It is a well-established fact that information and communication technologies (ICTs) can play a vital role for governments and public sector organisations to deal with modern challenges of development and contribute towards boosting economic growth and improve overall quality-of-life. In order to achieve this, it is essential to drive good governance through effective e-Government initiatives with appropriate change management strategies, state-of-the-art technology and sustainable public private partnership models.
In order to address these emerging issues of e-Government and create a level-sharing platform for easy exchange of knowledge and ideas among various stakeholders, the Centre for Science, Development and Media Studies (CSDMS) in collaboration with Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi, Department of Information Technology (Government of India), UNDP and Danish Technological Institute recently organized a three day international conference, titled Conflux 2005: The e-Government Conference, held between 17thto 19th October 2005 in New Delhi, India.
Spanning over three full days of activities, the conference covered as many as 9 plenary sessions, 19 technical sessions and a well laid-out exhibition running throughout all days. With pre-lunch keynote sessions and post-lunch parallel tracks scheduled for each day, a plethora of issues pertaining to multiple aspects of e-Government were meticulously deliberated, discussed and debated by the speakers as well as the audience.
The conference witnessed a participation of nearly 500 delegates representing various Indian government departments, multilateral and bilateral agencies, academic institutions, non-governmental organisations and the IT industry. A staggering 64 percent of the participants represented various government departments and public sector organisations, 23 percent were from the IT industry and consulting firms and 13 percent from non-profit organisations and bilateral/multilateral agencies.
Marked by eminent speakers from the government, academia and industry, the keynote sessions of the conference had a series of interesting deliberations on multitude of issues, relating to present challenges and opportunities of e-Government in India, as well as abroad. Out of 30 odd keynote speakers of the conference, 14 distinguished speakers from the Indian government, 7 from IT industry, 3 speakers from non-profit/developmental organisations and 6 international speakers from countries of Asia and Europe. The opening keynote session termed – the ‘Vision Session’, had an impressive speaker list comprising senior Indian bureaucrats including – S. Lakshminarayanan, Secretary, Inter-State Council Secretariat, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India and Wajahat Habibullah, Chief Information Commissioner, Central Information Commission, Government of India, along with key representatives of IT industry like Kiran Karnik, President, NASSCOM and Peter Moore, Managing Director-Public Sector, Microsoft Asia-Pacific & Greater China. The central message that emerged out of this session reinforced the growing realization for a need to develop an information society that encompasses all aspects of human development, particularly in relation to public sector reform. Other keynote sessions that followed over the three days were equally engaging, dotted with distinguished speakers presenting on themes such as – Indian e-Government initiatives, International e-Government perspectives and Emerging e-Government trends. Some of the eminent keynote speakers of these sessions were – R. Chandrashekhar, Joint Secretary, e-Governance, Ministry of Communication & Information Technology, Government of India; Prakash Kumar, Secretary-IT, Government of NCT of Delhi; Dr N Vijayaditya, Director General, NIC, Government of India; J. Satyanarayana, CEO, National Institute of Smart Government, Hyderabad; Jeremy Millard, Head, e-Governance, Danish Technological Institute; Ian Swann, Vice-President, SAP AG; P. I. Suvrathan, Addl. Secretary, DARPG, Government of India; P D Sudhakar, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Government of India; P K Agarwal, Joint Secretary (Marketing), Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India
The emphasis of most of these speakers was on a greater need for focusing on the aspect of governance through technology, rather than on technology itself. This quintessential message that came out was almost unequivocally resounded across all sessions of the conference and largely consented among a large section of the audience.