News Review – India
August 2006

News Review – India

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Capacity building of government staff for e-Governance

The government is planning a massive capacity building drive to train government staff in the various ministries and departments who do not have the skill-sets required to implement the e-Governance projects. This will speed up the e-Governance projects of the Government of India under the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP), which is due to be implemented aggressively.

The national e-Governance Plan (NeGP) covers 26 Mission Mode Projects (MMP) and eight support components, to be implemented at the Central, State and local government levels. The fundamental requirement towards fulfilling this goal is to build capacity of the implementing staff. Towards this, the government plans to use the expertise of not only the existing government officials but also 500 professionals with project management and process re-engineering skills from external agencies who will be hired on a contract basis for a three-year duration. Besides, the Government of India is also to launch a new project called ‘e-district’ soon.

Rethink on the need to conserve e-Libraries

During a workshop recently conducted on ‘Care and Maintenance of Library Materials’, Prof. NR Satyanarayana, Head of Library Science, Lucknow University, suggested that the National Research Laboratory for Conservation of Cultural Property (NRLC) needs to work in the direction of preservation and conservation of e-Libraries and digital libraries. Tracing the history of library materials from clay plates to bhojpatras to paper and now e-libraries, Satyanarayana said that NRLC should work on computer storage devices such as disks, CDs etc.

Trainees from over 10 libraries across the country attended the 5-day workshop. The trainees are being trained on how light, heat, biological agents lead to different kinds of deterioration in library material and about de-acidification, stain removal and also the storage, transportation and packaging of library materials.

Emigration goes IT way!

In a significant step aimed at boosting business reengineering process and e-Governance, the Ministry of Overseas Indian affairs (MOIA) has decided to computerise 20-year records, and also standardise the format for applications and the processes. Besides, steps would be taken for computerisation of database, system integration and streamlining of processes. According to MOIA minister Vyalar Ravi, the automation of the emigration offices would simplify the immigration process, lead to speedy clearance and make the emigration offices transparent. With computerisation, the ministry would be able to access data of its eight centres from Delhi and get weekly updates on the number of applications.

National Institute of Smart Governance, a non-government organisation formed under the aegis of the Andhra Pradesh government, NASSCOM and the Ministry of Information Technology are assisting the MOIA in implementing this project.

e-Payment for BSNL customers

Leading state-owned Indian Telecom company Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has decided to introduce e-Payment system for its customers. With the completion of the project, all bills for both cellular and landline phones would be made through electronic payment. Previously, phone bill payment was made through cheque, which was cumbersome and time consuming. Announcing the switch over plan to e-Payment mode, BSNL has issued directives to all circle heads to gradually migrate to the e-Payment mode.

Bihar ministers to go tech savvy soon

As part of its effort to implement the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP), the Bihar government, taking cue from other developed states, has decided to equip all its 26 ministers with sophisticated laptop computers.

According to Bihar’s Science and Technology Minister Dr. Anil Kumar, the Science and Technology department has approved the purchase of several laptops, over 250 servers, hundreds of desktop computers and 40 projectors to strengthen the non-existent IT infrastructure in the state. Earlier, the government allocated a laptop, a printer, a facsimile machine and other peripherals attached with the computer for each NDA minister. After the completion of the process, the state would provide computers and necessary software to each district and block offices.

Computerised land administration in Manipur

The revenue department in Manipur has decided to launch various administrative reform measures aimed at modernisation, skill upgradation and application of new technology in the land administration system. The state government has announced that the modernisation plan would cover all the sub-divisional offices (SDOs) where a computer would be installed with Internet connectivity. The work would be completed during this current financial year 2006-07. The National information Centre (NIC) would provide complete assistance in the automation of the SDOs.

The state has implemented a pilot project for computerization of land records in Porompat circle and has introduced issue/distribution of computerized record of rights to the people. The state revenue department has also begun digitisation of cadastral survey maps of the valley districts of the state. During the current financial year, computerised land information centres would be set up at the directorate of settlement and land records and in two valley districts. Earlier, computerisation of the directorate of settlement and land records and the offices of all the deputy commissioners was taken up as a fully assisted centrally sponsored scheme during the period from 2000 to 2005.

Online registration for Gujarat voters

The Gujarat government has launched an online registration system on its portal The website provides a link to the enrolment forms, which are to be filled and submitted online. Upon submission of the filled-up form, a registration number is given to the applicants to check application status. The applicant would receive an email, and would also be given the option of withdrawing applications whenever required. The online registration is significantly expected to ease the process of enrolling in the voter list.

Home delivery of railway tickets just an SMS away

Major Indian telecom industry players such as Reliance Infocomm and TATA BPO service are into talks with the Indian Railways to make tickets available through mobile phones. The plan is to develop a system that would make home delivery of railway tickets possible via SMS. When implemented, this will be a step ahead of e-Ticketing.

As per this project, a 24/7 call centre would be set up for booking tickets and answering customer queries. A customer calling at the call centre would get a customer identification number, which be stored on the computer and the berth and seat number will be SMSed to the buyer. The payment would be automatically credited to the phone bill in case of a post-paid connection or deducted from the pre-paid card, as may be the case. Currently, the penetration of Internet is still not as wide as is the penetration of cellular phones in India. There are over 10 crore mobile phone users.

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