Interview

We Involve the Local Community : Abhishek Singh, IT Secretary, Nagaland

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Abhishek Singh, IT Secretary, Nagaland

What is the approach adopted in implementing the state Mission Mode Project (MMP)? What is the progress of their implementation?

Nagaland has initiated various projects under the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP). State Wide Area Network (SWAN) Request for Participation (RFP) is being finalised and is expected to be launched in December 2007. State has decided to integrate Community Information Centers (CICs) existing at block level with the Common Service Centers (CSCs) project. A host of Citizen services are being planned to be offered through the CICs and CSCs. With SWAN and CSC projects coming on, we are also planning State Data Center (SDC). In 2008 one district will be taken up as e-District.

How would you rate your state’s progress towards making it an e-Ready state?

Frankly speaking we are amongst the laggards as far as e-Readiness is concerned. National e-Readiness Report also puts Nagaland amongst one of the least achievers. One major reason for this condition is lack of trained manpower and IT companies, who can provide leadership to e-Gov projects.

What are the business opportunities for the private sector in implementing the various e-Governance project running in your state?

The State plans to implement most e-Gov projects on a PPP basis. There is huge opportunity for Private Sector IT companies to get involved in projects like SWAN, CSC, e-Modop, SDC, e-District etc. Companies will have to be innovative as number of transactions expected are lower compared to that in bigger States as our population base is low. But higher paying capacity of the people compensates for this.

What are some of the best PPP practices in your state?

Nagaland is a pioneer not exactly in PPP but in Public–Community Partnership. We have implemented Communitisation Policy which aims at delivering public services like education,  health, power, water supply etc. Community and People desire Private  Partnership in Public services and success of Communitisation policy refl ects the opportunity that exists for PPP projects.

What are the services that are being delivered / planned
to be delivered through Common Service Centres (CSCs)? What are the steps being taken for a better user experience (e.g. localisation, etc.)?

Our Community Information Centers are the fi rst phase for the Common Service Centers. We  plan to offer services like disbursal of caste certifi cates, income certifi cates, birth and death certifi cates, payment of utility bills like power, telephone, water supply, passport forms  submission, information on government schemes of all departments, public distribution System, NREGA registration through CSCs. We are also exploring the possibility of having a  payment gateway that will help offer more fi nancial services like insurance, share trading, ticket bookings etc through CSCs.

Please share with us on the capacity building programmes
being planned / implemented in your state.

We have trained our CIC operators who are at 52 block heaquarters. We further plan to build  capacities of all government departments which have public interface to implement e-Gov  projects. We also plan change management trainings to ensure change of mindsets. There are  also plans to train college students in order to equip them with skills suited for employment in IT, ITeS and BPO Industry.

What are the evaluation and monitoring techniques
you are adopting to monitor    the progress and to assess whether the proposed benefi ts are being delivered to the citizens?

While preparing the e-Governance Road Map of the State, we have done s t a k e h o l d e r analysis to assess the needs of People and g o v e r n m e n t departments with regard to need of  e-Gov projects. This gave us the base lines and expected levels of performance expected for various critical p a r a m e t e r s . Most of these are being defi ned into specifi c Service Level A  g r e e m e n t s that are part of our PPP projects. Over and above this we plan to undertake third party audit and evaluation of our projects to ensure the desired levels of service delivery is met.

What are your state’s key achievements in implementing
e-Governance projects?

We are in the process of initiating key e-Gov projects and once the projects are executed and sustained, then only it will be fair to talk about achievements.

What are some of the challenges that you are facing in
implementing the  e-Governance projects? How are they being overcome?

The biggest challenge that we face is lack of trained manpower and the diffi cult hilly topography that our State has. We are prone to landslides and even basic communication is a problem due to frequent landslides and heavy rains. Only one district of our State is connected with air and rail, and hence the cost of getting trained manpower from outside is high.

Another challenge is that low population means less number of transactions and hence private companies do not show interest as they are mainly interested in their profi t margins.  In fact, the best way forward for IT and e-Governance projects in North-East will be to have  some system of Universal Service Obligation for all IT companies who have benefi ted through  fi scal and policy concessions given by Government of India in the last 15 years. IT companies  should be made to have some operations outside the traditional States of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu etc.

What is going to be your main focus for the next few
years?

My main focus is going to be take the key NeGP Projects and execute them as also to formulate  some applications which are web enabled and helps the citizens in accessing the government  in an easier and transparent manner. We have to have G2C, G2G and B2C services running  more meaningful government.

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