Several DIT Societies May End Up On The Chopping Block

New Delhi: | Updated: Oct 18 2002, 05:30am hrs
In order to shed flab and make its operations more meaningful, the department of information technology (DIT) has decided to bring all its societies under the microscope to decide their fate.

The move may result in the closure of irrelevant operations and merger of those organisations involved in similar activities. Sources in DIT said that societies like C-DAC, NCST and ER&DCI which are involved in research and development activities might be merged. Similarly, the merger of STPI and ERNET - as both of them are involved in providing infrastructure - is also on the cards.

When contacted by eFE, a senior DIT official involved in the management of these societies confirmed that an internal review has been initiated to take a closer look at each of the societies and their operations. We are aware of the problem of overlapping operations and are taking appropriate measures to restructure the organisations.

The sources said that a proposal for the merger of societies which are involved in similar activities was circulated around a month back. A meeting of society heads was also organised last week by senior DIT officials to initiate a dialogue and work out the modalities.

The talks are at a very nascent stage. We do not want to force a merger on them. The idea is to provide a common platform to these organisations to enable them to work out the best possible arrangement, a senior DIT official said.

DIT currently has around 18 organisations working under its umbrella including societies like C-DAC (Centre for Development of Advanced Computing), NCST (National Centre for Software Technology), ER&DCI Electronic Research and Development Centre of India), ERNET (Education and Research Network), STPI (Software Technology Parks of India), DOEACC (Department of Electronics Accreditation of Computer Courses), CEDTI (Centre for Electronics Design and Technology of India), SAMEER (Society for Applied Microwave Electronics Engineering and Research); independent organisations like NIC (National Informatics Centre) and regional computer centres; STQC (Standardisation, Testing and Quality Certification) directorate; public sector unit National Semiconductor Complex and joint ventures like Media Lab Asia.

DIT has a Rs 470 crore annual plan for 2002-03 and most of the funds are meant for budgetary support to these societies. Experts say that merger of related operations will not only save a substantial amount of funds but also help in providing a wider perspective to stand-alone research projects undertaken by these organisations.

The sources also point out that the consolidation exercise might lead to the closure of a few societies that are no longer relevant in the current technology environment. However, they refused to disclose the names of those societies being considered for closure.