Union Minister for Communication and Information Technology Kapil Sibal launched the logo and website for the National Knowledge Network (NKN). “The NKN is a significant step towards ushering a knowledge revolution in the country and poses a challenge to the ways we think and work. Technology is enabler but efforts beyond that are required to inform, educate and empower people of the country,” Sibal, Union Minister for Communication and Information Technology (C&IT) at the launch. He further said that we need to work even harder to reap the benefits of this kind of network and put it to the use of children and people in remote parts of India. The NKN envisages connecting all higher centres of learning and research by bringing together all stakeholders from science, technology, higher education, healthcare, agriculture and governance to a common platform. Initially, the decision to set up NKN was announced in 2008-09 with an allocation of Rs.100 crore to the Department of Information Technology. The NKN had been inaugurated on April 9, 2009 by President Pratibha Patil. Since then this vision has translated into a concrete implementation plan with approval from the cabinet in March, 2010. An outlay of Rs. 5,990 Crore has been approved for this project and it shall be implemented by NIC over a period of next two years and operated for over next 10 years. Speaking from Chicago through a video conferencing, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Public Information Infrastructure and Innovations Sam Pitroda appreciated and thanked the entire team for making the NKN possible in a very short period. He also emphasized the need to take fiber based connectivity to all the 2,50,000 panchayats and all the municipalities in the country. Later speaking on the occasion, Minister of State for Communication and Information Technology Sachin Pilot said, “In this era of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) influencing every life, NKN will enable Indians to reach new heights.” He further added, “The Government's endeavor is that with best IT infrastructure India must keep an edge over the world to be the super power in the field of information technology. This NKN will equip young Indians to face the global challenges in the times to come.” Dr. R. Chidambaram, Principal Scientific Adviser to the government of India and Chairperson of the NKN High Level Committee made an interactive presentation demonstrating how the NKN will connect various stakeholders. Representatives from the Indian Institutes of Technology at Indore, Hyderabad, Guwahati, Madras, Indian Institute of Science-Bangalore, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Ministry of Earth Sciences and Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC) participated in the live interaction . Speaking on the occasion, the Department of Information and Technology Secretary S.K. Sharma said that the NKN will transform the knowledge landscape of the country. The implementation of NKN is currently underway and aims to accomplish connectivity to approximately 550+ institutions across the country by March, 2011. In Phase-I, the service providers are connecting the NKN Points of Presence (PoPs) with 2.5 Gigabits bandwidth links. The bandwidth of these PoPs shall be enhanced from 2.5G to 10G in the next year. So far, 76 links for the creation of the backbone for NKN project have been established. Also, connectivity with 200 edge links for various institutions has been accomplished.
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