President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday lauded Kerala’s achievements in promoting information technology and declared the state to be the first “digital state” of India. ”With broadband connectivity in every Gram Panchayat, Kerala has emerged as a truly digital state,” Mukherjee said at a function at the Cyber Park near.
The president noted Kerala’s progress in becoming digitally enabled, right from the launching of a pilot Akshaya e-literacy project in Malappuram district in 2002 to now when the state revenue department alone is issuing about 30,000 digital certificates to the citizens daily. The Akshaya project, which has since expanded all across the state, was the first district-wide e-literacy project in India. There are currently about 2500 Akshaya centres across the length and breadth of the state, which also provide Internet access and e-service delivery to the people.
Mukherjee also praised the efforts of the IT@school project aimed at providing basic computer knowledge to every high school student. The state established its first State Data Center in 2005 to deliver governmental services through e-governance and set up the second centre in 2011, he said.
“It is heartening to note that Kerala has now over 600 e-governance applications covering almost all departments, delivering e-services to its citizens. They are also being made available on the mobile platform now. All districts of the state have been covered under the e-District project,” said Mukherjee.
The president said the growth of Internet and smartphone penetration had rapidly transformed Kerala into a knowledge-powered economy. He said the state has a mobile tele-density of 95 percent and an internet access covering over 60 percent of the population. The president also inaugurated the first IT Park in the Malabar region which is spread over of 0.5 million square feet and will provide a base to 5,000 professionals, besides creating indirect employment for over 20,000 people in the region.
“This IT Park has the distinction of being the first in its class to be developed in the country by a labour cooperative society, the Uralungal Labour Contract Co-operative Society (ULCCS),” he noted.
The society, formed in 1925 by social reformer Guru Vagbhadananda, has helped in improving the living standards of the economically-weaker sections by providing them job opportunities, Mukherjee said.