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UPA Govt for empowering people through IT, says Sonia

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Panaji, Feb 23 (UNI) United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Chairperson Sonia Gandhi today said the Centre is keen to empower people through massive use of information technology (IT) that provides transparency in administration besides binding the people together.

Addressing a gathering after laying a foundation stone for a Rs 500 crore 'Rajiv Gandhi Information Technology Habitat' on a 95-acre site at Dona Paula Plateau here, she said the country could bring about on IT revolution if majority of the population started using essential software in respective regional languages.

The Congress-led UPA Government was thinking of proper monitoring of the enforcement of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act and the Right to Information Act through IT application to ensure transparency, Ms Gandhi added.

The Manmohan Singh-led administration, she said, was making efforts to encourage development of software in several regional languages. Mass market for IT could be created if the computer hardware prices came down further on the lines of the mobile phones, the Congress president noted.

Thanking the party-led Goa Government for naming the IT park after her late husband, she said Rajiv Gandhi stuck steadfastly with his pursuit through his determination though he was ''bitterly criticised and mocked'' at his mission of empowering people through IT 20 years ago.

''India is now a major world power in the IT because of this determined pursuit that helped create huge employment potential for the youth, with foundations for suitable infrastructure already laid by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi.'' She added.

Rajiv Gandhi, she reminded, introduced usage of computers for maintaining land records to benefit farmers and rail reservation.

Now the technology could be used to monitor implementation of the RTI and National Rural Employment Guarantee Act.

Ms Gandhi said Goa's IT habitat could take lead in creating job opportunities through IT and also help in networking NRI's of the state Goans.

''Goa can become a major IT destination, along with the tourism on par with other centres in the country like Pune, as it had high literacy rate, suitable manpower and tradition of keeping harmony besides a large number of Goans staying outside the country.'' Ms Gandhi said.

Earlier, Ms Gandhi launched 'Knowledge is Power' scheme through distribution of DTH-TV set allotment letters to village panchayats and other organisations at the same venue.

Besides Goa Chief Minister Pratapsingh Rane and his Maharashtra counterpart Vilasrao Deshmukh, Goa IT Minister Dayanand Narvekar and Town and Country Planning minister Anatasio Monserrate were also present.

Winding up her two-day visit to Goa, the Congress chief left for Ojhar in Maharashtra.

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