Editorial

2010: Wishing Online Citizen Services to Zoom like Government IT Spend!

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With this issue, egov magazine is completing 5 years of its inception. This is a unique feat. With this, we have become perhaps the first magazine in entire Asia, Middle East and Africa to have completed 5 years of uninterrupted print magazine publication on e-Governance. We would like to thank all the people who have supported us: our authors, advertisers, government, private sector, academia, civil society, and last but not the least, our readers, who have provided us their unstinted encouragement and support.

The year 2009 was unique for everyone. The world got hit by a major economic recession. The downturn came as a mixed blessing for the e-Governance sector in India. The government pushed up the spending on IT at all levels. Some of it happened due to the downturn and some of it happened due to the genuine awareness in the government to improve service delivery to the citizens. Major projects like the e-Passport, National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGA), Accelerated Power Development & Reforms Programme (APDRP), ICT Mission for Education, Public Distribution System, Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) etc. all got major push last year. Along with these projects initiated by the central government, several states increased their efforts to deploy IT in government. Even laggard states like Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand showed some traction in IT usage in government.

Thanks to the economic recession, major IT companies of India, who were reluctant to enter the Indian government market due to various reasons, made big splash entry in their home country. Infosys, Wipro, TCS, Patni, MindTree, Mastek etc. who have done extensive work with governments abroad are now seriously pitching for Indian government projects. The most important initiative in the year 2009 was undoubtedly the Unique Identification  (UID) project. The government sent a major signal about its seriousness to the issue by having Nandan Nilekani, founder and CEO of Infosys to lead this project in the capacity of a Cabinet Minister. The UID project, which is perhaps  one of the biggest project of this nature ever attempted anywhere in the world, has the potential to transform a major painpoint of the citizens of the country, where they are asked to prove their identity again and again by several agencies. This project can also become the base data for citizen services across India on which all e-Governance services could be built on.

To sum up, the e-Governance scenario in India definitely looked up in 2009. In 2010 it is supposed to attain greater heights. But, there is a long, long journey ahead for citizens to start seeing the impact of these initiatives in a big way.

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