Kripa Rani has several telecom projects for AP, Srikakulm in particular

Kripa Rani has several telecom projects for AP, Srikakulm in particular

Is the Telecom Ministry taking an initiative in the Naxal-affected areas, as it is said that if the backward areas are developed, the menace could...

Is the Telecom Ministry taking an initiative in the Naxal-affected areas, as it is said that if the backward areas are developed, the menace could be tackled at the root? The Telecom Ministry has decided to install 3,200 mobile telecom towers at a cost of Rs 3,000 crore in all the Left-Wing Extremist areas. This is a major initiative, which is aimed at improving communications in the remote and backward areas. The government always believes that development of the remote and backward areas is vital to effectively tackling the problem. The government has taken a constructive and calculative decision, which is bound to pay dividends in the times to come.
Is there a similar initiative even in Andhra Pradesh?
Yes. In Andhra Pradesh, the comparative coverage of mobile signals is less in the tribal areas. On a war-footing, a project has been launched to cover the tribal areas in the state. Shortly, at a cost of Rs 300 crore, as many as 227 mobile towers will be installed in the tribal areas of Andhra Pradesh. I can confidently say that within one year, vast tracts in the state will be covered. A pilot project is on in Srikakulam district to cover 100 per cent habitations with good signals. Already, the C-DOT officials are carrying out a survey in the regard.
What are the initiatives you have taken for Andhra Pradesh in the short span of time that you have been in office?
It is my ambition to do as much as possible for Andhra Pradesh. I consider it my good fortune that I have been able to achieve some success. An important initiative in my view is the Rajiv Gandhi Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Project for Rural Schools in Srikakulam district. In fact, Srikakulam will be the second district, after my predecessor Sachin Pilot had taken it to Ajmer in Rajasthan. With the starting of this project, the schools in Srikakulam district will get the state-of-the-art ICT infrastructure.
There is an ambitious plan for broadband connectivity to all the panchayats in Andhra Pradesh. How will you go about it?
A pilot project has been launched in Parvada Mandal of Visakhapatnam district. An estimated 15,000 gram panchayats in Andhra Pradesh will be covered by May 2014. This is part of the project for the creation of National Optical Fibre Network for providing broadband connectivity to 2.5 lakh village panchayats in the country, at an estimated cost of Rs 20,000 crore. The underlining conviction is that broadband in rural areas can bridge the digital divide and widespread adoption of broadband will have multiplier effect over a long-term. It will improve productivity and quality of life in the rural areas. Broadband services empower the masses, enabling individuals to access new educational opportunities and new careers. Equally it enhances the government capacity to deliver critical services like healthcare, banking and commerce.
Is there any specific initiative to help women?
Srikakulam has been selected for a pilot project for Sanchar Shakti Scheme to help women Self-Help Groups (SHGs) in the rural areas. Andhra Pradesh will be the fourth State, after Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Uttarakhand, where this project is being taken up. This scheme includes mobile Value Added Services (VAS) in the form of voice/text messages tailored to meet their specific requirements. For instance, the type of information that will be disseminated to women include mandi rates specifically of the markets identified by women, themselves; information on weather, cattle-raring and plant diseases; Central and State Government schemes for women; awareness on healthcare issues and ways of handling the same; awareness on social issues; and improvement in livelihood skills. It will also facilitate SHGs to access Information and Communication Technology (ICT) enabled services as an aid to their education, training and employment opportu- nities, besides healthcare and safety issues.
Is there any plan to link institutions across Andhra Pradesh?
Twenty institutions in Andhra Pradesh have been identified for connectivity under the National Knowledge Network (NKN). These institutions will get bandwidth connectivity free of cost under the National Knowledge Network project at an estimated cost of Rs 60 crore. This project aims to give an impetus to the growth of knowledge economy by providing increased access for the students to a wider pool of knowledge, which is easily available on the internet. The institutions covered in Andhra Pradesh are Government Dental College and Hospital, Hyderabad; Government Medical College, Anantapur; National Technical Research Organisation, Hyderabad; Sri Venkateshwara Vedic University, Tirupati; Sri Venkateshwara Veterinary University, Tirupati; Adikavi Nannaya University, Rajahmundry; Rayalaseema University, Kurnool; Palamuru Uniersity, Mahboobnagar; Dr B R Ambedkar University, Etcherla; Damodaram Sanjivaiah National Law University, Visakhapatnam; Jawaharlal Nehru Architecture and Fine Arts University, Hyderabad; Research Centre Imarat Vigyankancha, Hyderabad; Indian Institute of Information Technology, Basar; Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Prakasham; Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Adilabad; Government Medical College, Nizamabad; Indian Institute of Information Technology, Kadapa; National Law School, Nalsar; School of Planning and Architecture, Vijayawada; and Kakinada Engineering College, Kakinada.
How is the telecom sector likely to impact the people?
The National Telecom Policy 2012 approved by the government aims at achieving a turnover of $ 400 billion and creating 28 million jobs at various levels by 2020. Four Electronic Manufacturing Cluster Schemes in Andhra Pradesh are being planned, with two in Ranga Reddy district and one each in Visakhapatnam and Srikakulam districts. Under the scheme, electronic gadgets and chip manufacturing units can be set up, for which the Centre will offer 50 per cent financial assistance. This will not only help the domestic but also the export requirements and generate employment opportunities in Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy, Srikakulam, Visakhapatnam and adjoining districts.
What are the investment prospects for Andhra Pradesh in the telecom sector?
Hyderabad has been identified as the IT Investment Region, which is expected to attract more investments and provide more employment to the people of Andhra Pradesh. Exports in the IT sector will also increase. Under this project, Special Economic Zones, Industrial Parks, Free Trade Zones, Warehousing Zones and export-oriented units will come up.
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