The broad objectives of New Tech are :
- Development of national information services.
- Promotion of existing information systems & services.
- Introduction of modern information handling tools & techniques.
- Promotion of international co-operation in information.
- Development of indigenous products & services.
- Organization of skill development programmes.
- Promotion of R & D in Information Science & Technology.
The New Tech programme has the mandate to cover the entire spectrum of science and technology. However, during the process of programme implementation, special care is taken not to dwell upon subjects already being handled by other national programme like the BTIS, ENVIS or an agency like the ICAR. New Tech solicits the views of other programmes/agencies which are responsible for a subject under the allocation of their business. For example, New Tech had to consult the ICMR before adopting a project on the development of a database on Virology. Similarly, New Tech requests for the expert views of institutions/individuals working on a given subject or its allied areas when required. For instance, the expert views of both the National Mission on Sugar Technology, TIFAC, New Delhi and the National Sugar Institute, Kanpur were sought on a project proposal for the creation of a database on Indian Sugar at the Vasantdada Sugar Research Institute, Manjari, Pune.
The New Tech Executive Committee consists of officials and experts from the various government agencies and institutions. Similarly, New Tech officials are involved in various information programmes around the country. The EC members and the New Tech secretariat are thus well equipped to apply their country-wide experiences in picking up good proposals for support and filtering out those which may be of low priority or feasibility.
Though there has been no specific official mandate, as a proactive and progressive step, New Tech has taken the onus on itself to strengthen the library movement in the country through the introduction of modern information technology, tools and techniques.
As the boundaries between science and technology, social sciences, arts and humanities are fast disappearing, emphasis on activities on one area can not subsist without the support for the other. Therefore, in due course, New Tech would need to adopt the non-S & T subjects as well. Already, New Tech does not differentiate between the S & T and non-S & T areas in the implementation of the library networks and manpower development programmes. Similarly, New Tech centres now deal with a variety of non-bibliographic and factual information.
Building on existing facilities
It is the shorn strategy of New Tech to make the maximum utilization of the available infrastructure and resource base. In pursuance of this strategy, New Tech uses public telecom facility for networking and service generation; organizes training workshops through professional bodies and institutions; adopts database development projects in institutions with significant information resources and expertise on the specific subjects.
In setting up the various sectoral information centres, New Tech has always chosen to build around existing nuclei instead of creating de novo. Even today, most of the institutional facilities are meant for in-house clientele only. When New Tech decides to set up a centre on a subject, an effort is first made to locate a suitable institution having significant information base, considerable professional expertise and a large enough user population. The Host Institution is then enabled to build up, with New Tech’s support, facilities which help them serve the national community of users better.
Thrust on contents
Since inception, New Tech’s emphasis has been on the Information Content — its development and utilization. This is a tedious activity very few information systems would want to get involved in. Most of them invest their monetary and knowledge resources in creating infrastructure like networks — without bothering about organizing information that has to flow through. As a result, large number of networks remain grossly under-utilized.
Apart from developing the information centres, networks, database projects etc., New Tech utilizes its various training programmes, workshops, seminars and the annual Information Today and Tomorrow meets, to propagate the importance of development of contents.
Commercialization of information services
Information services, cost a lot to acquire, create and distribute. Further, revenue is a direct reflection of the users’ real needs and also the efficiency of providers of the information services. Recognizing this since the mid-80’s, New Tech has made it mandatory that all the products created and services rendered by its information centres are fee-based. It is expected that revenue earned would help the centres sustain on their own in due course.
New Tech had to struggle a great deal to overcome the cultural inertia of information scientists in the country who were hitherto accustomed to provide free-library services. In this context it may be mentioned that a priced service, in contrast to a free service, has to meet users specifications of time and quality. Once this is observed, users do not hesitate to pay for information.