Port-of-Spain: Trinidad and Tobago is seeking assistance from India to boost broadband services in the country. Public Administration Minister Carolyn Seepresad-Bachan said: "A critical element for the building of a knowledge-based economy is widespread access to affordable high speed broadband services," She was speaking at a function to mark the ITEC (Indian Technical Economic Co-operation) Day over the weekend.
ITEC, launched in 1964, is the flagship programme of India's technical and economic cooperation that addresses the infrastructure and skill development needs of developing countries. Its training programmes have contributed to capacity building and human resource development in many parts of the world. "The implementation of an enhanced broadband strategy will involve a public-private partnership and deployment of incentives aimed at encouraging foreign and domestic investment," she said at the event held at the residence of the Indian High Commissioner Malay Mishra. "India and the ITEC programme are very important to us as a people and as an emerging economy," she noted.
Mishra said the Indian government will consider any additional requests for more seats in ITEC. He noted that since the programme took root in 1964 it has been making a tremendous progress. "ITEC has now become a world classroom as it attempts to enhance human development through a network of human resources programmes. Programmes can be customized to fit the needs of any country, Mishra said. Seepresad-Bachan referred to India's initiative to empower 250,000 panchayats (village councils) in rural India by "democratising information for transparency, accountability, collaborations and decentralized decision-making".
"Panchayats perform a very important function as they act as the foundation nodes of information collection and dissemination" she told the gathering of ITEC graduates and officials. "It is the view that broadband will enable wider public access to government information, which is a prerequisite of good governance," she said. Over 40 per cent of the population of Trinidad and Tobago are of Indian origin, whose forefathers had come to this Caribbean nation between 1845 and 1917 to work on sugar plantations. Besides the Trinidad and Tobago minister and the Indian high commissioner, other senior officials also attended.