National News: March 2009

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Centralised IT Processing Centre in Bangalore
The Union Cabinet has decided to set up a centralised processing centre for IT (Income Tax) returns at Bangalore at the cost of INR 255 crore as part of an exercise to quicken the processing of IT returns.

To start with, the Centre will focus on processing all electronically filed returns from across the country, and paper returns filed in Karnataka. Subsequently, its operations will be expanded gradually to cover paper returns filed in other states as well. The aim was to ensure that high skilled manpower of the IT department now deployed for processing the returns was utilised better in terms of pursuing cross verification of actionable information. The department would exercise full control over the process to ensure that the privacy and security of the taxpayers data were not compromised in any manner.

Under RTI Act Info Provided Through Website Not Enough

The Central Information Commission has issued directives that Posting information on Government websites may not be enough under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. In addition to making the information available online public authorities need to make available printed or CD copies of information to RTI applicants even if the same data is available online. This decision was reached in the process of responding to an appeal filed by Chandigarh resident Harish Kochhar against the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), which repeatedly referred him to its official website in answer to his RTI queries.

Goa Launches Payment of Taxes via Internet

Goa’s chief minister Digambar Kamat formally inaugurated Goa’s Cyber Treasury scheme at the second day of the 12th national conference on e-governance which began at a South Goa resort on 12th February 2009. This cyber treasury scheme will facilitate online payment of taxes through the Goa portal, both for commercial establishments and for individuals.

Govt to Invest INR 20,175 Crore in e-Governance Projects

Centre has decided to invest INR 20,175 crore for as many as 27 projects under its National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) in the next four years. Department of administrative reforms and public grievances and Department of Information Technology jointly formulated this programme. While 16 projects worth INR 10,622 crore have already got the Cabinet’s approval, the remaining ones will be unveiled in due course by taking state governments on board. The services would be delivered in a phased manner through the satellite-based State Wide Area Network (SWAN) in all states and Union Territories (UTs) in the country.

Blueline Havoc to be Tamed Using GPS

According to Delhi High Court the Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking system fitted in the bus is the solution to the menace created by the Blueline buses. It will help keep tabs on speeding buses to penalise them as well as monitor their adherence to a time-table. Authorities can also check the exact location of every bus in real time. Infact the court had asked to procure this GPS system way back in October 2007, but delay has been caused because the contractor to whom the tender was awarded has backed out and the process has to be initiated all over again.

Computing Solutions in 12 Indian languages

Microsoft company showcased for the first time its beta version of Windows 7 in Hindi, a step aimed towards enabling Indian users to compute using various Indian languages. The company launched its Language Interface Packs (LIPs) in twelve Indian languages for use in the Windows environment and Microsoft Office. The company has also made available for free download, forty-five virtual keyboards for use in these twelve languages. Windows 7 is being promoted as the precursor to the new operating system that Microsoft is developing as a replacement for Windows Vista. Microsoft’s suite of web-based applications, Windows Live, will also be available in seven Indian languages.

24X7 call centre on RTI in Jammu Kashmir

Omar Abdullah’s new government in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) has promised within the arena of e-Governance to provide for a legislation to strengthen the Right to Information (RTI) Act in the state. A call centre towards the same is being planned. At the planned call-centre twenty executives will handle calls and complaints from the public. This call centre will report directly to the chief minister. There will also be dedicated phone lines where complaints will be received through phone, text messages as well as in person.

m-Governance Adopted by Traffic Police in Kerala

Under the pilot project launched by Kerala Government, 38 traffic rule offenders landed in police net after the city police have started using the Blackberry mobile phones. Three complimentary Blackberry handsets had been handed over to the police personnel recently. Complete information about the vehicle and its owner can be instantly accessed by policemen using these mobile phones. These phones will be connected through a network with the database of the motor vehicle department The new technology could be extended to other parts of the state with some modifications. The technology had been specially developed by mobile service provider Vodafone (Kerala) with the assistance of the C-DAC.

Lizum Mishra
India Director
Business Software Alliance India

“Software Asset Management is a holistic standardised process which helps companies remain compliant, reduce costs, become more efficient and have greater control on security related issues within an organisation”

Briefly explain BSA’s initiative in corporate governance through the SAM campaign with the government of Karnataka.

Business Software Alliance is the foremost organisation dedicated to promoting a safe and legal digital world. It has a presence in 80 countries worldwide is the voice of the world’s commercial software industry and its hardware partners before governments and in the international marketplace. BSA educates consumers on software management and copyright protection, cyber security, trade,
e-Commerce and other Internet related issues.

