The Minister with a BlackBerry

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Tvm: He is not yet on Twitter and he may not be as popular as some of his counterparts in the state or elsewhere but nonetheless this man is tech savvy and believes in practising what he preaches. Meet Shri Elamaram Kareem, the Minister for Industries and Commerce in Kerala.

 

When the LDF government came into power in 2006, the Industries Ministry was faced with the daunting task of putting the industrial sector in the state back on the track. This sector was in doldrums and the Public Sector Undertakings were reeling under loss. The Industries Ministry under the leadership of Shri Elamaram Kareem has been instrumental in turning around many of these PSUs and changing the investment perception about the state.

 

As a part of an initiative to reach out to the people adopting the latest technology and to make the state more business friendly, the Industries Minister came out with the idea of having a dedicated website for his ministry. The official website of the Office of the Ministry of Industries and Commerce, was launched, way back in November 2007.  This was probably an inspiration for the other ministers and for the Information and Public Relations Department of the Kerala Government to start websites for all the ministers. The Minister’s schedule and availability can be tracked using the Minister’s Programme page. He personally monitors the content of the site and comes out with suggestions and corrections, as and when required.

 

When it comes to personal communication gizmos, he started off about a year back, with an iPhone, a gift from his daughter in UK. Recently he graduated to a Blackberry, probably the first minister in Kerala to do so. “I feel these are tools which make the leader accessible to the masses and it’s a great boon for better governance”, says Elamaram Kareem in an exclusive chat with Kerala IT News. He also feels that one can cut across the bureaucratic barriers and any information is available at your finger tips. The minister’s personal staff is equipped with laptops with mobile internet connectivity. They also carry a mobile cordless printer, for that impromptu printout.

 

He feels proud in turning around a record number of loss making State Owned Enterprises (PSUs) in Kerala According to him, “Profit is the index of all efficiencies of the company and an indicator that revival has percolated down to everyone”. IT implementation has, to a great extent contributed to this growth. By the way, have you heard of any PSU that puts its vendor’s payment schedule on the web? And if the payment is not collected within two days, it’s sent by post. That’s a classic e-initiative which has had a tremendous impact and response from all the stake holders. Btw, in case you have a querry, the Minister can be contacted at elamaramkareen @ gmail.com.

 

Anil Philip
Kerala IT News

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