Transformation is in air, again

India has changed much since Independence, but in the last decade or so, it has also transformed a bit.

Change and transformation are loosely used as synonyms, though in reality, they are worlds apart. Change is a routine and in that sense, it’s a constant. Transformation is a one-time phenomenon and in fact, even changes the course of a routine.

Every year, the season changes, but that doesn’t bring about any transformation in the earth’s troposphere. Periodically, general elections bring changes in the government but that doesn’t transform a nation. Yet, a well considered change can trigger a transformation. In governance, policy-level changes have sometimes led to transformations.

The transformation of the telecom landscape in the country is a case in point. It was triggered by the formulations of National Telecom Policies of 1994 and of 1999, a key objective of the policies being to “facilitate affordable and effective telecommunication for all.”

Once again,India is on the verge of a transformation this time in the space of e-Governance.The National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) is in place and so are the other important aspects.

It is significant that Sam Pitroda, who is credited to have architected the telecom revolution in the country while serving as technology Advisor to India’s PM in the 1980s, is back at it again. This time, he is Advisor to PM on Public Information Infrastructure & Innovations. One of the two key tasks at his hand is to drive creation of an information infrastructure for delivery of services to citizens. This will serve as a fundamental building block of e-Governance in India.

He will also be charting a roadmap for a “Decade of Innovation” in India. He, however, talks of a new brand of ‘innovation’ that focuses on the organisation and the system, rather than focusing on materials and technologies. From an e-Governance perspective too, “innovation in system” is critical to bring about a transformation.

e-Governance is getting another transformation block in the form of Unique ID project, headed by Nandan Nilekani of Infosys fame. The project has rightly been renamed as Aadhar, which means foundation.

Hopefully, when the e-Governance stakeholders meet and brainstorm at the e-India2010 event in Hyderabad on Aug 4, the process of transformation will be accelerated.