‘30,000 GRAM PANCHAYATS WILL BE CONNECTED DIGITALLY’
Vijay Kumar Gautam
Principal Secretary, State IT department
The State Government intends to digitally connect 30,000 gram panchayats (GPs) in the State. However, there are hurdles in connecting some GPs, which we plan to connect by December 2018,” said Vijay Kumar Gautam, Principal Secretary, State IT department.
He said, “We are facing challenges in providing Internet connections to 5,000 out of the 30,000 GPs. The IT department will use satellite technology to provide Internet to these GPs. This Internet network of GPs will be achieved through fiber optic cables. This project will play an important role in strengthening the ‘seva kendras’ (service centres) in the State. This is an opportunity to introduce digital economy in rural areas. There is a lot of potential in rural areas. Digital connectivity will test and realise this potential.”
Gautam added that the IT Department has the challenging task of implementing ambitious plans such as smart village, rural warehouse, supply chain management, telemedicine, e-agriculture and cyber security.
Growing use of the Internet and smartphones has underlined the need to have cyber security, which has posed a challenge to the State. “We have started teaching the subject to school children. A booklet on the issue is being distributed among school children. Massive data on bank accounts, Aadhaar cards and cellphone numbers is being compiled. The IT Department is supporting start-ups by setting up hubs with the help of NASSCOM,” added Gautam.
‘MAIN OBJECTIVE IS TO MANAGE GROWING URBANISATION’
Principal Secretary, Urban Development Department
We aim to have proper management of growing urbanisation. The Development Plan (DP) of each city in the State will be ready by August 15 this year. The pace of urbanisation is very fast and nobody can stop it now. It has been observed that towns are becoming cities while cities are becoming metropolises. The Urban Development Department (UDD) has drawn a broad roadmap. It has been our objective to plan new cities. However, what is equally important is that they should be made liveable. At present, terms of DPs of 16 districts are ending while 100 new municipalities have no DPs. Draft DPs of 16 districts are ready, which will be published to invite objections and suggestions. We will face manpower and technological challenges while achieving the objective.
We are in the process of giving online permission for new buildings. The online system will be introduced in 220 municipalities in the State by this year-end. Municipal corporations such as Mumbai and Pune will start their own online systems. Municipalities will depend on the State government for preparing DP, good governance and financial planning due to the introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST). It will be a challenge. Among other things, our objectives include providing basic amenities, public transport systems and creating new smart cities.
‘PLENTY OF OPPORTUNITIES TO ENHANCE TOURISM IN STATE’
Tourism and Culture Minister
There are several opportunities to enhance tourism in the State which is blessed with a vast expanse of coastline 720 km long, 900 historical caves, six tiger reserves and the vast expanse of forests dotted with greenery. The Tourism Department is taking immense efforts to boost the tourism in the State,” said Tourism and Culture Minister, Jaykumar Rawal.
He added that tourism sector has a great potential to generate several employment opportunities in and around the tourist destinations spread over the coastline. The presence of historic forts in the State provides unique identity to its many districts. The historical caves draw many tourists every year. Considering this, the State government is now starting five institutes to provide training to many students in hotel management and catering.
Similarly, the Tourism Department is also working towards the development of places of religious importance. Kolhapur has received a generous fund for the same. On the other hand, considering the ever increasing flow of devotees to Solapur and Tuljapur, the State government is now starting Hotel Management Institute at Solapur. The department is also working towards improving the basic infrastructural facilities at tourist destinations. The emphasis is put on building adequate drinking water facilities and toilets at tourist destinations, said the minister.
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