Lok Sabha

March 20, 2020

Saugata Roy speaks on The Indian Institute of Information Technology Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020

Saugata Roy speaks on The Indian Institute of Information Technology Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020


Sir, I rise to speak on the Indian Institute of Information Technology Laws (Amendment) Bill. Basically I support the Bill because this is just to give five more IIITs the Institution of National Importance tag. They are in Bhagalpur, Surat, Raichur, Bhopal and Agartala. So having more IIITs in the country is a welcome step and I support this step as a move to forward IT education in the country.

May I say the HRD Minister knows that these IIITs are not yet of a standard equal to that of an Institution of National Importance. If you compare them to the IIT’s, to the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, to the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, you would find that those institutes are globally recognised. Your IIITs have not yet reached that standard. Therefore I urge him to look into the curriculum of these IIITs and bring them up to the level of the IITs.

Having said that, may I say that the state of education in information technology is in a very confused state. In my State too there is one IIIT, in Kalyani, which is a good thing, and it is running well. But then why are so many engineering colleges offering courses in information technology? The reason is that there is little cost involved. You just set up a few computers and a few chairs and say that you are teaching information technology. But the education is not properly imparted. Why? What do they do? They teach physics and mathematics in the early stages of the course and then go on to teach hardware and software. I want to tell the Minister that any IT course should consist of only two parts — hardware and software.

Hardware is about how to build a computer, the computer circuits, etc. while software is about using codes to put that computer to work. Analysing big problems. Our institutes teach little about hardware. While India is on the forefront in software, we are very much behind in hardware. We hardly manufacture, all our computers are imported. It is necessary to develop hardware education in the country so that we can manufacture our own computers. There are some companies which manufacture mobile phones here but most of our mobile phones are imported — Samsung, Nokia, Oppo, whatever.

Now, as I was saying, the curriculum is flawed. What do they teach? They teach elementary mathematics and physics at the earlier stages. As a teacher of physics, I know that their level of physics is not very high. But basic knowledge of physics is necessary to understand IT. Then they teach certain matters of software, like algorithms, circuit theory and network theory in electronics. These are the basics of software and hardware.

Now, Sir, you will be aware, there is a new industrial revolution in the world called Industrial Revolution 4.0. Our Rajya Sabha Member, Narendra Yadav has written a book on Industrial Revolution 4.0. New things are coming — machine learning, artificial intelligence, blockchain technology and the internet of things, and also data structure. These are absolutely new things and is wonderful how the whole world can be sorted out with the use of artificial intelligence. It will increase the speed of computers by many times. So, these latest things have to be taught in our IIITs.

I would request the Minister to form a committee at his level and to take the advice of the best people in the country. We have people like Saptagiri Ulaka, who has worked in Infosys for 15 years. He is a computer engineer. You have to incorporate such people in your committee.

The last thing I want to talk about is that the training in these IIITs is at a rudimentary level. That is why companies like TCS, Infosys, CTS, Mahindra Satyam have to train the fresh graduates they recruit from these institutes. That is why, as Mr Ulaka says, these companies have to spend five per cent of their revenues on this training. Though it must be said that Indian companies have captured a big part of the world software market. Half the software used by American companies is coded by our companies. Our education therefore should be in line with the needs of these big software companies. You said that a lot of them got jobs. I would like a list from the Minister as to how many graduates from the IITs and IIITs, including the five being discussed, have got jobs and at what salaries?

We do not want our IT graduates to work as cyber coolies, we want them to work as proper data analysts and that is not happening in the country. So, I welcome this Bill, it is a good Bill, it should be supported.

Lastly I would like to make a plea to the Minister to please develop the scientific temper in the country as Jawaharlal Nehru had set out to do. If people still believe that gaumutra can cure coronavirus infection and wearing five rings on the fingers  can take away all their problems …

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