Information Highlights: The dawn of personal computer age in administration in Karnataka.
Karnataka has been regarded for its program experts above the a long time. The entire world is hunting to Bengaluru for its software needs. Citizens hope the authorities to operate them with computers. Ration cards, driver’s licenses, test effects, tickets for journey by airplane, train or bus are all processed on computers.
In shorter, computers are ubiquitous in govt do the job. Having said that, it was not always this way. It has only been 50 yrs considering the fact that the very first personal computer was purchased by the federal government of Karnataka, one particular of the initially states to embark on automation. That small action taken five decades ago has resulted in the state governing administration taking on the recent position of the doyen between laptop or computer-savvy states in India.
As Bengaluru reaches the significant milestone of 50 a long time due to the fact it all started, I bear in mind my personal own working experience of that pioneering yr. The yr was 1971. Apollo spacecraft sent from the US had landed on the moon in 1969 and despatched the famous message “The Eagle has landed.” Neil Armstrong’s information that he experienced taken mankind’s 1st tiny phase on the moon was still clean in the general public memory.
There was a whole lot of religion in desktops and their capacity to complete superhuman duties. Karnataka was nevertheless the condition of Mysore. It was less than the spell of the president’s rule. Dharma Vira was the governor. RJ Rebello was the chief secretary GVK Rao was advancement commissioner and Mani Narayanaswamy finance secretary.
That yr, the authorities procured an IBM 1401 pc and involved extras to automate treasury accounts. The laptop or computer was established up at the Bureau of Economics and Data headed by Sampathkumaran. Parthasarathy, a railway personnel with expertise in computers, was the manager of the Laptop Middle. In August 1971, I was assigned as a distinctive officer for the computer heart.
Automating point out accounts necessary codes to be made and standardized to convert Treasury details into electronic structure. Treasury staff experienced to be trained to enter receipts and expenditures transactions in encryption sheets. These sheets were being to be delivered to Bengaluru.
Knowledge entry operators would punch the knowledge into cards. A further group of operators would validate the precision of the info. Card audience examine the data from the playing cards and sent it to magnetic tape storage products.
Units analysts experienced created the suite of applications that would approach the knowledge as desired by the finance office. Programmers would generate and regulate the applications needed to function the process. We experienced to establish officials who had been ready to discover laptop or computer programming. IBM would give them an aptitude exam. Those who did effectively enough in the check would then be sent to discover the programming language.
The enhancement of the treasury accounting system would choose time. In the meantime, the authorities wanted to look at automating other sorts of repetitive work, this kind of as grading tabulation, driver’s license processing, automobile registration certificates, receipt playing cards and similar purposes.
We held conferences with department heads, presented the capabilities of desktops and invited them to detect duties in their department that could be automatic. Dependent on the response, we invite them to send keen employees from their departments for the aptitude examination. These would be the core personnel for the automation of that department.
Punch playing cards
In this way, seeds have been sown for the eventual automation of treasuries and many other departments. In retrospect, it seems quite formidable on the section of the point out governing administration to have tried out all these points when the position of the technological know-how was continue to primitive. The IBM 1401 laptop experienced only 8k memory. The input processing via punch cards was cumbersome and susceptible to faults.
No scanning units were readily available nonetheless. Desktop and laptop computer desktops and graphical user interface technological know-how had not but been invented. Laser printers have been not yet obtainable. Conversation was primitive. Mobile phones have been not invented. Only fastened lines with minimal capacity ended up accessible. There was no around the world website. Programmers have been really hard to discover.
When pcs arrived, there was a fear of job losses. In the initial decades, this anxiety designed a ton of resistance to automation. Negotiation and persuasion have been needed before staff unions would acknowledge automation. That is why it took several several years to achieve the government’s automation targets, while at the very same time key developments took spot in the field of personal computer hardware, software program, communication and availability of manpower with the new skills.
Ultimately it was realized that whilst the laptop or computer manufactured several old work opportunities out of date, many new ones emerged. In addition, the new positions paid a lot extra than the positions they replace. The new careers had been also in demand all more than the world. Diploma and certification classes in the new expertise captivated a substantial quantity of young adult men and girls.
Karnataka created up a substantial pool of manpower that attracted businesses from all more than the planet. New providers dependent in Karnataka have also set up by themselves as globally revered significant software program homes. Quite a few overseas firms have appear right here, while many some others have employed large numbers of manpower right here. All these developments have brought prosperity to folks, family members, metropolitan areas, states and the place.
As we now see and admire Karnataka’s achievements in automation in 2021, it would be good to don’t forget that 50 a long time ago it was started out by some pioneers. This 50-12 months milestone given that 1971 is a fantastic chance to commemorate and thank all those visionaries who foresaw the desires of governing administration in the 21st century and took baby techniques that resulted in this big leap for the point out.
(The writer is a retired IAS officer, Tamil Nadu cadre)
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