President Ram Nath Kovind Friday said the future of the country’s economy and employment creation depends heavily on the success the nation achieves with Digital India. Terming Information Technology as “a force multiplier” for the entire service economy, Kovind said it has played a game changing role in health-care, education, tourism and many other industries.
“The future of our economy and of our employment creation is heavily dependent on the success we achieve with Digital India,” Kovind said after launching the Kerala government’s ambitious Technocity project. The jobs of tomorrow would come more and more from digital services and other opportunities that are derived from the Internet, he said. “I must emphasise that IT is not just important in itself. It is a force multiplier for the entire services economy,” the President opined.
Pointing out Kerala’s potential and growth in the digital sector, he said it is one of India’s most connected states, with among the highest rates of mobile phone penetration. “Kerala is potentially a power-house of Digital India. I understand that the government is making efforts to bridge the digital divide and provide free Internet connections to two million poorer families by using a new optic fibre network,” he said.
The President said the southern state’s IT sector has been growing and among all other Indian states, it is currently ranked eighth in terms of exports by IT and IT-enabled services companies. “The IT sector provides direct employment to one hundred thousand (or one lakh) people in Kerala. This is only the tip of the iceberg. There is immense capacity to make these numbers grow,” he said. Kerala’s strengths in basic literacy and skills and the experience of the state’s people in the services sector and in consumer driven industries make it “a natural for an IT ecosystem”, he said, adding he is confident that the early development of Technocity would only accelerate this process.
Kovind lavished praise on the state’s achievements in various sectors, including health care, education, tourism. He mentioned his recent trip to Ethiopia, where a large number of Keralites work as teachers. “Wherever I went and whomsoever I spoke to in Ethiopia, there was always mention of the role of Indian school teachers… Many of those teachers who are so remembered in Ethiopia, I was happy to learn, were from Kerala,” he said.
Noting that many hospitals and medical centres in and outside the country cannot function without the “ever smiling and ever attentive sisters from Kerala”, he said health care workers from the state, both men and women,are internationally sought after. Without the hard work of Keralites, the economies of the United Arab Emirates and other Gulf countries would not be the same, Kovind added.
The President earlier laid the foundation stone for the first government IT building at the Technocity campus by unveiling a plaque in the presence of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Governor P Sathasivam, state Minister Kadakampally Surendran and other top state government officials.
Technocity, coming up on a 400 acre campus at nearby Pallippuram, is aimed at fostering emerging and high-end technologies and research and development in this regard. Once the IT park is operational, an additional 1,00,000 employment opportunities from leading and upcoming IT companies are expected to be generated in the state.