Time for an IT cadre?

Haryana plans to recruit techies for e-gov

samirsachdeva

Samir Sachdeva | March 12, 2010


File photo of Vice President Hamid Ansari with the awardees of the MCA21 project in Delhi in 2009. Most of the awardees are civil servants.
File photo of Vice President Hamid Ansari with the awardees of the MCA21 project in Delhi in 2009. Most of the awardees are civil servants.

With a slew of e-governance projects under way in the centre and the states, do we need a specialised cadre within civil service? Will it improve the set-up and delivery if an IT professional is in charge instead of a bureaucrat from the general cadre? Haryana is planning to take an initiative in this area which can be replicated elsewhere in the country if it is successful.

“The Haryana government will recruit IT professionals and these professionals will be placed in various departments to assist the domain specialists in implementation of IT and e-governance initiatives," Ankur Gupta, special secretary (IT) to the state government, told Governance Now

Asked if the separate cadre will be in line with the Haryana Civil Services (HCS), the official said the modalities were yet to be worked out.

He, however, was confident that they will be able to place these officers within three-four months in the state departments implementing e-governance initiatives.

Earlier Haryana Finance Minister Capt. Ajay Singh Yadav in his budget speech announced that Haryana will be forming a separate cadre of IT professionals in the state for smooth implementation and sustenance of e-Governance initiatives in the state.

Here is our previous story:

The Haryana government has proposed in its budget to create a cadre for IT professionals for smooth implementation of e-governance initiatives.

Without getting into the debate of nomenclature --whether it should be called IT cadre or management cadre or a e-governance cadre--there is a felt need for specialists who can look into implementation of e-governance projects in various central government ministries and states. These specialists have to bring with them the skills of project management, IT, programme management, change management, governance and beyond.

Currently ad hoc  arrangements in form of giving contracts to private companies or contractual hiring by state IT agency is made to form State e-Mission Teams (SeMTs).  At centre manpower is outsourced through agencies like National Institute for Smart Government (NISG), IL&FS, Media Lab Asia (MLA) and many private consulting companies to constitute Programme Management Units (PMUs) as part of various Mission Mode Projects.

In most cases the contractual employees or consulting companies have to fall in line with the advice of the permanent government employees as they do not enjoy the job protection enjoyed by their counterparts. Thus there is a serious constraint with regard to independent viewpoint of these individuals.

Since these IT experts are on contract they are not covered under various acts that are applicable to public servants and so have liability beyond the terms of their contracts.

This isn't a happy situation. It may be work to the disadvantage to have crucial e-governance projects entrusted to individuals who have limited say and no liability in governance of the state and the country. And that is precisely why it is time to talk about a dedicated cadre for IT professionals, just as we have for other services.
 

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