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Reliance Infocomm unfolds plans for West Bengal

By Our Special Correspondent



The Chairman of Reliance Industries, Mukesh D. Ambani, along with West Bengal's IT & Environment Minister, Manabendra Mukherjee (second left), and the Managing Director of ABP Pvt. Ltd., Aniruddha Lahiri (extreme right), at the inauguration of Infocom 2004 in Kolkata, on Wednesday. — Photo: Parth Sanyal

KOLKATA, DEC. 1. The Chairman of Reliance Industries, Mukhesh Ambani, today unveiled a series of investment plans for West Bengal, where Reliance Infocomm has already pumped in about Rs. 1,000 crores.

In his first public address since eruption of the controversy over reported ownwership issues with his brother Anil Ambani, Mukesh Ambani felt that RIL's investments in this eastern State were not enough.

Addressing the inaugural session of Infocom 2004 here, he gave a leg-up to the State saying that Reliance Infocomm would set up a solutions development and service centre in the city. "This would be the first such centre outside Mumbai,'' he said. Additionally, Kolkata had also been chosen for locating the second Dhirubhai Ambani Information and Communications Institute. The first is in Gujarat. He said this would help train up the budding talents of West Bengal.

Reliance Infocomm, billed as one of the ambitious investment programmes of the Ambanis, would help mark the country's footprint in the global infotech map, Mr. Ambani felt saying that a broadband revolution was now under way, after the digital revolution ushered in by Reliance Infocomm.

Recalling his father's words, he said Dhirubhai had remarked that IT could empower millions of people and true value could be generated at the intersection of information and communication.

He said today it was no longer enough to merely manufacture and market a product. It was also essential to bundle it as a total solutions option. Citing an example, he said, "Auto companies no longer manufacture cars only but they offer you finance, maintenance and a total package.''

Infocom 2004 was organised by the National Association of Software and Serve Companies (Nasscom) and BusinessWorld.

The Nasscom Chairman, Jerry Rao, urged the Left party in Bengal to prevail upon their seniors to take a pragmatic view on FDI in sectors such as airports and roads.

Nandan Nilekani, CEO, President and Managing Director of Infosys Technologies, speaking at a later session, said the real challenge was to leverage technology to improve governance and thereby efficiencies in sectors such as health and education.

Shanker Annaswamy, Managing Director of IBM India, said induction of IT could improve governance and enhance effectiveness and efficiency of a Government.

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