Interview

Computer Literacy Boosting e-Governance : B K Agarwal, Secretary, Department of Infomation Technology

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Non-Availability of enough funds is a magor roadblock in the implementation of e-Governance in Himachal Pradesh”

http://www.himachaldit.nic.in

“Non-Availability of enough funds is a magor roadblock in the implementation of e-Governance in Himachal Pradesh”

The Department of Information Technology has released funds for State Data Centre (SDCs) in 27 states and union territories of India, which includes Himachal Pradesh as well. How do you plan to utilise these funds?

The State Data Centre (SDC) in Himachal Pradesh is under construction. We will soon be issuing Request for Proposal (RFP) inviting private companies to set up the SDC. The SDC will be owned and managed by the Department of Information Technology. However, regular maintenance and operation of the data centre will be handled  by the private party involved. We will be spending approximately INR 50 crores on this project.

A web based job portal for all stakeholders has been started in the state, how do you think the target audience is receiving these e-Governance initiatives?

The web based job portal has been a great help to the industry as well as the job seekers of the state. Due to rapid industrialisation in the state in the last few years, demand for manpower with various skills has also increased. This portal helps to match the requirement of the industry with the available skills without going through the process of advertisement or taking help of recruitment agencies. The government is also able to monitor the actual number of job seekers and creation of employment. This initiative has been highly appreciated both by entrepreneurs and the unemployed youth.

In your view, how far has the telemedicine project benefited the common man?

Himachal Pradesh has a difficult geographical terrain due to which patients can not easily travel to the hospitals where specialists are available. There are not many private medical institutions in the state. In such circumstances telemedicine project has proved to be a boon to the people. At present 19 remote locations are connected to Indira Gandhi Medical College (IGMC), Shimla which is further connected to Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh. The doctors in the remote locations are regularly making tele-consultation with the specialists in IGMC and PGI. Many critically ill patients have already benefited from this facility. Staff Clinical Pathological Conference (CPC) from PGI Chandigarh is also broadcasted through telemedicine network every wednesday for the use of Post Graduate students/ Resident Doctors of IGMC.

In various e-Governance projects there is often a need for collaboration with private players. How has been your experience with private players in terms of partnership and performance so far?

Various projects like Himachal Pradesh State Wide Area Network (HIMSWAN), AGRISNET, and Common Service Centres (CSCs) are being implemented in collaboration with private companies in our state. Our experience has been that if rigorous screening is done before awarding the contract and terms and condition are laid down explicitly, there is no problem afterwards. Nevertheless, a project is implemented in collaboration with private players the department must have adequate technical capabilities and strict system of monitoring.

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