90,000 crore during the last three years by way of direct benefit transfer. He said that 91 BPOs have been established in smaller towns of the country during the last four years. This has helped the youth in getting employment opportunities nearer to their homes. He also announced that more BPO would be opened in Himachal Pradesh.

He said that when the present Union Government assumed office there were only two mobile factories in the country and now there are over 120 mobile manufacturing factories in the country. He said that the climate of the State was suited well for the electronics and it could be developed as a major electronic manufacturing hub of the country.

Ravi Shankar Prasad announced the all the district hospitals of the State would be made e-Hospital so that people could be benefitted. He directed the NIC to immediately start work in this direction. He also announced that National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology would be established in Mandi at the earliest. He announced that 50 villages of the State would be made Digital Villages.

The Union Minister said that STPI additional Incubation facility at Shimla would act as a resource centre for IT/ITES/ESDM units by offering general infrastructural facilities like ready to use Incubation space, High Speed Data Communication with uninterrupted data connectivity and other amenities required for export of software and services which would help to create direct and indirect employment opportunities to IT educated youth of the region. He said that this would also help in promoting the region as one of the preferred Information Technology destination of the country.

Agriculture and Information Technology Minister Dr. Ram Lal Markanda said that it due to endeavours of the Union IT Minister the foundation stone of this Park had been laid and this would be the second park of the State. He urged the Union Minister to approve another park for the State in Kangra district.

Principal Secretary IT Jagdish Sharma while welcoming the dignitaries said that the Centre would go a long way in making Himachal Pradesh an IT hub of the country. He said that being the hilly State the people had limited source of employment avenues in private sector. He urged the Union Minister to provide employment opportunities to the youth of the State in IT sector.

Director General STPI Dr. Onkar Rai welcomed the Union Minister and Chief Minister on the occasion.

Director STPI Rajneesh Aggarwal presented vote of thanks.

Food and Civil Supplies Minister Kishan Kapoor, Education Minister Suresh Bhardwaj, Member of Parliament Prof. Virender Kashyap, Additional Chief Secretary cum Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Dr. Shrikant Baldi, Joint Secretary Information Technology Ministry Rajiv Kumar, Director IT Rohan Chand Thakur were present on the occasion amongst others.


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