CIO

Chandigarh a Rare Embodiment of e-Governance

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Prerna Puri
Secretary, Information Technology & Additional
Secretary, Home, Chandigarh Administration

“The vision of the Administration is to create a knowledge based society, in which every citizen of Chandigarh is able to use easy self-service electronic models to access government services,” says Prerna Puri

Please give us an overview of the e-Governance initiatives that are being undertaken in Chandigarh.
When it comes to the use of technology, Chandigarh Administration has always adopted a forward looking approach. The Administration accords high priority to e-Governance initiatives. The vision of the Administration is to create a knowledge based society, in which every citizen of Chandigarh is able to use easy self-service electronic models to access government services. The IT infrastructure in Chandigarh is already well established. Chandigarh Administration is providing a ‘multi-service’-‘single-window’ experience to its citizens through the network of 27 Sampark Centres (akin to CSCs in other states). Through this service citizens can have hassle free one stop solution to many of the problems that they are facing. Monthly, over two lakh transactions are logged in at these Sampark Centres. Significant numbers of these transactions are e-Transactions. Furthermore, Chandigarh Administration is working towards adding more services like rail ticket reservation, payment of property tax etc to the existing bouquet of 22 G2C and 4 B2C services at these Sampark Centres.

Lot of work has also been done in Chandigarh in the area of CCTNS. Please provide your views on this.
Currently we are implementing six Mission Mode Projects under National eGovernance Plan and some more are in the pipeline. As regards CCTNS, Chandigarh is the first city in the country to have all police stations under its CCTNS network. Computerisation and digitisation of archaic records and documents is underway in various Departments of Chandigarh Administration. Document Management Systems are being put in place and this would follow the computerisation of workflows. Around one hundred public services are being computerised.

You have also started the scheme for providing free Wi-Fi hotspots in the city. What kind of benefits do you see in this scheme?
Internet can be seen as the most popular medium for accessing information and services and the Administration in Chandigarh is trying to encourage usage of Internet by enabling citizens to have easy access. Accordingly free Wi-Fi hotspot, probably first of its kind in North India, was set up last year as a pilot project in CSCs of Chandigarh. This free Wi-Fi hotspot enables the residents visiting the CSC to stay connected to the Internet through their smartphones, tablets and laptops. This free Wi-Fi access at Sampark Centre is a secured system and is available during Sampark Centre’s working hours. While using the free Wi-Fi service, the users have to register their mobile number as the proof of identity. More such free Wi-Fi zones are being set up across the city.

Many times citizens are unable to access the e-Governance services as they are unaware of what is being offered. Are you taking some proactive measures to ensure that enough awareness is created about the initiatives that have been taken?
We are concerned about the rate and extent of adoption of eGovernance. As per the Technology Acceptance Model, the acceptability of an IT solution is determined by two factors – perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use of the IT solution, hence we try to ensure that eGov applications are intuitive and user-friendly. Accordingly, it becomes crucial to ensure that before e-Governance initiatives are fully implemented / rolled out, all sections of the society are familiar with the use of cutting edge IT applications as the medium to access G2C, G2B, G2E services. Initiatives of IT Department like setting up of free Wi-Fi hotspots, touch sensitive information kiosks, launch of mobile applications, etc., have been deployed for public, to narrow down the ‘chasm’ that normally exists between ‘early adopters’ and ‘early majority’. We have followed a two-pronged strategy, i.e., to test cutting-edge technologies for delivery of public services and to encourage public to use these IT solutions for accessing public services. And in order to increase awareness of cuttingedge IT applications, we have adopted an inclusive approach wherein we are focussing on the school and college students as well. Chandigarh Administration is one of the first State/UT governments in the country to have organised a mobile application development competition and we are customising some of the entries submitted by the students. Every year we organise IT competitions in schools as well. We are hopeful that these efforts would help us in speedier adoption and diffusion of IT amongst public.


Our free Wi-Fi hotspot is probably first of its kind in North India


 

The Vision of e-Jan Sampark project

•Bring the administration closer to all the sections of the society especially under privileged.
• Provide a single, efficient information dissemination system to the citizen for availing government services by minimizing multiple interaction points for the citizen and hence reduce the wastage of valuable time
• Provide for better turnaround time in receipt, processing and issue of services
• Provide information services in a comfortable environment and make availing of the information services a pleasant experience.
• Giving substance to Right to Information Act

IT Policy in Chandigarh is being revised. What kind of objectives do you expect to achieve through the revised IT Policy?
We are planning to revise the current IT policy in order to meet the new demands of the industry. The consultation with the industry stakeholders is underway. The policy will take into account the contemporary changes in the IT sector. IT is already playing a significant role in Chandigarh; the revised policy will have a provision for encouraging women to start the IT-enterprises in the city. The new policy will also take into account all the major developments that are shaping future, including the changes that have taken place on the e-Governance front. In order to step-up the extent and rate of adoption of IT, we are working on provisions to encourage the non-IT sector to use IT. Similarly we are working with other Departments of Chandigarh Administration to come up with ways and means to encourage uptake of IT. In this region, IT is providing direct jobs to more than 30,000 people, and indirect jobs to four times that number.

What kind of responses are you getting from these e-Governance initiatives? Are people using the e-Sampark Centres in Chandigarh for accessing government services?
The response is very good. The touch sensitive kiosks, which we have installed in various departments for information dissemination are also being used extensively. Many people are using the free Wi-Fi that we have installed in CSC. The e-Sampark Centres are not only ‘onestop- solution’ for availing 22 G2C and 4 B2C services but they are also used for dissemination of information. Earlier, the citizens had to make multiple visits for having a single transaction.We have been using these Centres for UID enrolment as well. We are working towards introducing new services like filling of passport application, booking of tickets at these Centres.

What steps are you taking to promote IT industry in the city?
We have operationalised Entrepreneur Development Centre (EDC) in the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park (RGCTP). EDC provides state of the art built up space for Small and Medium Enterprises that are into software development, IT based R&D and other high value services etc. EDC also provides incubation facilities for young IT entrepreneurs by providing them with plug-n-play facilities at nominal rates. Besides this, an IT Incubation Centre has also been set up at Chandigarh Administration’s Society for Promotion of IT in Chandigarh [SPIC].

Implementation of e-Governance initiatives requires active coordination among stakeholders in various departments. What steps are you taking to ensurethat there is effective coordination between various departments and agencies?
The Department of IT is the nodal department for various important IT initiatives like UIDAI, NOFN, etc., and so we are making all the efforts to sensitise various departments about the need for having effective IT systems in place. To ensure that there is effective coordination in the area of IT amongst various departments we organise orientation programs for officers at various levels, wherein they are not only sensitised about eGovernance but are also trained on IT project management techniques. We have also trained around two hundred personnel of Chandigarh Administration on e-Governance. State Apex Committee under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary meets regularly to review the progress of Mission Mode Projects.

Digitisation of files is key area for having effective e-Governance. Tell us about the work that you are doing in this area.
We are trying to complete the digitisation process of office records in the UT Secretariat as well. The filing system at the UT secretariat is very good and this makes it very easy for us to complete the digitisation process. We are also working towards the implementation of e-Office in Chandigarh Administration.

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