Interview

Bringing e-Governance to Nagaland

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K T Sukhalu Commissioner & Secretary Information Technology & Communication Government of Nagaland“To increase the delivery of e-Services to citizen, we have adopted the strategy of strengthening the core infrastructure,” says K T Sukhalu, Commissioner & Secretary, Information Technology & Communication,Government of Nagaland

K T Sukhalu
Commissioner & Secretary
Information Technology & Communication
Government of Nagaland

What are the key focus areas for policy makers like you for development of ICT in Nagaland?

As regards policy the primary focus for development of ICT in Nagaland is on the creation and systematic enhancement of IT infrastructure in the State. We are focussed on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of Government’s service delivery systems. We are developing internal capacity of the Government to conceptualise, initiate, implement and sustain e-Governance initiatives. Creating appropriate business models, as well as policy and regulatory environments that encourage and facilitate fast and efficient delivery of public services.

Please provide us an overview of the status of the core e-Governance infrastructure like SWAN and SDC in the state.

As far as the core infrastructure under NeGP is concerned, there has been considerable progress over the past few years with almost all the core infrastructure in operational stage except for CSC, where the operation was temporarily suspended for a while due to poor performance of the SCA. The Nagaland State Data Centre is operation since 16th September 2011 and various applications has been hosted at the SDC. The State Wide Network (SWAN) was launched on 31st March 2012 and the 1st phase of the network has been rendered functional. The process for providing horizontal connectivity has been initiated. The State Portal and State Service Delivery gateway has been made operational since 31st March 2012 with 25 citizen centric ser vices from 7 user Departments.

Which of the State level MMPs under NeGP, have been taken up till date by the State Government?

The Commercial Tax, Transport Mission Mode Projects are already in operation, while the other Mission Mode Projects such CCTNS, e-District, Treasury Computerisation are currently in implementation stage.

What is the plan of the Government to make the citizen centric services that shall be available online in the near future?

To increase the delivery of e-Services to citizens, we have adopted the strategy of strengthening the core infrastructure. We are accelerating the implementation of MMP projects for delivering citizen services. The government is also looking at how government agencies can roll out mobile services to reach customers who want to transact with the Government while on the move. We are also creating legal framework and providing statutory support to delivering public services.

The CSC service delivery project in your State has seen its fair share of ups and downs? What is the current status? Are the issues resolved?

The Common Service Centres are designated to be set up in 220 locations covering all the districts of the State. The project was initially rolled out on a Public Private Partnership business model under the guidelines of the National e-Governance Plan. However, on review of the poor rate of progress in implementation of CSC project in the PPP business model, the Department has terminated the SCA and temporarily suspended the operation of the CSCs in the present mode. An alternate CSC implementation plan has been approved by Government of India and the same is under implementation. All CSCs are expected to be fully operational within a year. The success and failure of CSC in the State has brought in a better understanding of the challenges and issues in the implementation of the CSCs, especially in the rural and remote areas. We are streamlining the operation of the CSCs and also fine tuning the business model for delivering services considering the varied need of local community.

According to NASSCOM, the IT–BPO sector in India would aggregate revenues of US$100 billion in FY2012-13, where export and domestic revenue would stand around US$69 billion and US$317 billion respectively. NE States have been participating in the IT Sector and their presence is  consistently felt through the number of young people from NE states increasingly working in the sector. What is the plan of the State government on entrepreneurial investments to be made in Nagaland in IT & ITES and what is the state government currently doing to support and accelerate investments in IT & ITES in Nagaland?

As far as Nagaland is concerned, manpower is not really a problem. In fact, a number of leading firms have been actively involved in exploring talents from the State in ITeS-BPO sector. However, at the same time we would like to encourage more entrepreneurial activity. To promote the growth of this industry in the region, the Government is looking at creating a friendlier environment through relevant improvements in the areas of policy formation and infrastructure. Further, to attract investment in the IT& ITeS sector, the State is planning to setup an IT Park at Dimapur. The State has also started the ground for setting up an incubation centre through STPI to support and encourage entrepreneurs in the IT & ITeS sector

In your opinion what is the awareness level of the government officials in the State and what is your plan to increase the same? What is the status of the capacity building for the government officials to adopt MMPs in various departments?

Considering the enormous task of driving e-Governance in the State, the State is aggressively taking up capacity building at all levels of the Government structure. Various e-Governance training through NISG round the year is being conducted for political and policy maker and middle level official. The State has also engaged NIELIT as institutional partner for imparting basic computer training to all Government employees especially at the operating level of the Government structure. Apart from the training/workshop, review of state MMP projects with user Department is being undertaken quarterly

Among the NE states Nagaland may not have any significant share of IT-trained young people. Is there any plan in the state to improve this situation?

There is a sizeable share of IT trained professional from the State working within and outside the State. However, there is a need to increase and continuously improve the quality of human resource. So the task of bringing quality IT education within the reach of more and more people in the State is the need of the hour. Towards achieving this objective, the National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology (NIELIT) has been setup. Further, the School of Engineering and Technology (SETAM) and National Institute of Technology (NIT) has recently been set up in the State.

What shall you like to say to the young government officials so that they are encouraged to embrace ICT based service delivery?

The all pervasiveness of ICT in the present scenario  as greatly changed both expectations and capabilities of governance. Young officers should be proactive in this regard. More than anything, ICT is about keeping up and adapting to the needs of the hour, whether it is faster, more efficient people to people services and information exchange or understanding and dealing with the challenges that the widespread internet accessibility has engendered. In particular, social networking sites have done much to create a more connected world but the possibilities of their misuse have also been witnessed in recent times. The debate should not be about control or censorship rather about having the mechanisms in place to deal with such instances effectively.

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