Political will critical for ICT

Leading states have CMs pushing projects

pratap

Pratap Vikram Singh | June 29, 2011



A high-level political commitment is an imperative for pushing forward the e-governance drive in the country. ICT projects in the country are as old as two to three decades. However, successive governments have paid mere lip service to creating a conducive ICT ecology in the country.

The developed countries, which invested in ICT and other emerging technologies much before the others in the world and where the vision and policy framework come from the topmost leadership, are now leveraging it for reducing the cost of service delivery, government functioning, creating efficiencies, tracking public expenditures and creating open and accountable governments. However, in India, e-governance is still largely confined to digitisation and automation of government data and legacy processes respectively.

Consider the governance and monitoring of e-governance projects at the national and state levels. Centrally, there is a high-level committee headed by the prime minister which looks after the formulation and approval of policies in ICT and its subsequent monitoring. At state level, in most cases there is a stat apex council on e-governance, chaired by the chief minister and populated by other senior ministers and bureaucratic heads of the key departments.

Though these councils were made way back in 2006 and 2007 in states and union territories, very few of them meet annually to create suitable atmosphere for the proliferation of electronic government, taking stock of the developments and undertaking immediate corrective measures.

On the one hand, there are states like Gujarat, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh and Goa, where the chief minister is actively handling the IT portfolio and ensuring implementation of e-governance initiatives. On the other hand, however, there are a number of states, including Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Punjab, which have not even called their first meeting of the council even after years of its inception. The laggard states have only their elected representatives to blame for this lapse.

 

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