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Wednesday, 6 June, 2001, 17:08 GMT 18:08 UK
Clamp down on computer piracy
Bangalore programmers
Bangalore wants to maintain its pre-eminent position
By Habib Beary in Bangalore

The government in the southern Indian state of Karnataka has announced that it wants to eliminate all computer software piracy.


Piracy is recognised as a major deterrent to the growth of the software industry

Karnataka Information Secretary Vivek Kulkarni
The state's Secretary for Information Technology, Vivek Kulkarni, told journalists that the state government planned to achieve what he called "zero piracy" by next year.

The exact extent of piracy in government offices is not yet known - but officials believe it is quite high.

Karnataka - home to the high-tech city of Bangalore - is the first state in the country to initiate a systematic action plan to counter software piracy.

Guidelines

Mr Kulkarni said all government departments in the state had been instructed to use genuine software only.

He also said a series of guidelines had also been laid down for checking that software in use was legal

The government will be appointing officers to carry out internal audits and random checks, he said.

And there are plans to hold workshops and seminars to create awareness about the issue.

Attracting outside firms

The move is aimed at promoting Karnataka as the most attractive destination for big players in the software industry.

"Every week there is a new foreign IT company coming here with 100% foreign equity," Mr Kulkarni said. "This [move] will increase the flow."

Software piracy is a major deterrent to the growth of the industry, according to Nasscom - an association responsible for protecting the interests of software companies in India.

The state government is keen to send a positive signal to a number of top international companies who have set up base on the outskirts of the state capital, Bangalore.

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See also:

01 Nov 00 | South Asia
India's software exports rise
15 Apr 00 | South Asia
India at risk of tech worker shortage
21 Feb 00 | South Asia
India's IT industry calls for action
17 May 00 | South Asia
Germany woos Indian IT
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