December 2013

e-Governance is Good Governance

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egovModern day Governments have understood the importance of good governance, but good governance is not possible unless there is efficiency and transparency. Both these qualities – efficiency and transparency – can be had through use of solutions from Information Technology. Essentially Information technology is an enabler, it cannot be the substitute for governance, but its effective usage can result in the achievement of fast, accurate and transparent delivery of Government Services

 

Sudhir Kumar, Managing Director, Uttar Pradesh Development Systems Corporation Ltd
(UPDESCO), Government of Uttar Pradesh

The Department of Information Technology and Electronics, Government of Uttar Pradesh, is the nodal department for the development of Information Technology and implementation of various schemes related to e-Governance in the State. Establishment of Information Technology infrastructure is one of the main thrust areas of the department. The other focal area includes the enabling of electronic delivery of key government services to the citizens in an efficient, effective and hasslefree manner.

Centre for e-Governance
The Department of Information Technology & Electronics has established the Centre for e-Governance (CeG) in the premises of Uttar Pradesh Development Systems Corporation Ltd (UPDESCO). The CeG is a registered society that acts as a nodal body for the NeGP and comprises of highly skilled officers of the UPDESCO and a team of professional consultants from various domains including technology, finance, change management and programme management. This team works closely with the System Integrators from the private sector and the National Informatics Centre (NIC) to implement the e-Governance and other IT initiatives in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Looking at the behavioural changes and the increasing expectations of the citizens it is the duty of the Government to take measures to satisfy the needs of the people and to provide services in a timely and efficient manner. This requirement has been very professionally handled by the CeG in tandem with its associates and working partners. The National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) of the Government of India is being implemented in the State to fulfil the objective of bringing the Government services closer to citizen homes.

Infrastructure for effective e-Governance
The NeGP envisages creation of certain core and support infrastructure which will provide web enabled services for anytime, anywhere, access.This includes facilities of State Data Centre (SDC), State Wide Area Network (SWAN) and citizen facing outlets, like Common Service Centres (CSCs), to deliver the services. It is a pleasure to share that Uttar Pradesh has established a state of the art State Data Centre, which is capable of handling the data of various departments of the state government. This SDC serves as a reservoir for data and services belonging to various arms of the state government. It help in consolidating services, applications and infrastructure to provide efficient electronic delivery of G2G, G2C and G2B services. The State Data Centre is fully functional and is currently handling data of departments like commercial tax, education, police, etc. It holds a huge database related to the scholarship eligibility of around 41 million students. Apart from this trainee teacher’s recruitment, selection of BTC, assistant teachers recruitment, UP Police recruitment are some other applications that are currently being hosted at the SDC. The department of Police, Forest and Basic education share the SDC on a collocation basis. The usage is expected to increase with the launch of e-District application and many more departments are ready to shift their data to the centre. The State Wide Area Network has been established to provide connectivity to the Government offices. This is a huge network having its backbone in three major cities of Meerut, Gorakhpur and Lucknow. All the District Head Quarters are connected with this network and the connectivity goes down to the Block level in every district. The horizontal connectivity is provided to various departments at the district level. There are 885 points of presence in this network. The network has the capabilities of voice, data and video transfer thus saving a lot of time and effort as compared to the physical movement of information. The current capability is of 2MBPS which is expected to be increased to 10 MBPS in the days to come.

Main Objectives of UPDESCO

  • To build up a reservoir of expertise and experience and render aid and advise for a fee or otherwiseto different government departments, agencies, institutions and others in the formulation andimplementation of development plans, introduction of modern management practices and collection,processing, storage and retrieval of relevant qualitative and quantitative information.
  •  To undertake on its own or in collaboration with or through other Organizations, Agencies, Institutesor individual, exploratory, diagnostic, evaluatory, analytical and analytical and techno-economicstudies, pilot Action-Research Projects, and surveys pertaining to various projects, sectors, or areas of development.
  •  To undertake and/or assist the preparation of integrated plans and the monitoring of their implementation. 
  •  To organise, install, manage and operate data handling and computation services of any description whatsoever independently or in collaboration with others, which in the opinion of the Company, are likely to assist different government departments, organisations, institutions and others.
  • To promote the dissemination of ideas and techniques relevant to the accelerated and efficient management.

Providing services to the citizens
The delivery of services requires outlets that are closer to citizen homes. This objective has been taken care by entering into Public Private Partnership with three major corporate bodies through the process of open tender. The state has been divided into seven zones and these companies have been given a mandate to establish one Common Service Centre for every six revenue villages. A total of around 16,000 such centres are functional throughout the state out of the mandated 17,909 centres in total. These centres are manned by a local village level entrepreneur who has the required IT skills thus creating a job opportunity at the village level. The role of the CSC is not just limited to delivery of government services; they are also instrumental in delivering value added business services like insurance, telemedicine, financial inclusion, direct transfer of subsidy, election cards and education to the people at large. The list of services is bound to increase as various other initiatives are being undertaken by the department for the services that are in the implementation phase. The State Services Delivery Gateway which is the portal for providing the government services was inaugurated by the Hon’ble Chief Minister on 1st August, 2012. This portal is currently providing 26 government services to the citizens through the CSC and Lokvani Centres established across the state. The number of applications received online has been more than 10 million till now and the rate of disposal has been astonishing, at around 97 percent. To achieve this success the CeG has undertaken rigorous training and sensitisation efforts of the officers in various departments involved in the delivery of services. The Capacity Building efforts are becoming a regular feature and specialized training in e-Governance domain is being imparted to middle and senior level officers of the government.

Research & Development
Besides acting as a nodal body for implementation of IT and e-Governance initiatives, UPDESCO has also been instrumental in research and development activities in the IT domain. The officers of UPDESCO form the part of e-Mission teams of various departments thus providing them consultancy and expert advice. The projects of departments like Transport, Food and Civil Supplies, Commercial Tax, Urban Local Bodies, Education, Mid Day Meal, Prison and MNREGA are being run with the active participation of UPDESCO. Some other projects include e-Tendering, Voter ID, Computerization of Lucknow University, Bundelkhand University, Polytechnics and ITIs. The e-Classroom project for the Gautam Buddha Technical University has been completed besides e-Learning portal implementation for the technical students. The future of the country is bright and the level of implementation of IT infrastructure projects is in tandem with the Government vision of making a better future for the citizens. The e-District project is under implementation across the State. This shall help the better delivery of services to the people at large. The government of Uttar Pradesh is also taking the initiative for creating IT Cities in the state. There is the project for development of Software Technology Parks and there is scheme to distribute free laptops to the students. All these schemes of the government of Uttar Pradesh will lead to the development of new capabilities for bringing inclusive development for the benefit of the people of the state

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