Minister for IT, Government of Madhya Pradesh (He also holds position of Minister for Commerce & Industries, Employment, Science and Technology, Public Undertakings, Horticulture & Food Processing, Rural Industries)
“One of the prime reason for digital divide is the non-availability of computers and the absence or poor quality of bandwidth in the rural areas. Things are changing slowly but the change is slow and excruciating. “
“In the Government to Citizen (G2C) space one of the major initiatives has been MP Online. This one project has changed the way government interacts with the citizen. With a bouquet of over 75 services this is a one stop shop for all that the citizen needs from the government. The portal will soon have services that are available through the counters of the districts. A suite of 44 services including certificates, licenses and social benefit schemes will be available through the portal.”
Please tell us about your State’s IT vision and plan.
The focus of the state is to provide citizen centric services to the citizen; ‘citizen in-line’ to ‘citizen online’ has been the pivot on which our strategy revolves. We understand that investment in the field of Information Technology (IT) has resulted not only in employment generation but also a spurt in the economic activity of many states. Our vision is to bring in this investment so that we are able to provide job opportunities to the youth of the state. We made our IT policy in the year 2006 and it has seen amendments so as to suite the requirement of the industry.
What have been some of the major e-Governance (G2C, G2B, G2G) initiatives of your state?
In the Government to Citizen (G2C) space one of the major initiatives has been MP Online. This one project has changed the way government interacts with the citizen. With a bouquet of over 75 services this is a one stop shop for all that the citizen needs from the government. The portal will soon have services that are available through the counters of the districts. A suite of 44 services including certificates, licenses and social benefit schemes will be available through the portal.
We are almost through with making available the land records through the portal with electronically signed certificates. We have a call center that can be accessed through the toll free number 155343; this facility has become very popular and promotes inclusion.
As far as Government to Business (G2B ) initiative is concerned we will soon have an investment promotion portal that will facilitate the businesses to interact with the government, online.
On the Government to Government (G2G ) front, the recent education portal has digitised records of all the employees of the education department, this covers almost 60% of the employee population. The rest are being taken by the Treasuries Department.
What are the expected IT initiatives in the next three years? What is your USP to project your state as an investment destination for IT?
The IT initiatives in the pipeline are the State Data Center (SDC); we are making the building in the greenfield side with a new building tailor made for the purpose. The State Service Delivery Gateway (SSDG) and portal is another initiative that we intend to complete in the next financial year. The Treasury, Food and Civil Supplies have also floated their Request for Proposal (RFP). The Women and Child Development Department will also float the RFP soon.
What is your plan to bridge the digital divide in your state? What are some of the challenges in achieving this and how would they be overcome?
One of the prime reason for digital divide is the non-availability of computers and the absence or poor quality of bandwidth in the rural areas. Things are changing slowly but the change is slow and excruciating. We need to provide quality computer labs particularly in the rural schools and train the teachers to impart computer skills to the rural students. The Common Services Center (CSCs) will to an extent fulfill the gap in terms of making the delivery front end being available to the rural population but we need to ensure that the scheme remains financially viable and adequate G2C services are available.
What kind of support do you expect from the Centre for these activities?
The Center must increase allocation to the states in schemes such as ICT@School. The present allocation results in providing only 10 computers to the schools. This makes the PC to pupil population four students to one computer. Moreover lower allocation restricts the scheme to hardware procurement.
Where do you see your State in 10 years from now?
10 years from now the state should increase the software exports from the current measly INR 500 Crores to at least INR 20,000 Crores with majority of the IT majors having investment in the State. The government schools will have state of the art labs and IT would be contributing significantly to the economy of the state.