Govt notifies policy to use IT as engine for sustainable growth of economy

Step aimed at attracting Rs 500 cr investment per year
*New courses to be introduced in universities, colleges

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, Aug 30: To use Information Technology (IT) as an engine for rapid inclusive and sustainable growth in the economy with active participation of private initiatives, the Government of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has notified IT and IT Enabled Services (ITES) Policy.
Besides leveraging and harnessing the power of IT in the areas of education, health, employment and industries and commerce, the policy will help in attracting average investment target of Rs 500 crore per year for next five years.
A high-powered committee under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary will be formed shortly to lay down the detailed implementation guidelines of the policy, which has come into force with immediate effect and will remain applicable for a period of 10 years.
The IT/ITES Policy was approved by the Administrative Council vide its Decision No.46/6/2020 dated March 3, 2020. However, after inordinate delay of over five months the same has been notified by the Information Technology Department to tap the enormous potential in Electronics and Information Technology Sector and to establish J&K as a valued destination for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry.
“The policy will help the Government to develop a modern and vibrant ecosystem to support electronic governance initiatives of the Government of India and attract investment and talent to such industries in Jammu and Kashmir”, said Bipul Pathak, Principal Secretary to the Government, Information Technology Department, adding “the policy will guide the Government in using IT as an engine for rapid inclusive and sustainable growth in the economy of Jammu and Kashmir with the active participation of private initiative/entities”.
The objectives of the policy are to create and upgrade IT infrastructure to meet existing and future demands of the UT in e-governance and increase digital literacy among youth and enhance employability by strengthening of IT curriculum and infrastructure of educational institutions in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir.
Stating that all efforts will be made to attract average investment of Rs 500 crore per year for next five years, the Government said, “the policy will help in utilizing the existing prospective IT infrastructure resources to the best possible extent”, adding “providing internet connectivity to all Halqa panchayats of the UT is also one of the objectives of the policy”.
The Government will also use IT to promote tourism in the Union Territory and unleash J&K as an incubation engine thereby promoting entrepreneurship, increasing foreign exchange earnings and increasing IT’s contribution to the UT’s GDP. Moreover, the policy will be used to make at least one female in every household e-literate to bridge the digital divide and increase the quality and competitiveness of small and medium IT enterprises and promote them to international standards.
Mentioning that Jammu and Kashmir is geographically favourable positioned to cater to domestic as well as international markets of Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, the Government said that efforts will be made to attract investment in IT services like network security data management, resiliency and business continuity services; business process management; software produce design for industry; disruptive technologies like internet of things, artificial intelligence, robotic process automation and data science, cyber forensics and 3D printing and other technologies.
To facilitate the growth of IT sector in J&K, the Government will further facilitate setting up of new IT, ITES, IT Services Units by provision of single window clearance system for power, pollution control, land allotment and registration of the industrial units; closer interaction with financial institutions and commercial banks to ensure regular and adequate flow of finances to the IT sector and permanent and dedicated grievance redressal system to remove bottlenecks in import and export of products to and from J&K.
Moreover, small and medium industries will be encouraged to take up value added services and industry promotion cell will be established to provide all the necessary information to prospective investors and to assist them in the process of setting up IT industry in the UT.
To create an environment that promotes quality of education in emerging technologies and alignment with the specific needs of the industry, the course curriculum of colleges and universities will be aligned to the requirements of the industry with the introduction of courses in entrepreneurship development.
Even special credits will be given to students completing online courses in Information Technology and universities will be advised to partner with online course providers to facilitate online learning.