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Concern expressed over focus on software at the expense of hardware

Written by: Staff

Mumbai, Mar 16: India's excessive focus on software and the total neglect of the hardware sector is a matter of concern, Mr F C Kohli, former deputy chairman, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), said today.

In his opening remarks on the occasion of the fourth International Conference on Communications Convergence on ''Connecting India: The Global Challenge'', Mr Kohli lamented the fact that India has not been producing enough micro-engineers.

''India's need for hardware is pressing with an annual demand for about 15 million PCs, 15 million digital TVs, 30-50 million mobile phones with a similar demand for a large number of electronic controls for the industrial and automobile sectors,'' he said, pointing out that ''this year we are likely to produce only about 800 micro-electronic engineers.'' India needed to produce about 3,000 such engineers to produce electronic hardware, he said.

Earlier, Dr Vijay Bhatkar, Chairman, Dishnet Wireless Ltd, highlighted the urgent need for a broadband policy that was TV-centric and not computer-centric.

Making a fervent plea to the government to formulate such a broadband policy, Dr Bhatkar, who is also the architect of the Param super-computer, said convergence of telecommunications had many dimensions such as optimised convergence of media like fibrre optics, copper wire, coaxial cables, wireless or satellite communications.

''It could also mean convergence of telecom television and computer technologies or convergence of traditionally varying ministries such as education, health, IT, telecom, and broadcasting media, '' he pointed out.

Mr Bo Ribbing, general manager, technical, Ericsson India Pvt Ltd, in his presentation, highlighted the three major benefits of telecom technology. According to him, telecom technology helped in bridging the rural-urban and rich-poor divide as also in building up the foundation of a sustainable economy by catering to public utilities like roads, rail and power generation and supply.

''It also helps in accelerating economic growth by reducing the need for physical transport, especially in vast countries like India,'' he pointed out.

''Access to Internet was critical to availing the benefits of modern world economy, to enable rural industries to market their products and to create wealth and opportunities for developing countries like India,'' he said.

Calling for adopting mainstream technologies as ''they will always remain future-proof'', Mr Ribbing highlighted the fact that many telecom operators had changed their technology paths as a strategy response for going mainstream.

Telecom policy analyst from the Strategy and Policy Unit, ITU, Geneva, Ms Lara Srivastava, called attention to the fact that the number of mobile phones had already exceeded the number of fixed land lines in the world.

''Asia accounts for about 36 per cent of the mobile phone population, America 33 per cent and Europe 28 per cent,'' she said, adding that ''mobile phones were also positively affecting the life of individuals, merging the local cultures and at the individual's level, becoming an extension of one's self,''


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