SHILLONG, May 11: Meghalaya Information and Technology Minister, Ampareen Lyngdoh said that the state has successfully implemented and augmented the infrastructure required for various IT initiatives while at the same time admitting uncertainty about funding from the Centre for the constant maintenance and upgrade costs of the existing infrastructure.
“There is constant need of funds to maintain and upgrade the existing infrastructure. Currently there have been no clear views on funding from the Central government to upgrade the existing infrastructure,” said Lyngdoh when asked about the challenges the IT department faces.
“The issue has been taken up at various levels with the centre and some decisive measures are expected,” Lyngdoh informed on Thursday.
Meghalaya’s hostile terrain, lack of awareness among citizens, imparting quality IT education at schools level besides no clarity from the centre on the funding pattern are a few of the hurdles the state Information Technology department is faced with in its efforts to develop the IT sector of the state.
On connectivity, the Information and Technology minister said, “Meghalaya being a hilly region for majority of areas, has made it difficult to provide connectivity to every nook and corner of the state. However, there has been a constant effort to decrease the gap and provide last mile connectivity to each and every citizen.”
She further informed that under BharatNet Phase-1, 1208 villages are planned to be connected and the work is in progress and the details of the Bharat Net Phase-II connectivity programme is awaited.
Pointing out that awareness among citizens and to a certain extent among government officials regarding acceptance of IT enabled services is very essential for the growth of the IT sector in the state, Lyngdoh said, “There have been lots of pushes to make citizens aware of the various IT initiatives through various campaigns like Digital India Outreach campaign, Digi Dhan mela”.
“There is still scope for improvement in making everyone aware and comfortable enough to use IT for various requirements,” she added.
Furthermore on the educational aspects, she said that IT education at school level is very important for upbringing students to be prepared for future challenges and thereby creating a pool of IT educated, savvy students.
She also informed that various programmes like ICT for schools, Digital classrooms have been taken up in this regard.
It may be recalled that the state information and technology department is implementing the Digital Classroom project under North eastern Council (NEC) under which three digital classrooms are being set up in 24 government schools.
The department has also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Tata ClassEdge to provide quality e-content to the schools with digital classrooms.