While the development of physical infrastructure has been a top priority for the government in the last few years, little attention has been paid to enhancing digital infrastructure in India. At a seminar on IT for the common man, held at IT.COM, Rajesh Jain, managing director, Net Core Solutions, said the focus needs to be on providing utility-based computing solutions for a cost of about Rs 750 per user per month.
Mr Jain said that three aspects were critical to enhance the digital infrastructure of a country. They included building one-for-one computing, making technology infrastructure available on a utility basis and charging around Rs 750 per month per user for it.
Through this it was possible to hit the 10-m PC mark by focusing on homes, SMEs and rural markets. While around 2.5m computers are sold in India, Mr Jain said this number could go up five or ten fold if machines were priced at around Rs 5,000. However, apart from developing low-cost computers, an entire eco system needed to be built.
To give a leg up to the SME fraternity, Mr Jain suggested the setting up of on-line academies. Engineering students could also be enlisted for some technical support, he added.
While open source technology is expected to play a key role in providing cost-effective solutions, Mr Jain said, it would be foolhardy not to make them Windows-compatible. He also felt that it was imperative to offer cheap software to nullify the effects of pirated offerings. The need to focus on building industry-specific applications was essential, he said.
The town of Tirupur, which had over 5,000 garment units, could use such applications to enhance their productivity. Mr Jain advocated the establishment of `Tech 7/11s that were one-stop solutions for all IT requirements.
He said that more needs to be done in the field of IT education. Instead of the present scenario where most companies in this field focused on training in technical fields, he said, education in areas such as e-mail, word processing and so on needed to be made the priority.