New Delhi, Dec 14 (UNI) The Eleventh Plan draft document argues forcibly for bridging the digital divide by increasing telecom subscriber base to 600 million and enhancing rural density to 25 per cent and makes out a case for continuing tax sops to the BPO sector beyond 2009.
''It is an irony that the phenomenal growth of the telecom sector has also created a digital divide in terms of mobile and land line connections and internet and broadband connections. The Eleventh Plan will address this as an important issue,'' the document says.
The present level of subscriber base is 600 and rural tele-density eight per cent.
The document, which elucidates policy for the next five years, has been cleared both by the Full Planning Commission and the Union Cabinet. It is slated for approval by the National Development Counil (NDC) meeting on December 19,2007. After the nod by the highest policy formulating body, it will become the basis of future policy formulation.
The document says with the weakening of the dollar against the Indian Rupee, ITES (Information Technology Enabled Services) and BPO industry has come under pressure and it needs to be nurtured.
Necessary policy interventions need to be put in place on a fast track mode.
''Extending the 10A and 10B benefits for the BPO industries beyond 2009 could be one such encouragement. Otherwise this segment of the sector, which is a huge employment generator, could move to other countries which are more cost effective,'' the document says.
It says the industry also needs to shift from dollar to rupee domminated contracts to combat the falling dollar.
The document says it should be the objective of the government to connect 5,000 institutions of education, science and technology to this core to enable collaborative research and development nationally and internationally. Campuses should be empowered technologically through campus wide networks and by providing entry devices to the knowledge network in order to derive the full benefits of this effort.
India's prowess in software is world renowned with an estimated share of 65 per cent of global BPO offshore IT and 46 per cent of global BPO. Indian IT and ITES and BPO globally stands at 150 billion dollars leaving enough headroom for further growth, the document adds.
The IT sector at present employs over five million people and is expected to provide employment to over 18 million people by 2012, the document says.
''This throws up a great challenge for HR development. There is an urgent need to augment the existing educational system by introducing special IT courses and establish schools to import soft and other important skills,'' the document adds.