Though one can’t make a hole in the sky, Try to put your heart flinging that stone.
When we started the egov magazine in 2005, the idea was considered well ahead of its time by most of the people in the Government and the ICT industry I interacted with. The Indian IT industry was expanding at a scorching pace then, making me brood if there’s a way IT could address the common man’s problems.
We knew one-day that the Government will have to use IT in a big way if life of a common man has to become simpler and corruption-free.
We started off with the aim of documenting the e-governance initiatives by visiting various parts of the country. We also started inviting international e-government / e-governance experts to write on what journey of e-governance is expected to happen in India.
The aim was to start a dialogue between various key stakeholders of egov ecosystem — government, technology providers, civil society, academia and citizens on how IT can help transform citizen services in the country. We also aimed to document best practices so that each government organisation does not have to reinvent the wheel.
We felt that there was a need of creating a face-to-face platform for the egov community and that’s how our eIndia conference was born. The eIndia conferences received tremendous response over the years and they became a key platform of the country for dialogue on e-governance between various State governments, Central government departments, private sector and other stakeholders. As we launched the magazine, we realised we needed to be present online too to reach out the larger global audience. We started our egov website with just magazine’s content. Later, news items, exclusive stories, trends and policies on e-governance were getting updated, which results into more than 7 million hits on our website.
Since the egov space was in a nascent stage in the country, requests were made to commence training programme from government organisations and requests for organisning workshops on egov also started happening. We realised early the importance of getting deep into thematic issues of IT implementation, leading to creation of sister publications of egov magazine — ‘ehealth’, ‘digitalLearning’ and ‘The Banking and Finance post’ magazines. We also started Smart City conferences in 2010 to bring a focussed attention on how ICT can solve the exponential growth that the urban India was witnessing. We’ve covered a long journey so far and our 20th Smart City conference is happening at Chandigarh on 28 – 29th July 2017.
We also went outside India to create knowledge-sharing platforms with other countries, with eAsia conferences in Bangkok, KualaLumpur, Colombo and Sri Lanka and seminars in Beijing, Geneva, Tunisia, Cambridge (UK), Denver (US), Dubai, Bahrain and several other countries.
The journey was treacherous to start with. And, every day brings its new challenges.
Inspite of this, we’ve made it our mission to organise Smart City conference in every 100 proposed smart cities announced by the Government of India. Aware of it being a daunting task, we are determined to spread awareness about technology’s role in governance.
We’ve also made our mission to reach out to every Indian state, organising conferences on ICT in health, education, financial inclusion and related sectors in five years. As we complete our 150th issue journey of egov, I thank all past and present employees of elets who played a key role in reaching here. Thanks to all well-wishers in government, private sector and other stakeholders who have encouraged us a lot and gave energy to our team to march on.
Last but not the least, thanks to my parents, relatives and friends who supported financially and morally to make this Mission egov 150 possible!
Looking forward to the next Mission 150!