Kochi: The Central government in India, is to shortly introduce mandatory bench marks for the performance of government departments to make them more accountable and transparent, the 9th National e-Governance Conference was told.
Addressing the inaugural session of the three-day conference, P I Suvarthan, Addl. Secretary, union Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances, said the government was also formulating a public service law for government employees, which will help to make them immune from political pressures.
The draft of the public service law was being prepared by the administrative reforms department in collaboration with the Ministry of Personnel and the Prime Minister's Office. The draft was expected to be ready within two months and would be circulated for wider consultation, Suvarthan told reporters later.
Among the highlights of the proposed draft was fixed tenures for various categories of public servants. Such a system would assure a reasonable tenure to officers to show performance, achieve results and be accountable for their functioning. It would also protect them from indiscriminate transfers, which were used as a major tool by the political executive to keep officers in line, he added.
In another major administrative reform, the Central Government would notify by March-April this year the bench marks for the functioning of ten key departments having public dealing. These will include departments such as health, education, public distribution, and customs.
''The government will set world class bench marks for their functioning and make it mandatory for these departments to achieve them,'' he added.
Earlier, inaugurating the conference, Kerala Public Works Department Minister M K Muneer said that software exports from India were poised to touch 50 billion dollars by 2008 while hardware exports will shoot up to $10 billion.
On Kerala Government's performance on the IT front, Dr Muneer said that the pathbreaking 'FRIENDS' programme had enabled people to pay the bills of several public utilities at a single window. The Kerala State IT Mission was in the process of rolling out the computerisation programme to 1400 local bodies. So far, 54 municipalities had been computerised in the state. The Vellanad panchayat in Thiruvananthapuram district and Thalikulam in Thrissur had become the first computerised 'gram panchayats' in the country while Palakkad was the country's first fully computerised district collectorate, he added.
Brijesh Kumar, Secretary, union Information Technology department, said that under the National e-Governance Plan, nearly 30 'mission mode' projects straddling the central, state and integrated sectors had been set the goal of delivering services in a fast, reliable, integrated and accessible manner.
Remarking that it was apt that the theme for this year's conference was 'Collaborate, Replicate and Extend the Reach', Mr Brijesh Kumar said the event would give an opportunity to share the success stories emanating from states.
In a major step forward, the conference also had guest delegates from Sri Lanka, Malaysia and the Philippines, he added.
Earlier, in his welcome address to the nearly 500 delegates from all Indian states and UTs attending the conference, Kerala State IT secretary P H Kurien said the landmark 'Akshaya' project to take e-governance to the doorstep of the people and to make at least one person in each family computer literate had already covered eight of the 14 district of the state. The remaining would be covered by this year-end.