Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee flagged off the World Computer Literacy Day (WCLD) by releasing a postal cover commemorating the occasion in New Delhi. The event also featured a session organized by NIIT and Pramod Mahajan, Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Communication and IT, to familiarize the Members of the Parliament (MPs) with the basics of computing, which was conducted by Dr Sugato Mitra, R&D head, NIIT. Participating MPs were given a copy of the NIIT Swift program course book and copies of a Webdunia Windik regional language CD.
Speaking on the occasion Mahajan said that the definition of literacy has been changing and in the years to come, literacy will encompass computer literacy as well. "The session for the MPs is more symbolic in nature, sending a strong message to the masses that the government is serious about IT," he informed. Talking to reporters later during the day, Mahajan added that the Budget presentation this year might be done with a CD, doing away with the tons of paper. "Similar projects are on the anvil," he added.
"Haath hai, brains bhi hain India ke (India has muscle, it has brains too)," was Laloo Prasad Yadav's comment. "IT is not the solution to all the problems in the nation," he added, "but it can definitely solve a lot of problems." Yadav also announced that Mahajan is visiting Bihar on December 22 and he (Yadav) has already sanctioned Rs one crore and three acres of land for an IT project.
Viswanathan Anand, Chess Grandmaster and brand ambassador for NIIT, has traveled across the country talking to people from all walks of life about the role of IT as part of the WCLD celebrations. Others who participated in the nationwide campaign included the Chandrababu Naidu, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and Dr C Rangarajan, Governor of AP, D Jayakumar, Minister of IT for Tamil Nadu, Viren J Shah, Governor of West Bengal, Dr Sheema Rizvi, Minister for IT of Uttar Pradesh and K Cherian Varghese, Chairman of Corporation Bank. Globally, action is happening fast in countries across Africa and South East Asia, where the campaign hits in December and spills over to January 2003, according to a statement issued by
Organized for the first time last year, the WCLD is a NIIT initiative aimed at bridging the digital divide. The current edition saw a host of Indian corporate championing the cause of computer literacy as well - AirTel, Cyber Media and Webduniya. WCLD is all set to become an annual event with last year 100,000 people becoming computer literate and a 200,000 more expected to be initiated by NIIT this year.
Cyber News Service