Social Scientist. v 13, no. 146-47 (July-Aug 1985) p. 72.

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Computer Policy & A Policy of Computerisation

A COMPUTER policy which seeks to regulate the computer industry, has a certain determinant The determinant of the regulatory structure embodied in the computer policy is the role that government envisages for computers. The important aspect of present computer policy is the changing perception regarding computerisation and the consequent articulation of this perception in the New Computer Policy released in November 1984 by the Department of Electronics (DOE). Earlier, computerisation, particularly in the wake of trade union resistance in mid 60s, was supposed to be restricted to only those tasks which could not otherwise be done manually; e.g., very large number crunching problems encountered in scientific and engineering computations or processing large volumes of data. Atleast this was the formal substance of the earlier policy. The present policy however, sees large scale computerisation as a necessity for "increased productivity and economic development". While launching the policy, planners have also projected a market of nearly 10,000 crores for the computer industry with a 1,000 crore software export market'. Not that the government itself takes these figures seriously. Behind the facade of the 21st century, modernisation etc., certain changes in the computer industry, the structure of employment, and the nature of the administrative apparatus are being adopted. It is necessary to examine the new computer policy and the policy of computerisation to understand the nature of these changes. In this paper, we will first discuss the indigenous computer industry, the possible impact of the new policy then analyse the present policy of computerisation with specific reference to the structure of employment and the change sought to be introduced in the sphere of the administrative apparatus of the state.

The Indigenous Computer Industry

The Indigenous Computer Industry really started with the departure of IBM. Apart from companies like Hinditron, ICIM etc. which had agencies for foreign computers, ECIL was the only indigenous computer manufacturer before IBM's departure. IBM, which had built up strong support structure within the leading Indian computer professionals, had been leasing out

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