In line with the trend of time, the State of Uttarakhand is fast moving towards adopting eGovernance and mGovernance in toto to ensure better and fast delivery of citizen-centric services. A report on the status of digital governance in the Land of Gods
Over the years, various state governments as well as central ministries have been introducing a number of initiatives to improve citizen-centric services with the help of technology as well as communication tools.
On the same lines, sustained efforts being made at various levels in Uttarakhand has improved the timeliness of public service delivery and simplified the process of accessing them, apart from making these transparent.
eGovernance in Uttarakhand begins with computerisation of government departments, introducing websites for all government services, making services citizen-centric and transparent, and bringing about accountability in delivery of those services.
The State of Uttarakhand was formed on the 9th November 2000 when it was carved out of northern Uttar Pradesh. It is largely a hilly region with approximately 88 per cent of the geographical area being mountainous, rich in natural resources, especially water and forests, with many glaciers, rivers and mountain peaks.
The Government of Uttarakhand plans to utilise the full potential of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) tools for improving the quality of citizen services, bring in accelerated social and economic development, ensuring transparency in the Government decisions and accelerating IT adoption amongst various user segments.
The vision is to make the State of Uttarakhand fully high-tech, where the information flow and access across all sections of the society, enabled through effective ICT infrastructure, would propel the economic growth of the State, leading to a high quality of life of its citizens.
An important outcome of this ICT initiative will be employment generation. Given the fairly high literacy rate (higher than the national average), the State Government aims to reduce unemployment by encouraging IT and ITeS to establish their enterprises in Uttarakhand.
The Government of Uttarakhand uses IT in most of its departments — whether it is Treasury, Finance or Transport, it is being used everywhere. The government also aims to accelerate IT adoption amongst various user segments.
The Uttarakhand Government is engaged with the Department of Telecom of the Government of India for the expansion of National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) in Uttarakhand.
The NOFN project is being funded by the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) built with contributions from private telecom operators. However, for end-to-end services, companies will have to set up their own infrastructure at the gram panchayat level.
eGovernance in Uttarakhand begins with computerisation of government departments, introducing websites for all government services, making services citizen-centric and transparent, and bringing about accountability in delivery of those services
Interestingly, BSNL has selected Haridwar for the NOFN implementation in the first phase. Haridwar is also important from the tourism potential angle. Besides, the Government has been focusing on improving the telecom connectivity in-between government departments, for citizens and for tourists as well.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat has asked officials to think about ways to strengthen communication system in the calamity-prone districts of the State, including Chamoli, Pithoragarh, Bageshwar, Rudraprayag and Uttarkashi, which were among the worst hit by flood in 2013.
Recognising the need to increase mobile density in these districts, additional V-sats are going to be set up in Dharchula to cover a larger population under mobile connectivity.
The Telecom Department has also been requested to cover the deficit areas within the State through their universal service application mechanism. The way it has been done in the North-eastern states and some Naxal-affected areas, the government plans to do it for the Himalayan states, too.
Additionally, the Government of Uttarakhand has planned to make Haridwar the first place to have WiFi. “Ardh Kumbh is scheduled to happen next year and WiFi would be done before that,” said Deepak Kumar, Secretary, Department of Information Technology of the State.
In the later phases, two major tourist places in Uttarakhand—Musoorie and Ranikhet—would also get the WiFi facility, followed by similar facility in the complete State. The Government has been working on finalising the companies, which would process the WiFi project in the State.
Given the determination of the State Government to improve connectivity across the State, the days do not seem far off when the citizens of Uttarakhand will start enjoying the benefits of eGovernance and mGovernance.