May 2008

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Vietnam Jumps Ten Spots in World IT Rankings

Now Vietnam holds 73rd rank out of 127 countries for information technology (IT), according to the report, produced by the World Economic Forum (WEF). The report analyses how prepared countries are to use ICT on three main elements, ICT environment, the readiness of key stakeholder groups, and the usage of the latest ICT.
The report commends the Vietnamese Government's readiness to both use and benefit from ICT. This cross-country survey of networked readiness provides useful information for making business decisions and is of additional value to governments wishing to improve their ICT preparedness. Viet Nam was judged on a number of dimensions to produce its overall world ranking. In market environment Viet Nam's cluster development stands 16th. Long-winded administrative procedures let Vietnam down somewhat with the country coming 47th and 40th in terms of the effectiveness of its law-making bodies and contractual procedures. Regarding government usage, Vietnam finished in 37th position.

e-Stamps to Become a Reality in Maharashtra, India

The Maharashtra Government is planning to introduce an e-Stamping systemfor registration of property documents at the sub-register offices across the state. The state government is planning to introduce the pilot project in the next 15 days and it will be rolled out in a phased manner in rest of Maharashtra.

The state government has initiated a series of measures to improve the system for sale of stamps since last four years following the infamous fake stamp paper scam that rocked the country. The e-Stamping system is in line with the e-Governance policy of the state. The move will enable the citizens to download stamp paper at the click of the mouse. The system will also reduce the cost of the stamp paper printing, freight and safe custody. Also, as the system will provide greater control over the sale of stamps, chances of fake stamps getting circulated will get eliminated. In addition, the department will launch a new website which will enable the citizens to carry out valuation of their property on-line and they will be able to calculate the stamp duty required.

Banking Through Mobiles in Remote Areas

At present, India's total number of mobile subscribers is around 237 million. However, as only 350 million of India's population lives in urban areas, the next phase of growth is expected to happen in the rural heartland as the mobile technology has the potential to deliver services to the rural masses. Several initiatives have already been taken by the government and private sector as well as civil societies, in exploring the use of mobile technology in areas such as e-Governance, education and health.

An important use of mobile technologies, for the rural masses could be for approaching banks for credit. Mobile based online credit application and processing system would help large number of villagers to access various financial services of banking and insurance sector. Such a system would help in reducing the transaction costs involved in rural credit
Menu driven information system in mobile phone would help the villagers to access locally relevant information in a spatial-temporal context. The initiatives could be self-sustaining since agencies like banks, cellular service providers may like to join the initiatives as business strategies.

Government of California (USA) Adopts YouTube Services

The Government of California has launched the state's official video channel on The project, 'cost-neutral', would be implemented without any additional funds.

The California Government is working with Google to map many of the state's video playlists on the site. The state's YouTube content ranges from state employee-created media campaigns, such as the Franchise Tax Board's 'Ready Return,' to the Department of Motor Vehicles' video montage of the Golden State's scenic driving routes. The Commonwealth of Virginia, the Office of National Drug Control Policy and Marin County, California, all have used the online multimedia service. While CityTV Santa Barbara, a government access channel, joined YouTube in November 2007. Arlington County, Va., started its multimedia content alongside countless consumer video clips earlier this month. California's other uses include Kids Corner, a Web site with family-friendly state government information, child-appropriate activities and an enhanced search engine for the state's Web portal. California also has launched a 24-hour online appointment request tool to file complaints of employment and housing discrimination with the Fair Employment and Housing Department.

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