What was once being said for ICT4D projects in India, is being said for the e-Government space as well! India is a country of pilots (pilot projects), with no aeroplanes to fly! e-Government projects in India are too many. But every department is a ‘champion’ on its own in this complex, fuzzy and glamorous world of e-government.
We had a glimpse of this situation in the recently concluded mega-conference – Conflux 2005. While there were around 150 papers presented at the conference from various district, state and central government departments; research institutions; academic organisations; NGOs and the private sector, there was a clear felt need for a knowledge sharing platform, where all these learning could be documented, shared and crystallised. There were several responses coming like ‘I never knew that this thing is happening in this department’ to ‘can you help build a similar system as yours in my state’ etc.
By an estimate of NASSCOM, the government IT spending is staggering (at least by Indian standards) USD 1 billion (Rs. 4,000 crores) per year. With the imminent launch of the approx USD 3 billion (14,000 crores) National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) by the Government of India, this spending is poised to grow fast. There is a danger that islands of success in department, geographies and isolated champions would be again created. The need to ‘bare’ and ‘share’ both the good and bad experiences of producing successful e-government projects will be required in a big way. Conflux 2005 was an effort in this direction to create a ‘Community-of-Practice’ in the e-Government domain so that this emerging and exciting field of knowledge reaches out its true practitioners and potential stakeholders.
The Conflux 2005 saw the participation of several IT secretaries in the country to share a single dais and share the problems and opportunities they are encountering in their respective states. It was perhaps for the first time that the e-government community got to listen and deliberate with the IT secretaries on a collective basis on a public platform. This gave many new perspectives to the e-Government scenario in the country and perhaps gave the rare peep into their minds. Read more about it inside!
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