Interview

Right to Information project will be fully operational in Karnataka from April 2011 : MN Vidyashankar, Government of Karnataka, India

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MN Vidyashankar
Principal Secretary, e-Governance
Department, Government of Karnataka

MN Vidyashankar is an Indian Administrative Service Officer of 1982 batch and has served in different departments in the State Government of Karnataka. He is currently working as Principal Secretary, e-Governance Department, Government of Karnataka. In an interview with Prachi Shirur of eGov, MN Vidyashankar talks about the state’s progress in e-Governance in the year gone by and the plans for the coming year.

What is the progress on implementation of State Mission Mode Project (MMPs) in Karnataka?

Karnataka has been way ahead in implementing Mission Mode projects, well before Government of India formulated MMPs. The land records project Bhoomi, the treasury project Khazane, the stamps and registration project Kaveri and the municipal property tax collection project Aasthi are some such examples. Besides, the revenue department’s UPRO project for Accurate Updated Ownership Records of urban area was implemented in the state quite ahead of others.

In addition, Karnataka launched several new projects at its departments, including Rural Development and Panchayath Raj, Panchathantra, which deals with the computerisation of gram panchayaths; Commercial Tax department’s e-Sugam which deals with collection of commercial taxes; Transport Department’s Smart Card project; and Police Department’s Intelligent Traffic Management and Enforcement project.

What have been the state’s key achievements in implementing e-Governance projects in G2C, G2B, G2G categories in 2010?

One of the key achievements is the rapid adoption of e-Procurement project in the government-to-business category by various state departments. The state government is making all its procurements transparently through electronic media, under this project. Even though it started in six establishments on a pilot basis, during the last two-and-a-half years, this scheme had been extended to 86 departments, by the end of November 2010. Procurement to the tune of `47,000 crore is made through this platform. As the platform has encouraged competitive spirit among the bidders, increased participation resulting in savings of more than 10 percent. With this, the expenditure for the state exchequer got reduced by `4,700 crore. As it is a Web-based application, anybody can participate without any hindrance. As a result more than 10,000 users have registered for it. The project bagged Futuregov Award 2010 for best practices in Asia’s public sector during the year.

Human Resource Management System (HRMS) comes second in the achievement list, in the government-to-government category. The project that started with assistance from World Bank has achieved increased progress during the last two-and-a-half years. About 19,200 drawing and disbursing officers are able to disburse the salaries to government officials working under their control using the electronic media. Besides, the service registers of all the employees have also been updated. Because of this, government employees who are retiring will be receiving their retirement benefits on the day of retirement itself in the days to come. This scheme has been extended to several corporations and boards. The Government of Andhra Pradesh is in consultation with the Karnataka State Government for implementing this scheme.

Serving as the front end for the delivery of services in the government-to-citizen and government-to-business categories, Bangalore One is another project that was started with an idea of providing all the services under a single roof. With an intention of starting a center for each ward, 30 centres have started functioning, aggregating the total to 63 in the Bangalore city. The centres provides around 40 odd services like payment of all bills and revaluation of PUC marks. A transaction of `6 crore has taken place during this year. Bangalore One has won several awards and recently bagged ‘National Web Ratna 2009’award.


“The rapid adoption of e-Procurement project in the G2B category has reduced expenditure for the state exchequer by `4,700 crore”


Karnataka One is yet another key state project in the G2C and G2B categories. Chief Minister of Karnataka had inaugurated Shimoga One centre on heralding the Karnataka One Scheme on the model of Bangalore One centres. Continuing this tempo, 32 Karnataka One centres have been established at tier 2 cities of the state covering Hubli-Dharwad, Belgaum, Bellary, Mysore, Mangalore, Davanagere, Gulbarga and Tumkur.

Inaugurated on October 8, 2010, Aadhar (UID) is a unique project which intends to give unique identity numbers to all the 6 crore residents of the state. For the first time in the country two districts Mysore and Tumkur have been considered simultaneously for the project and 5 lakh residents have already been registered under this scheme. The response from the residents is highly encouraging. With the implementation of this scheme, it is expected that public services will reach those for whom these are intended, in the most systematic manner.

What programmes and projects will be the focus of your state in 2011?

Among many others, the Right to Information project is being implemented with an intention of furnishing the information to citizens, who can apply for the same under the RTI Act through call centres or Bangalore One and Karnataka One centres or the state web portal. The project will be fully operational from April 2011.

Under the Planning Department, in order to implement various plans and schemes of different departments in districts and talukas, information will be collected in a time frame through the Internet. A management information system (MIS) is also being developed. This project will come into force from April 2011.

Then there is State Service Delivery Gateway (SSDG). The main intention of this project is to provide anywhere and everywhere services to citizens. All services and forms will be made available through the Internet to citizens, avoiding their frequent trips to offices. An amount of `5 crore is provided for this project and it will come into force from June 2011.

The Stamps and Registration Services project is to be executed by March 2011. Marriage certificates, encumbrance certificates and sale deeds will be made available to the public through Bangalore One centres electronically. Around eight lakh records have been computerised for this purpose.

Coming into effect from June 2011, the Karnataka Residents Data Hub project intends to have the consolidated information of all the citizens who are availing these benefits. This will help the government in evaluating not only the progress of the project but also extending the benefits to the real beneficiaries. 

Thought bytes

On trends in e-Governance and education: Use of mobile phones as delivery platform, with mobile banking and mobile trading permitted by RBI in November, and the National Knowledge Network (NKN) are the key technology inductions in e-Governance and education in 2010 in India. Globally, it is the ‘cloud’ adoption

On technology in the coming years: It will be more pronounced, particularly, the widespread availability of smart phones and tablets (with apps showing up everywhere) and the cloud adoption will change software production, delivery and consumption significantly. Software production will be possible even for non-programmers, software delivery will shift more and more to the cloud (away from shrink-wrapped software) and software consumption will be through information appliances (tablets, smart phones and e-books) rather than being PC-centric.

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