Maran focus on Indo-Japan ties in IT sector

Chennai, March 21 | Updated: Mar 22 2005, 05:44am hrs
The Union minister of communications and IT, Dayanidhi Maran, stressed the need for increased co-operation between India and Japan in the IT sector, considering the huge potential of Japans IT market. While inaugurating the international IT exhibition and conference, Indiasoft 2005 on Monday, Mr Maran said that with an estimated market size of $80 billion, Japan was the second largest IT market in the world after the US. Looking at the immense potential that the Japanese IT market offers, we have taken a conscious decision to increase co-operation with Japan in the IT sector.

Mr Maran also urged the Japanese government to reduce the withholding tax. In this years budget, we have reduced the withholding tax to 10%. Once the Japanese government also slashes the withholding tax on Indias export of software products to Japan, it will help a large number of Indian software companies, he said.

Mr Maran and Kozo Takaharasan, vice minister for international affairs, Japan, said that the relationship between India and Japan in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector was steadily growing. India and Japan had recently signed an ICT co-operation agreement. Mr Takaharasan, said, A few weeks ago an India-Japan ICT forum was established by the Japanese ICT companies who are interested in doing business with India in the ICT sector..

Mr Maran said that bridging the rural-urban digital divide in the country could generate business worth trillions of dollars. Our goal is to go beyond software exports and outsourcing. We want to connect villages, blocks, municipalities and corporation. This will plug the rural-urban divide and generate new concepts and techniques in e-governance, e-learning, e-banking etc.

Mr Maran said that besides software and services, India could also be relied upon for contract manufacturing in the hardware sector. However to move up the value chain in IT, the sector has to concentrate on research and development. We need to build several Silicon valleys, multiple Stanford universities, netpreneurs and many Indian Bill Gates, he said.