Union Minister of Human Resource Development and Communication and IT Kapil Sibal on Monday approved the setting up of an incubation centre at Amritsar and an electronics manufacturing cluster at Ropar. The demands had been raised by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal during the laying of the foundation stone of the incubation centre of Software Technology Parks of India (STPI).
The Punjab government has allotted one acre of land in Sector 75, Industrial Area for setting up the incubation centre, while the Central government would provide Rs 55 crore as funds for its construction. The incubation centre will generate employment opportunities and promote entrepreneurs.
Addressing the gathering, Sibal said that the government had approved a scheme for the creation of the National Fibre Optic Network that would provide connectivity to 2.5 lakh gram panchayats. For the purpose an amount of Rs 20,000 crore has been allocated. The project would facilitate in providing governance, banking and health services online. Paying of electricity bills, taxes among other public services would be available online.
Sibal said that Punjab had promised to give right of way for installation of the Optical Fibre Network. Other states including UP and Jharkhand have also given their consent. Only West Bengal wants to lay its own network.
The scheme would further be extended to get Akash tablets under its purview. The tablets would be connected to the Fibre Optic Network. All textbooks would be available on Akash. The students would not have to carry any textbooks.
Sibal expressed dissatisfaction that the initiatives of the central government had not been highlighted. He said it is always being stated that the central government is not taking any decisions. However, he said, the government has taken more decisions than in the past 60 years. He stressed that the government implemented the Right to Education Act. The National Accreditation Bill and the Education Malpractices Bill were pending in Parliament.
Sibal informed the gathering that in the coming 10 years 800 to 1000 universities will be required, while at present the number stands at 604. It was beyond the capacity of the central and state government to set up such a large number of universities and private players would be required to step in. Around 400 universities have been connected through the National Knowledge Network and work in the rest is likely to be completed in the coming months.
Meanwhile Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said that the incubation centre will generate employment opportunities for the youth and provide a suitable environment for conducting business. The Chief Minister, while demanding the setting up of another incubation centre and a manufacturing cluster in Punjab, offered to allot 40 acres of land for the purpose.
Punjab Governor and UT Administrator Shivraj V Patil and IT Secretary J Satyanarayana also spoke on the occasion.
He condemned the incident at the gurdwara in US where people lost their lives. He said that it was a matter of concern and the reason for the incident would be clear after the conclusion of the investigation.