Head, IT promotion Cell & Under Secretary,Department of IT, Govt of Odisha
Aditya Mohapatra, Head, IT promotion Cell & Under Secretary, Department of IT, Government of Odisha, is playing an exemplary role in development of ICT sector in the State. A 1997 batch state civil service officer, a M Tech in Engineering Geology from IIT Kanpur and MBA from IIT Kharagagpur, Mohapatra also serves as an Officer on Special Duty at Odisha Computer Application Centre (OCAC) and a nodal officer for UIDAI, Odisha. In conversation with Nayana Singh
Throw some light on the kind of IT infrastructure Odisha has to facilitate eGovernance. How does OCAC support to it?
As the state designated agency, the role of Odisha Computer Application Centre (OCAC) is to ensure that all the National eGovernance Projects are implemented in a smooth manner. The two core projects under NeGP- the State Wide Area Network (SWAN) and State Data Centre have been implemented in the state of Odisha in an effective and timely manner. The Hon’ble Chief Minister inaugurated SWAN in Odisha in the year 2010. We have successfully connected the state headquarter with all the 30 districts and 284 blocks and 60 horizontal offices. Now we are planning to connect more than 4000 horizontal offices across the state in phases. The SWAN project of the Government of Odisha provides video conferencing facilities to all the 30 collectorates. Around seven VC studios are available in the secretariat. One state-of-art Real presence video conferencing (RPX) also available in OCAC, which is unique in any of the government office in India. The State Data Centre was inaugurated in Odisha in November 2010. Odisha is the second state in the country which Data Centre live in time. As on date, more than 13 critical applications have already been hosted in the Data Centre, some of them being Treasury, e-Registration, e-Municipality, CCTNS, e-District. SAMS and I3MS are in the process of migrating to this Data Centre. Under e-District project, we are providing six services to the citizens in two pilot districts, in Ganjam and Marurbhunj. We are planning to implement e-District projects across the entire state. Some of the initiatives of the state government such as e-Despatch to automate the despatch system of the government departments are being taken care by OCAC. The main purpose behind this initiative is that the letters should reach the concerned officers in real time. Also, application to Odisha Public Service Commission (OPSC) for conducting both large scale and small scale examinations are made online by OCAC.
IT being one of the core elements in all the departments, how is it syncing in to help in the operations of each department?
For success of IT projects, a robust application and reliable connectivity is critical necessary. Mobile connectivity has penetrated to more than 80 percent areas in the state. BSNL has successfully reached out to all the 314 blocks in the state. Connecting the Blocks to Gram Panchyats is challenging. For the Gram Panchyats which are not connected, we are trying to facilitate connectivity through the National Optical Fiber Network (NOFN). There is a tripartite agreement to be signed between BBNL, Government of Odisha and Government of India. Powergrid Corporation is going to execute the project. By the end of year 2014, we are hope to reach to most of the Gram Panchyats.
“Connecting the Blocks to Gram Panchyats is a challenge. By the end of 2014, we hope to connect most of the Gram Panchyats”
What challenges are facing implementation of these projects?
In any e-Governance Projects, ‘e’ is least focused upon whereas ‘Governance’ is of prime importance. The project is bound to fail, if the two factors are reversed in use. The government processes require change and we must bring them in the spectrum of ‘e’. An e-Governance project has three important components- people, process and technology. The success of any e-Governance project is largely dependent upon satisfaction that the citizen derives. Process reengineering is a vital thing and it is the most difficult task in the
government. The redundant processes from the departments must be removed. It is equally important to change the mindsets of government employees. They are not open to accept technology, thinking that the operations will be difficult. The secretaries are adopting several measures to make the staff technology friendly. Changing oneself and tuning one-self to ever changing technology is the key to success and this is not taking place in the government sector, the way it is taking place in the private sector.
When it comes to Human Resources, what and how should be the capacity building measures?
We believe that providing training is the key to effective capacity building. The government is spending a lot of money towards training the employees. However, the desired success is being achieved gradually. Also, employees should go for exposure visits to witness the good practices and how they are being performed. Recognising and rewarding the employees is also equally effective. We must encourage events such as eOdisha summit which contributes towards this recognition process. Employees right from the top level to the grassroots level need to be felicitated for their achievements. All the stake holders have expectations from the Government. But fulfilling all the expectations is difficult at times. The good practices in government should be highlighted. But there is criticism in case of minor gaps in execution of projects. Instead of criticizing, we must identify the mistakes and rectify it so that the IT person working in the field gets moral boost.
OCAC is the nodal agency for IT in the state. Other than IT implementation, what incubation and R&D measures are being taken up to develop IT in the state?
A new OCAC tower is under construction, in which one entire floor will provide incubation facility. Companies will be provided with space who require incubation space for a period of two to three years. Other than this, Software Technology Park of India (STPI) and Orissa Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDCO) are also working towards this cause. As far as R&D is concerned, the Government has also approved a Characterization lab for semi-conductor testing. The state governments have kept a provision of five crores rupees for this special lab. The State Government, along with STPI will be setting up the lab at IIIT, Bhubaneswar. The students will be working in the lab and the companies from anywhere in the country can come and avail the facilities at subsidized rates.