Interview

Key Infrastructure in Place for e-Governance : Raj Kumar, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, Gujarat

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What is the approach adopted in implementing the state Mission Mode Project (MMP)? What is the progress of their implementation?
In case of Gujarat, we have already proceeded much ahead of Government of India Mission Mode Project and as a matter of fact other policy framework under the project is an enabling factor as we have created line departments, IT Committee. We have implemented e-Governance projects in their respective departments. For instance, land records mission mode project is already functional for a long period and  likewise several projects have been undertaken by police department for computerising the entire police set up. So the number of such initiatives have already been undertaken because of the enabling framework and structure we have since the beginning.

What are the services that are being delivered/planned  to be delivered through Common Service Centres (CSCs)?

Today, we are in a position to start services of land records, ration card, employment registration for the unemployed.  Then through common service centres, we are identifying and  contemplating to provide services like providing caste certificate, widow certificate, character certificate, income certificate, and so forth. In addition we are providing services to Gujarat Higher Secondary Educational Board  to issue marks sheet, board certificate, change of names, duplicate certificate, verifications. Similarly, we have also gathered information for below the poverty line families as per the need available. Then assistance to widows and old age pension scheme have to be provided through the CSC. Likewise we also want to integrate it with the insurance scheme  currently with the state government. There are number of facilities provided from Government of India like railway reservation centres and passport facility on the Internet, which could also be used by the CSCs.

What is the status of SWAN and the SDC in your state?
SWAN is already in place for last 6 years. Around 14000 users are connected. We have 225 government website in various line departments. They have become very significant in the past six years and we have taken up projects enhancing abilities of SWAN. In State Data Centre, we have gone ahead with the infrastructure development and  the developmental services.

Please share with us the capacity building programmes being planned / implemented in your state?
In terms of capacity building we have taken two major initiatives. As a matter of policy we have made it compulsory for all government servants to fulfill minimum computer proficiency for their promotion. For new recruits the minimum qualification is basic computer literacy. Even trainings are provided for the same.

What are the evaluation and monitoring techniques you are adopting to monitor the progress and to assess whether the proposed benefits are being delivered to the citizens?
As  such we have 100 percent local delivery points for monitoring at the block level. Here, we are monitoring regarding how long does it take for a government service to be delivered. This itself shows that people are getting the services and the benefits.

What are some of the best PPP practices in your state?
One of the best example of PPP that I can give you  is that of Income Registration office as the entire process is done in a Public Private Partnership mode. Similar model is there in Civic Sector initiative. Even the operational SWAN projects are following this practice.

What is going to be your main focus for the next few years?
Now our focus is mainly on extending government services and delivery of those services to the citizen through CSCs and such kind of outlet. Large number of people should be served. Another focus would be on integrating the existing services at health and education set up.

How would you rate your state’s progress towards making it an e-Ready state?
I think we are quite ahead in e-Governance initiatives as compared to other states. Basically, what we do is that we initiate a process for all those policies which we implement. We do not have projects for one district or several district. Couple of projects are taken up and the sample project is undertaken throughout the state.

What are the business opportunities for the private sector in implementing the various e-Governance project running in your state?
Most of our projects are through private sector partnership. Companies likes TCS and Wipro have taken many of the rural projects. A lot of IT companies have come with several initiatives.

What are your state’s key achievements in implementing e-Governance projects?
The key achievement has been that we have been able to create an atmosphere in which the key   infrastructure is placed. Secondly, the key policies which enable key line departments to undertake implementation of  e-Government project in respective domain are in place. The human resource development services are intact. The government’s vision is basically to maximise governance through minimum governance. For achieving these, our technology as well is in place. So, I think we are moving on the right path.

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