Wait for five more years for govt to go paperless

Fears and misgivings of the officials clarified at a workshop

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Taru Bhatia | September 25, 2015 | New Delhi


#egovernance   #eoffice   #transparency   #files   #government  

It would take another five years to make it mandatory for the ministries to adopt the e-office technology. This was disclosed by Devendra Chaudhary, secretary, department of administrative reforms and public grievances. He said that the fear among the ministries is that the full transition (to e-office) will stop the whole structure.

Addressing government officials at a workshop to encourage them to adopt e-office technology in their departments for a transparent and easy working system on Thursday, he said “right now it is not a demand-driven system”. This was the reason behind the slow adaptation of e-office in the central government.

Jitender Singh, minister of science and technology, said that working digitally is a “global phenomenon” and that “many in the non-government sector have already adopted it, while we (central government) are late.”

He, however, said that since his government believes in creating a “work-friendly environment for the officers,” he will continue to encourage officers to adapt to this new system of working by offering them necessary training and guidance, which will develop a governance of least paperwork.

He said that currently 24 offices in the government are “using this system in some way.”

A first-of-its-kind, the workshop was conducted for different ministries of the central government, and for the IAS officials. “The aim is to make them aware of technology especially to the young leaders of our system, so it could be adopted with confidence,” said department officials.

Rachna Srivastva, senior technical director, NIC, in charge of developing e-office software, explained the workings of the system.

E-office objectives include “monitoring pending files through SMS to the authorities, reducing duplicity and bringing transparency in the movement of drafts, files and receipts among the ministers and officers,” the NIC official said.

The system has various applications, she explained, such as e-signature, e-tour, personal information management system for internal staff, knowledge management system – that will contain all the e-files etc. Application such as common data assessment will work as the central depository for the all the files for common view in the ministry, while the application like e-noting will help officers and ministers to file draft in their language from anywhere in the country.

From the success notebook
The ministry of panchayti raj and rural development offered their “success stories” after transforming into a digitally-enabled government. Since its adaptation in 2012, ‘99 percent of its files has been processed in e-office.’

Drawing out from his experience of working in an e-office, Dr. Santosh Mathew from the IT division of rural development ministry said, “either it will happen in two months or it will never happen.”

“We need this system to eliminate the physical movement of files, to bring the transparency in a system where blame game is common,” he said.

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