The “Karnataka-A Leader in Software Asset Management” campaign launched by BSA  in partnership with the Center of e-Governance, Government of Karnataka is  to recognise Karnataka based small and medium companies as Leaders in “Software Asset Management (SAM)” and promote the importance of “Corporate Governance” and “Intellectual Property Rights” in the state.

How does India fare in EIU IT Competitiveness Index?

India ranks 48th in the world in the 2008 IT industry competitiveness index, moving 2 places from its 2007 ranking of 46 in the index. India has an overall score of 28.9 on the IT competitiveness index.

While being rated ahead of China, the findings of the study reveal that India has performed quite well in business environment and support for IT industry development, but needed to improve in areas such as IT infrastructure and research and development.

What are the factors that can enable Indian competitiveness in IT security segment?

Information Technology security is no more a mere legal requirement but it is fast becoming a factor for companies to compete on and grow businesses. A “secure and reliable” environment-defined by strong copyright, IT and cyber laws-is an imperative for the growth and future success of the IT Industry.

Indian IT companies today adhere to international best practices-they are regularly audited by independent certified auditors, comply with international standards at the highest levels, update procedures and practices regularly and meet-if not exceed – the worldwide information security standards to ensure that data and personal information of international customers is adequately protected. Similarly, another critical aspect of IT Governance in today’s day and age includes managing software as an asset. SAM or Software Asset Management is a holistic standardised process which helps companies remain compliant, reduce costs, become more efficient and have greater control on security related issues within an organisation.

What are the steps that government can take to reduce software piracy?

The government plays an instrumental role to curb the growing menace of piracy in India. It needs to seriously work for the IP cause and can look at options like setting up of specialised courts to address IP issues on a large scale.

Dealing with piracy requires a concerted effort by government, in partnership with industry, to provide strong legal remedies against software piracy, an efficient and effective enforcement system that provides deterrence, and regular and widespread public awareness campaigns on the why respect for intellectual property is important. There is no shortcut.

Tannu Singh

The Union Minister for Communications and Information Technology, A Raja inaugurating the upgraded e-Governance Centre of the Department of Information Technology, in New Delhi.

Centre of e-Governance opens in DIT

A Centre of e-Governance (CeG) has come up in capital New Delhi to disseminate awareness about e-Governance initiatives in the country. The upgraded centre was opened  by the Minister for Communications & Information Technology, Thiru A. Raja in the premises of the Department of Information Technology, the Electronic Niketan. Minister of State for Communications & IT,  Jyotiraditya M. Scindia was also present on the occasion. The CeG enhancement plan is a part of the “Awareness and Communication ” activity under NeGP and seeks to bring the achievements under NeGP under one umbrella for the information of citizens. The Centre will provide the visitor an opportunity to experience different e-services as well as digitally record his / her impressions of the CeG.

Raja informed that out of the projected outlay of Rs 20,175 Crore for the proposed 27 Mission Mode Projects (MMPs) under the National e-Governance Programme (NeGP), Rs 10,622 Crore has already been sanctioned for 16 MMPs.  Scindia announced that the Centre will provide easy access to visitors.

The Centre of e-Governance provides a  platform for wider dissemination of awareness regarding successful e-Governance initiatives in the country as well as the roadmap for implementation of e-Governance. CeG will also undertake hosting of important Seminars/ Conferences and other similar awareness programmes to reach out to the common man.

The CeG showcases applications, demonstrations and presentations that reflect the progress achieved in the implementation and usage of e-Governance. It covers successful and high impact e-Gov applications and content based on improved citizen service delivery, innovativeness, cost effectiveness and overall impact in fulfilling developmental objectives of the government. Also displayed are various social sector initiatives relating to health and education. Aesthetically designed with hi-tech display systems and visitor-friendly functionality with kiosks that offer demonstration of e-services to the cognoscenti as well as the curious citizen, the Ce-G represents the promise of making technology relevant to the ‘common man’.

State-of-the-Art display formats, Internet-enabled conference areas, arrangements for an extensive digital library, spruced-up video conferencing facilities as well as a conference hall are some of the impressive features. Bilingual messages and simple bench-type seating seeks to reassure the rural visitors when they view films on a large video wall.

Common citizens, students, policymakers, strategists, experts, and media persons from all over the world frequent the Centre for e-Governance to learn and to share experiences and insights on e-Governance. The redesigned and refurbished CeG is expected to gain the stature of a global reference point and will serve the twin purposes of educating and awareness building.

The Centre will promote and demonstrate e-Governance concepts, showcase the achievements and build a world-class repository and knowledge system for e-Governance. While advances in technology appear exciting, they become relevant to e-Governance only after they pass the test of mass applicability.

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