The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Shourie certificate to Buddha’s IT regime

Chennai, March 23: No, Arun Shourie hasn’t converted to communism, he’s embraced Buddh-ism.

As in Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee — not Gautam Buddha.

Just because it is a “communist government”, Shourie lamented, Bhattacharjee’s “excellent work” in information technology has not caught the media’s fancy.

Hear, hear, Chandrababu Naidu, who is always hogging the limelight.

Shourie was not speaking in Hyderabad, but he was in Naidu’s neck of infotech woods all right. The infotech and disinvestment minister took Bhattacharjee’s message down south, the acknowledged IT hub.

Bengal is the only state yet to declare infotech a “public utility”, Shourie said here, addressing the anniversary programme of a business daily.

Captains of industry in the audience also heard the Union minister praise the Bengal government’s “pioneering reforms” in the power sector. Shourie mentioned better collection of dues and the drop in transmission and distribution losses.

“Yet, these things are not reported by the media, just as much as Bengal’s economic stagnation in the previous 13 years went largely unreported,” he said.

Another glaring instance of under-reporting, the Union minister added, was Madhya Pradesh, where former chief minister Digvijay Singh was hailed as a great economic manager only to be suddenly told later that there was no proper infrastructure development in his state.

Shourie said 80 per cent of India’s IT exports now happen from the 35 software technology parks and in them lay a lesson in what the public-private partnership could achieve in the country. The parks would be among the focus areas for the Centre after the Lok Sabha elections, said Shourie.

India’s economic reforms in the first phase was “by announcement”, the minister said to a roar of laughter. The government then would only announce abolishing of this regulation or that. The next phase will have to do more with “anticipating and preparing for the impact of events (globally) that are round the corner”, Shourie said.

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