Global software leader Microsoft Corporation has assured the Indian government of its commitment to supply 5,000 personal computers for a pilot education programme in 100 schools across six states, Union communications minister, Mr Dayanidhi Maran said today.
Inaugurating a new facility of Microsoft Research India here, he said Microsoft chief Bill Gates, whom he had met recently, had also agreed to offer Rs 10 crore towards the e-governance project, which the government hopes to begin soon to simplify, accelerate and aid the administrative process of the country through the use of Internet.
The Microsoft chief has also promised a team comprising the best of Indian experts to support the government’s e-governance project, expected to get started soon. A Cabinet note will be prepared and taken up shortly, he said.
Mr Maran said that he had communicated to Mr Gates the importance of bilingual window start-ups in the country, given the diversity of languages. He has agreed on eight Indian language start-ups which was expected to be in place by January next year, he added.
The availability of the computers would greatly aid the teaching programmes in schools, Mr Maran said, adding, “a simple anatomy lesson could now become more visual and more direct through use of the computer instead of the old chalk and blackboard teaching.” Emphasising the need for window start-ups to be both in English and a local language, he said “we cannot ignore English because we need to compete in English.” He also said in many places the people from South India fared better than the rest largely due to their grasp of English.
Lauding the initiatives of the Karnataka government in developing infrastructure, he said the current efforts of the Dharam Singh government in accelerating the growth of infrastructure would prove beneficial.
He had also communicated to the Prime Minister the need to allocate Rs 500 crore for infrastructure development in Bangalore in view of the grievances aired by the IT industry.
“Bangalore is growing at a phenomenal speed and hence the acceleration of infrastructure development is necessary,” he said, referring to the recent demand by the IT industry to overcome infrastructural woes.
“However, we also need to look beyond Bangalore. Mysore and Hubli could be options that could be explored,” he said, urging IT companies to explore the new venues.