Cisco-NISG 2nd Annual Public Sector Summit, 9-10 March 2006, New Delhi, India

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Cisco Systems and National Institute for Smart Government (NISG) co-hosted the Summit in which over 120 delegates across the country comprising senior officials participated. The event was also graced by top brass officials of IT concerned field abroad.

Objectives and issues raised
The objectives of the summit included (i) providing a framework for developing state-level infrastructure strategy that supports e-Governance roadmaps, (ii) presenting and discussing business models and technology options for top-priority ICT infrastructure issues, (iii) addressing key implementation challenges of state-level ICT infrastructure, (iv) sharing lessons from different jurisdictions inside and outside India to leverage best practices, (v) providing an opportunity for feedback and discussion on the national e-Governance roadmap blueprint and (vi) exploring trends and issues on key ICT infrastructure issues such as data-centres, storage and wireless.

Brijesh Kumar, Secretary, Department of IT, Government of India (GoI) inaugurated the summit. Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Kumar stressed on the necessity to manage the infrastructure efficiently as the security issue related to the IT infrastructure. In his address, R. Chandrashekhar, Joint Secretary (e-Gov) DIT, explained about India’s National e-Governance Plan (NeGP). He said that some 25 e-Governance projects in mission mode are to be launched shortly by the Government of India. One of the 25 projects is that of MCA 21, which would enable companies to file returns electronically. Other projects include setting up of common service centres (CSCs) and assigning unique ID to below-poverty line families.

J. Satyanarayana, CEO of NISG, addressed the inaugural session of the summit. He expressed the hope that the Public Sector Summit 2006 would enable sharing of knowledge and experience of countries on the various facets of establishing a robust and scalable infrastructure for e-Government, Sudhir Narang, Sr. Vice President, Government and Service Provider Businesses, Cisco Systems, India and SAARC, informed that Cisco has been collaborating with Governments all over the world in their e-Governance efforts including India. He announced that Cisco has committed US$5mn to NeGP for setting up e-Government lab facilities in each state of India.

Policy recommendations
Recommendations to department of IT included (i) assistance to departments from concept to solution; (ii) drafting clear policy for last mile connectivity, bandwidth charges, content management, security policy, standards and architectures, (iii) information sharing, (iv) Central MMP on Data Digitisation; (v) link rollout of CSCs to state e-Governance readiness to institutionalise them; (vi) providing exposure of e-Readiness reports among bureaucrats and politicians (through seminars, media etc.), and (vii) consolidating best practices for business models.

Panelists’ voice
The summit concluded with a discussion deliberating on issues such as the role of regulator in e-Government, how to promote development of right content, e-Readiness and the role of CIO. Mr.  Jeff Kaplan elaborated on the concept of e-Governance to include integrated services for citizens.  Ms. Joan McCalla identified some of the CIO challenges and how to respond to them.

Ms. Zohra Chaterjee emphasised on the need of making people realise the need to have CIO, especially in India. One way to do it is to link state IT funds to CIO. Ho Chuan-te presented an interesting definition of IT in Taiwan. He said that IT is ‘India+Taiwan’. According to him, the government of Taiwan is encouraging its citizens to come to India to learn. He suggested that the third Public Sector Summit should have representation from the highest level of government, attended by the Prime Minister of India. This will give the required push to e-Governance.

Dominic Scott, Principal Consultant, Public Sector- Asia Pacific, Cisco, informed that CISCO had organised the summit to provide a forum for central and state governments and consultants to share ideas and international experiences. The large workshop component provided the delegates an opportunity to interact and debate on the national e-Governance programme. The summit concluded with the common resolution of daring to dream. Prachi Shirur,

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