Interview

Large State: Larger Challenges : D S Srivastava, Government of Uttar Pradesh

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D S Srivastava
Special Secretary Information and Technology & Electronics, Government of Uttar Pradesh

“17,909 CSCs will be setup during the year 2008-09”

The Uttar Pradesh State Wide Area Network (UPSWAN) was earlier, scheduled to get operational by January 2008. After its rescheduling of the deadline when can we actually expect it  to be functional?

Uttar Pradesh State Wide Area Network (SWAN) has a 2 Mbps bandwidth up to the block level. There are a  total of 885 Network Operating Centres (NOCs) which are being established. All 70 districts are linked with the Head Quarters and the network is operational. Civil work for all 885 Point of Presence (PoPs) is almost complete. Further, more than 75 percent of the total 241 Tehsil level NOCs and more than 85 percent of the block level NOCs are operational. We shall be able to operationalise all the Tehsil and Block level NOCs by  December 2008.

How is the work on State Data Centres (SDCs) progressing  in UP?

The third major core infrastructure project under the e-Governance plan of the state government is the State Data Centre (SDC) which is being set up to consolidate services, applications and infrastructure to provide efficient delivery of Government-to- Government (G2G), Government-to-Citizen (G2C) and  Government-to-Business (G2B) services.

The state  government has taken note of the broad requirements of a typical data centre which include infrastructure facilities (physical, electrical, air conditioning) installation and integration of IT infrastructure (servers, telecom equipment, integrated portal/departmental information system, Enterprise and network management system, security, firewalls/IDS, networking components) software and databases. The Uttar Pradesh state government proposes the establishment of shared infrastructure across various departments, centralised network management and operations capability, availability of high data and application and provision of infrastructure to build central repository of information/data. Further, the SDC will provide a trustworthy environment, where citizens can conduct secure transactions with confidence and have easy and multi-channel access for interacting with the government.

Uttar Pradesh has chosen Wipro as a consultant for the SDC project. A Detailed Project Report (DPR) has been prepared and submitted to the Government of India. Government of India has given approval for establishment of SDC at a cost of INR 55.33 crores. The Data Centre will be installed at UPDESCO premises and a sum of INR 4.20 crores has been transferred to the state by the Government of India for the same.

The draft  Request for Proposal (RFP) is also ready.

When can we expect the 17,909 Common Service Centres (CSCs) in Uttar Prades to be operational?

The state is implementing the Common Service Centres (CSCs) project in which a total of 17,909 CSCs will be setup during the year 2008-09. These CSCs will be known as `Jan Seva Kendra’ in the state. These Kendras will act as the delivery points of various services to citizens at their doorstep. The CSC scheme has a 3-tier implementation framework which includes –  State  Designated Agency (SDA), Service Centre Agency (SCA) and  Village Level Entrepreneur (VLE).

Master Service Agreement (MSA) with all the selected SCA’s has already been signed on April 8, 2008. As per the agreement 25 percent of the centres were supposed to be rolled out by September 8, 2008 and 25 percent by November 8, 2008 and the another 25 percent by January 8, 2009 and the rest 25 percent by April 8, 2009.

Since  the revenue support is based on the availability of G2C services, the State has to develop appropriate G2C service enablement plans, at least for key government services. The service and revenue for the services to be provided from Jan Seva Kendra has been decided as follows:

In Uttar Pradesh there have been voices raised in favour of setting up of RTI call centres on the lines of the initiative taken by Bihar. Are we going to see any developments on that front in the near future?

The U.P. Government is considering to set up Call Centres for RTI and to provide informations.

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

In the state, lot of schemes are being implemented under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model. All these schemes are running successfully. In the future, most of the schemes will be preferred on the PPP model.

In the implementation of the various e-Governance Projects, what do you think have been the major roadblocks?

Non-availability and maintenance of connectivity in rural areas has been a major problem in the implementation of e-Governance projects.

Most of the G2C e-Governance services are to be delivered through CSCs and all the CSCs are to be connected through the available service provider and in the last mile through wireless networks. Another roadblock is non-availability of IT personnels for monitoring e-Governance schemes. It is difficult for the state government, to get qualified IT professionals, as we can not match up to the salaries offered by the private sector.

What are the other e-Governance project in the pipelines for the year 2009?

We are implementing several e-Governance project such as e-District Pariyojana which is  being implemented in 6 districts of the state – Gorakhpur, Noida, Ghaziabad, Sultanpur, Sitapur and Rae Bareilly.

It will provide 10 services and 32 sub-services (as per list enclosed) to the citizens electronically. It will become operational in December 2008. The inauguration of the scheme was done by the Chairman of Board of Revenue which was scheduled on 15th December in Sitapur District. The delivery of services has started from 19th December 2008 in Rae Bareilly and on 22nd December in Ghaziabad. Considering the success of these initiatives, it shall be rolled out in other districts of the state as well.

These initiatives are the first of its kind in the country.

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