Patna: The much-awaited information technology policy of Bihar, which aims to make all government departments paperless by 2016 among other objectives, has been approved by the state cabinet, officials said on Wednesday.

The Bihar Communication Technology Policy 2011 - which sets 2016 as the deadline for all government offices to go paperless - addresses the larger objective of developing information technology (IT) in the state to attract investment and promote IT-related subjects in education and governance.

Ravikant, Principal Secretary, Cabinet Coordination Department, said that the policy incorporated the best practices prevailing in other states, including incentives, subsidies and action plan.

To make all government departments go paperless by 2016, the policy mandates the earmarking three percent of the total planned expenditure for IT. All ordinances, schemes, forms and tenders will be available on government portals and people will be allowed to submit documents electronically from a government IT centre, he said.

The IT policy promises to provide a roadmap for growth in the electronic hardware manufacturing sector, with emphasis on embedded technology, and also promote IT-enabled services.

Ravikant said those setting up electronic hardware manufacturing units would be entitled to a capital subsidy of 20 percent, up to a maximum of Rs.3 crore.

All IT and IT-enabled services will get relaxation from labour law provisions and will be allowed to operate in three shifts for working round-the-clock each day. They will also be beyond the purview of pollution control laws.

Five IT training centers will be set up under the Bihar Knowledge Society in every district in the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode for short certificate courses.

To promote computer education in schools and colleges, the state government has decided to introduce soft skills like communication and personal development in educational curricula.

Last year, the government had put out its draft IT policy on its official website for suggestions and comments. Suggestions of people in various sectors have been incorporated, according to IT department officials.

The state government created an IT department in 2007 to act as the nodal agency for implementing its IT policy.

(Agencies)