Asia

India innovates: Your questions answered

Image caption Sam Pitroda, adviser to India's prime minister says rural innovation projects will be rolled out across the country

Code writers, designers and filmmakers are set to take part in India's first government-backed "hackathon" to promote awareness of India's five-year growth plan.

Ahead of the 6 April event to be held in 11 Indian cities, Sam Pitroda, an adviser to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and Montek Singh Ahluwalia, the deputy chairman of the planning commission, answered your questions in a live Twitter Q&A on 5 April 2013.

This is an edited version of the session.

Question from Jay.0 via Facebook: How did you decide on the locations of the hackathon? And why wasn't a city from Gujarat selected?

Sam Pitroda answers: Planning Commission is in Delhi, so that is the place of launch, where we expect thousands to participate.

Image caption Small enterprises are key to the 12th plan, says Montek Singh Ahluwalia

Question from @merajahmad: How long will the films at the hackathon be?

Sam Pitroda answers: Films would be 2-3 mins.

Question from managing director Arif Yousafzai via Facebook: In this plan how much money is being allocated for education?

Montek Singh Ahluwalia answers: The two sectors with the largest increase in allocations are education and health.

Question from Shubhranshu Singh via Facebook: Indian software engineers are leaving for America, what is your plan to stop this brain-drain?

Montek Singh Ahluwalia answers: We don't see this as a brain drain, software engineers are coming from America to India too.

Sam Pitroda adds: We see it like this - brain drain, brain change, brain chain.

Question from @345tommo: A large divide still exists between India's poor and its wealthy. Are there any plans to reduce this?

Montek Singh Ahluwalia answers: The purpose of the plan is to move to a more inclusive system, but this takes a lot of time.

Question from Deepak Sharma via Facebook: Why hasn't 3G reached rural areas yet?

Sam Pitroda answers: It's coming.

Question from @KeraRam: Increasing population is putting a strain on natural resources - what is the govt's plan for population control?

Sam Pitroda answers: Population management relates to infant mortality and female literacy, we are working on both.

Question from Amit Mishra via Facebook: Govt is helping foreign companies in the name of reform, but what's your plan for small enterprises?

Montek Singh Ahluwalia answers: Small enterprises are a central part of the plan and we have many proposals at both state and central level for this.

Question from Jay Dave via Facebook: Why are official documents/announcements like 12th Plan in English, when the common man speaks Hindi?

Montek Singh Ahluwalia answers: It is being published both in English and Hindi.

Question from @ShauryaShekhar: What is the Planning Commission doing to boost the role of technology in the education sector?

Sam Pitroda answers: All universities and colleges are now connected to the National Knowledge Network by broadband.

Question from Nawaz Shafi Chaman via Facebook: The condition of Muslims is worse than Dalits, what are the plans for their betterment?

Sam Pitroda answers: The Prime Minister has a 15-point plan for minorities and that is an important part of the #12thplan.

Image caption Manmohan Singh has a 15-point plan for minorities and that is an important part of the 12th plan, says Sam Pitroda, adviser to India's prime minister

Question from @Pkl1990: What are the govt's plans in relation to increasing the standard of living i.e. reducing pollution on the streets?

Montek Singh Ahluwalia answers: Congratulations for viewing the reduction of pollution as improvement of living standards. We are focusing on this in the #12thplan.

Question from @repubindia: How do we promote innovation in rural India?

Sam Pitroda answers: National Innovation Council will be launching projects for rural ventures.

Question from @agarwalabhi1993: Less than 25% of money in Govt plans reaches the public. How will you deal with this rampant corruption?

Montek Singh Ahluwalia answer: This Govt introduced RTI which brought transparency and the Lokpal Bill too.

He continues: Govt has started special programmes in 80 Naxal affected districts with focus on development.

Question from @rohit_ms: Any plans for the middle classes and poor majorities?

Sam Pitrodaanswers The plan will benefit them too.

Question from Pramod Sharma via Facebook: Everyone is talking about change, and many times the policies are good, but implementation is not?

Sam Pitroda answers: I think this time around we have better tools to manage and monitor programme implementation.

Question from @iSandeepDahiya Do you think changing the pricing policy for sugar will help farmers?

Montek Singh Ahluwalia answers: Absolutely, the earlier controls system imposed a tax on farmers which was completely unjustified.

Question from @bhupi1984: Where do our taxes go? Can we introduce transparency to be able to keep track?

Montek Singh Ahluwalia answers: Taxes pay for budget expenditure and our budgets are quite open.

Question from Abhay Kr Gupta via Facebook: How do you protect whistleblowers and honest gov't officials from intimidation?

Montek Singh Ahluwalia answers: For the first time legal protection has been given, we need to ensure that it is effectively implemented.

Question from @rohit_ms: Any plans for computerising the police force?

Sam Pitroda answers: We are already doing that, also working on the CBI and prisons

The final question comes from @praveennagd: Any plans for 4G?

Sam Pitroda answers: 4G is just one technology, you need fibre optics and other things, 4G is not the answer.

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