Linux Thrust: Full Utilisation Of Free Software Outlined

New Delhi: | Updated: Feb 28 2003, 05:30am hrs
In what may be bad news for propriety software companies like Microsoft, the government of India is actively exploring the possibility of building its information infrastructure on free (open source) software such as Linux.

Subscribers Prefer Mobile Over Landline

New Delhi: Recent telecommunication trends indicate that the new telecom subscribers in India favour the private sector over public sector service providers and prefer wireless telephony as compared to fixed phones, according to a pre-budget Economic Survey report tabled in parliament on Thursday.

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According to the pre-budget Economic Survey 2002-03 tabled in Parliament on Thursday, a remarkable phenomenon of recent years is the increased adoption of high quality free software which has become available internationally.

The use of free software reduces costs, reduces computer security threats, puts full control in Indian hands, and fosters the development of Indian skills in building new technology, it said.

As with numerous other governments in the world, the government of India is also actively exploring how free software can be fully utilised in India. Many government agencies and state governments have commenced exploiting free software, particularly in the areas of national security, e-governance, Internet-related applications, research and development, and utilisation for low-cost computing in schools and colleges, said the survey.

For computer technology to have maximum impact in India, complete support for Indian languages is required. Government agencies are working towards ensuring that all Indian languages are properly supported, particularly with free software.

The Economic Survey also stated that Indias software exports has grown by a phenomenal 50 per cent over the last five years to touch Rs 36,500 crore in 2001-02.

During the same period, the countrys hardware exports touched Rs 5,871 crore.

The Survey said, While software export is a well-known success story, India is now an important venue for many tasks in services such as financial accounting, call centres, processing insurance claims and medical transcriptions.

Among other major developments in the sector, it said issuance of digital licences by the Controller of Certifying Authorities (CCA) to firms setting up key Internet security infrastructure for online business transactions, setting up of Centre for Information and Network Security in Pune Univeristy and computer emergency response team for protecting Indias strategic commercial and financial information assets would go a long way in putting the country on the global infotech map.

Also, some of the policy initiatives taken on the customs duties front with regard to the IT sector have brought desirable results.