We have started lots of initiatives to attract investment in Uttar Pradesh, the land of unlimited potential, says Jiwesh Nandan, Principal Secretary, Department of IT & Electronics, Govt of Uttar Pradesh, in an interview with Nirav Soni of Elets News Network (ENN)
What are the major eGovernance and ICT initiatives undertaken in the state to provide better G2G and G2C services?
We have taken up all major IT opportunities available to our Government Departments and adapted to the same. There are many departments, which have done excellent work, whether it is back-office automation or a front-end service, which has an interface to the citizens. Let us take example of our Commercial Taxes Department. They have completely done away with physical interface. The traders do not have to come to our offices for their day-to-day work. They can register, modify applications and file their returns without the need for a physical contact.
Similarly in transport department, we have implemented VA HAN and SAARTHI applications, which are widely used. Any citizen seeking a driving licence does not have to go physically and apply for it. They can apply online. They can have their appointment fixed online, go to the transport office, show the documents, get clicked and the licence is ready. Similarly, in case of Police Department, citizens can submit their application with all details of the lost objects through a mobile app and have the receipt. The same has to be submitted to the nearby local police station and then get it tracked. Under e-District Mission Mode Project, in every district we have set up a 14-computer lab and in every tehsil, a 7-computer lab.
Going further, we are trying to expand 26 currently available services through interactive Common Service Centers called Jan Seva Kendras or ‘Lokvanis’. We are also inviting bids for District Services Agencies, as we feel that mostly these services are provided through district officials in different departments and that district is the nodal point to coordinate and take control of frontend Kiosks. So, now onwards, all the CSCs would be district-controlled. Out of 75 districts, bids are out for appointment of District Service Center Agencies in 45 districts.
Across all departments of the State Government, the IT Department has worked as a co-ordinating department for these initiatives through various grants that are available under the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP). All required infrastructure is in place. All required infrastructure is in place. This is how we have brought Information Technology to our departments in the State, and for citizens, it is becoming easier with each passing day to interact with the government and avail services.
We are trying to expand 26 currently available services through Common Service Centers, called ‘Jan Seva Kendras’ or ‘Lokvanis’. We are also modifying the same and inviting bids for District Services Agencies
What is your view regarding the ambitious Digital India programme, and to what extent Uttar Pradesh is geared up for the same?
We are completely in tune with the Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) and BSNL, the contractor per se for BBNL, as far as Uttar Pradesh is concerned. They are really doing good work and by March 31, 2015, we have plans to connect roughly around 22,000 Gram Panchayats out of approximately 51,000 Gram Panchayats in the State.
We are in close connect with them and they are working at a good pace. Recently, our Chief Secretary had a review meeting to find out the number of gram panchayats already connected through broadband on optical fibre network, and the number stood at 500.
Apart from this, we have galvanised the Health and Basic Education departments for greater involvement in the process. All Primary Health Centres and primary schools are located near Gram Panchayats, where the Optical Fibre is being laid with 10 Mbps capacity, and these departments are building applications and procuring necessary hardware to make full use of it. We are continuously reviewing the progress. I think it’s a great idea to connect Panchayats, so that everyone is enabled. Until and unless people are enabled, we can’t really think of bringing digital revolution in true sense.
We recently announced the Electronics Manufacturing Policy 2014, which is one of the best in the country. We have the best to offer to the investors, as it provides maximum available incentives for hardware and electronics manufacturing
What are the steps being taken for capacity building within the government departments and for enabling skills of the new tech-age generation?
We are aware that for while thinking of transforming the governments, not only the government officials but also the citizens have to be on the same page. And so, we have taken up a continuous capacity enhancement programme through training modules, which is going from district to district. In the last few months, we have trained around 35,000 government officials across the 75 districts of the State. This is done through Center for eGovernance, with support from experts and some members of the State e-Mission Team.
As far as training in general is concerned, we have taken up two programmes: one is ESDM training programme of around 15 lakh people, for which we have taken the Government of India’s approval and received the sanction of around Rs 8 crore, and certificates from NIELIT, Telecom Skill Development Council and Electronic Skill Development Council; secondly, we also have CSC SPV that is rolling out training programmes for 3,20,000 people. So, for a state like Uttar Pradesh, training programmes for around 18.2 lakh people has been started and we have requested the Government of India for financial support for Rs 10 lakh more people. Capacity building of the citizens, especially the youth, is very important.
What policies are being announced to attract greater investment in the State?
We have come out with two policies: one is the IT Policy, which was announced in 2012 and is only for investors in IT and related areas. As a result of that, we are in the process of setting up a 100-acre IT Park at Lucknow, which is being set up by HCL. Also, we are in the process of setting up smaller IT Parks of 2 to 5 acres of area at Meerut, Agra, Kanpur and Gorakhpur. We are getting engaged with Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) to develop these software parks.
Secondly, we are setting up an electronics manufacturing cluster on the Yamuna Expressway, which is one of the best expressways in the country. We recently announced the Electronic Manufacturing Policy 2014, which is one of the best in the country. We have the best to offer to the investors, as it provides maximum available incentives for hardware and electronic manufacturing. It is in line with the Government of India’s Electronic Manufacturing Cluster and ESDM Policy. We have lot of interest in this area. In fact, we are going to sign four associations, i.e. Indian Cellular Association, ELCINA, ELCOMA and IESA, in front of Honourable Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh on 27th January during the e-UttarPradesh 2015 event. We have even earmarked two clusters – one on Yamuna Expressway and other in Greater Noida, each of 100 acres. We are taking lots of initiatives to attract investment to Uttar Pradesh.