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Cool Bihari: April 2008

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Bihar’s IT policy - A better tomorrow

Far from the eyes of our mainstream media,Bihar’s politicial leadership has released a draft policy document which will lay the foundation for Bihar's new future . After taking various steps to boost agriculture and investment in Bihar, the govt has taken encouraging steps to roll out the draft version of the IT Policy 2008. The draft version is all set to put Bihar on the IT map and help in balancing the digital divide in the country.

It ‘s vision statement articulates that by the end of 2012, Bihar becomes one of the top five e-Governed, IT-enabled, e-Literate States in the Country and is regarded as a preferred destination for IT businesses and is a major supplier of skilled IT manpower.

The IT policy goal would be realised by building core IT infrastructure in the State, ushering in e-Governance, providing extensive citizen-centric services, promoting IT education, incentivising IT businesses to set up units in the state, regulating IT services and putting in place institutionalised arrangements for implementation and monitoring of IT activities in the state. The key objectives of the plicy aims at :

IT Infrastructure: To create world class IT infrastructure and connectivity for e-Governance in the state linking its offices from the State HQs down to districts and blocks; to ensure connectivity for panchayati raj institutions; to facilitate setting up of broadband digital networks and encourage National Long Distance Operators (NLDOs) to build robust fibre optic network in the State.

e-Governance: To use e-Governance to implement Government‟s agenda of Good Governence; to improve the internal processes of the government through deployment of Information Technology, administrative reforms, re-engineering and modernization with a view to providing an efficient, responsive, transparent and cost effective Government; to take all necessary steps to gain the maximum advantage under the National e-Governance Plan and the resources available therein for ushering in e-Governance in the State.

Citizen Services: To use IT to bring various services to the people at minimum cost on "anywhere, anytime‟ basis; to bridge the digital divide between urban and rural areas by implementing the scheme of Common Services Centres (CSC) to provide G2C and B2C services to the citizens at their doorstep; to undertake computerisation of government offices to enable them to respond to citizen‟s electronic requests for services and information.

e-Literacy and IT Education: To promote measures for in government offices as well as among the masses;to ensure IT education in schools and colleges; to set up dedicated institutions for IT education in public and private sector.

IT Industry: To create a favourable climate in the State for investments in the IT, ITES & knowledge-based industries with a view to generating employment, earning income through exports and encouraging eCommerce, thereby significantly increasing the contribution of the IT sector to the State GDP.

Regulatory Issues: To devise appropriate legal and regulatory framework for efficient administration of IT and ITES; to prevent misuse of ICT and protect intellectual property rights, patents & trademarks.

I am sure this will also help in realizing the long cherished dream of our ex-president Abdul Kalaam Azad who laid out the PURA policy for bridging the Urban rural divide and balanced economic growth.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Small but significant steps

Last week a small article appeared in The Telegraph which talked about the contribution of Non Resident Biharis towards initiating new ventures in their native state.

It didn’t appear in many newspapers or repeatedly telecasted umpteen times on any of new channels as it didn’t go well with their idea of Bihar. Small but significant moves like these seldom get the attention it deserves.

Doubting Thomas may continue to wonder how significantly it is going to change things. But this surely marks a new beginning as traditionally we have continued to rely upon political leadership for support and driving social and economic change. These are no acts of charity but sustained and well planned efforts towards making fundamental changes in the area of Educational research, Tourism ,Science and technology and higher education in the state.

We have worked closely with some of the members on various Bihar related initiatives and it’s a great pleasure to see the efforts getting recognized and setting right examples for others to emulate.

NRB’s like Ramraj Pandey, Naveen Sharma, Bibhuti Bikramaditya and Ramesh Yadav have shown the passion and conviction to come forward and collaborate with the state machinery and private groups in setting out the new agenda of bright and promising Bihar.
Our Bihar based groups like One Bihar, Cool Bihari, Bihari Brains and many others groups have also been exemplifying this approach of collaboration and people with diverse professional and academic background have been working on various Bihar initiatives .Through these teams /groups our Non Resident Biharis have responded to the call of coming forward and giving back to their country and state. So ideas which appear herculean from periphery gets real shape and are put into implementation with the support of the large NRB community which contributes whole heartedly for these projects.
We have had few exemplary success in these collaborative effort and some of the projects have had profound impact. Be it a Global Scientific meet like scientific foresight or Multimedia Tourism project in Nalanda, Patna Rice or I am Bihar t-shirt project, Gauravshali Bihar book or flood relief effort, our friends and well wishers have always joined hands for all our projects. An encouraging aspect which comes out in all these efforts is that the common driving passion for one and all has been the interest of Bihar. So it’s not about what individuals get out of it, or who takes the credit for these efforts, as a team and well wishers everyone has come together.
In this journey so far we have made new friends everywhere, faced odds and converted it into great opportunities, some laughed at us ,while we were smiling :) as we could what we have set ourselves for and what we stand for ….yes we all dream of a better mankind, nation and an identity called Bihari.

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Dawn of a new era in Bihar

Bihar has made significant progress in scaling upto the challenges of improving the education system in the state. At the grass root level radio’s in Bihar are playing English tutorials for the kids in the interior villages to learn the nuances of the language .

Now I can say 'welcome', 'thank you' and even write small sentences," said Rajesh. It's an achievement for a boy who belongs to a landless farmer's family and speaks the Maghi dialect at home.
The programme covers nearly six million primary school students in 37 districts in the state and is broadcast through radio sets in government schools. "English for Fun" was launched by the Bihar government in December last year at a cost of Rs 40 million in collaboration with a Bangalore-based NGO, Education Development Centre, and the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

On the other hand Higher and technical education in Bihar is showing encouraging action. Graduates of IIM-A have charted a course and are helping the government of Bihar to set up CIMP management institute in Patna with support from IIM-A faculty members.


IIM-A alumni Abhinav Jain, Amit Kumar, Rahul Roushan, Kartik Laxman, Akshat Khare, Kaushlendra and Mayank Premi from Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, are applying their management skills to develop Chandragupta Institute of Management, Patna, (CIMP), Bihar, on the lines of IIM-A. CIMP's administrative structure, course curriculum and pedagogy have been modelled on the lines of IIM-A. Even its library is being constructed with the help of IIM-A. Roushan, who is part of the project team, said, "IIM-A students, especially those hailing from Bihar, used to discuss how to help the state come out of its backwardness."

"One thing was quite clear — that brain drain had to be stopped — and for that local centres of excellence and opportunities have to be created. CIMP is an important step towards that and we are getting support from those who do not hail from Bihar but who believe in the cause," added Roshan.

Director, CIMP, V Mukundadas, stated that IIM-A has agreed in principle to support CIMP with its technical expertise in setting up the library, although a formal announcement is yet to be made by the authorities in this regard. Professor Piyush Kumar Sinha, chairman, placement committee at IIM-A, is one of the key members involved in the shaping up of CIMP.

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Saturday, April 05, 2008

Winds of Change blowing in Bihar

Winds of change are sweeping across Bihar, isn’t it a pleasant surprise to see some positive moves being made by the notorious criminal turn politicians in Bihar. A small move but goes a long way in changing the common perception people have about these politicians in Bihar. Such moves go a long way in assuring the sentiments of Non resident Biharis and even non Biharis about the changes that have taken place over the last few years in Bihar.

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