It took time to convince people on e-governance: Das

Assam chief secretary inaugurates consultative meet on e-governance


Pratap Vikram Singh | January 20, 2012

N K Das, chief secretary, government of Assam inaugurated the e-governance consultative workshop, “Citizen Centric e-Government”, at NEDFi House, here today.  Delivering the inaugural address, Das said that if the computerisation had happened in all the departments and the officials worked more efficiently, the services could have been delivered on time and need for legislation on service delivery could never have been felt. “The officials will now be penalised if they don’t deliver services on time,” he said.

Giving an example of how things changed after the introduction of electronic auction, he said, “We have two auction halls, but now one auction hall has become redundant. Previously, the hall burst with people and activities, but there is a pin drop silent these days. It is because everyone is participating sitting at home. A person in Mumbai can participate in auction happening in Guwahati. Things have changed enormously with use of technology.” 

He also emphasised on the need for electronic documentation and storage in the government. Citing example of the state Home department, which has information overload, he said proper information management and automatic timely alerts could help the department meet the deadlines including urgent court matters.  

Reminiscing of his tenure with the state agriculture department, he said that Assam was a pioneer in rolling put e-governance project in agriculture. However, it took a lot of time to convince people to work on computer, online, he said.  He underlined the need for attitudinal change in government personnel and said it is fundamental to the success of e-governance.

Ajay Sawhney, CEO, national e-governance division (NeGD) said that national e-governance plan (NeGP) has 31 mission mode projects (MMPs) owned and spearheaded by line departments of the state governments, out of  which 18  MMPs have gone live. While he informed that there are over 150 categories of services available, the country is still far from having all services online. 

Elaborating on the role of DIT as nodal agency for e-governance, he said that it has facilitated creation of shared infrastructure like networks, data centres and kiosks which are largely in place across the country. Introducing the new elements which have been included in the NeGP strategy, he said department is working on use of mobile technology as a key service delivery platform, besides creating common platforms like cloud computing,  wherein services, platform and infrastructure could offered as a service. 

Electronic delivery of services law, citizen engagement framework, open data, apps store and citizen call centre (CCC) are other new elements introduced in the e-governance strategy, he said.  Informing about the future priorities of the e-governance plan, he said the department, through NeGP, would focus on providing quality education, health services, financial inclusion, skill up-gradation, employment generation and green technologies.

In his presentation, Rajiv Kumar Bora, principal secretary, department of information technology, government of Assam said, “The state vision about e-Governance is to facilitate inclusive growth for all by providing electronic delivery of services to the citizens in an easy, effective, efficient and transparent manner.”

Elaborating on citizens expectations in service delivery, he said the life of citizens becomes easy if government is able to offer multiple service delivery channels with 24x7 availability.  He stated that online transaction between government and citizen and standardized service delivery adds to citizen’s convenience in accessing services.

On the government part, he said, the priority has to be on re-engineering of processes to do away with unnecessary delay in service delivery.  In addition, there is need for clearly defining the roles, responsibilities and service levels of the government personnel, he said. He also stressed on importance of an integrated state ICT infrastructure and institutionalizing capacity building in the government.

Anurag Goyal, secretary, department of IT, government of Assam elaborated on the status of NeGP implementation in Assam. Providing the update on state wide area network (SWAN), he said that the network has three-tier architecture with 304 point of presence (POP). Being implemented by Tulip Telecom, with a cost of Rs 72crore, he said, applications like e-District (pilot), treasury, commercial tax and crime and criminal tracking network and systems (CCTNS) are presently hosted on the network.

Applications from department of rural development and panchayati raj and revenue would soon be hosted on SWAN, he said.  On common services centre (CSC), he said, out of 4375 CSCs to be rolled out by SREI Sahaj and Zoom Developers, 3880 centres have been rolled so far. He informed that Government of India is providing Rs 116crore for four years to set up CSCs in Assam.

Speaking about the issues and challenges in running CSCs, he said connectivity in remote areas, unavailability of power in many areas, acceptability of PPP model at lower level of government functionary, lack of online G2C services are key challenges marring the roll out and viability of telecentres in the state.

In his recommendation on the success of e-governance in state, he proposed that all departments must converge to the core infrastructure of NeGP and same should be adequately factored in at the design stage of the project. Besides he also pointed at significance of vision and ownership of using IT within the departments. 

During the day-long workshop, the Assam government showcased IT solutions implemented in various departments.

The workshop was organised by department of information technology, government of India, in association with NASSCOM. This consultative meet is the 12th in series of 50 workshops being  organised in all State Capitals and UTs across India. This is being done to amplify the mission and message of the NeGP - "Public Services Closer Home".

With many states in various stages of rolling out many public services on the e-governance platform, the NeGP Apex Committee has decided to create awareness about NeGP initiatives among stakeholders, discuss challenges in delivery of e-services, identify state specific issues and understand emerging technologies from Industry. The string of workshops will cover all state capitals, UTs and some important cities between now and July 2012.

The workshop was attended by key stakeholders of the NeGP  drawn from central and state government, e-governance consultants, technology partners and implementing agencies.

NeGP is a key component of the central government's "inclusive growth" strategy, was approved by the cabinet in May, 2006. It aims to deliver public services to the common man in his locality, to make them both accessible and affordable.



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