A spate of bold economic reforms has been announced by the government at the centre. The diesel subsidy has been cut and retail and aviation sector have been opened to FDI (Foreign Direct Investment). However, to my mind the most important reform measure initiated by Central Government has to do with the way the subsidies and benefits are transferred to the public.
The Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, has taken charge of the government’s initiative to directly transfer welfare benefits and subsidies directly into beneficiary bank accounts. A statement released by the PMO has stated that the there is going to be a move from the present paper-based, cash-driven system to an electronic direct transfer system. There is no doubt that this direct transfer system will plug the rampant leakages of funds earmarked for the poor via schemes such as NREGA and others. This major e-Governance initiative needs to be hailed. Once this system of direct transfers is fully implemented, it will bring great benefits to the common citizens. The industry will also gain by this exercise, not only due to the fact that there will be more transparency, but also because ICTs will be deployed on a large scale to facilitate such transfers to millions of beneficiary accounts through the online networks.
The current issue of the eGov magazine is the Annual Resource Guide. This is the issue in which we take account of the major developments that are happening in the e-Governance space. We have featured the profiles of a range of rganisations that are into development of various ICT solutions, and are playing a seminal role in the evolution of better systems of governance. We also take an in-depth look at the important role that government organisations like NIC, UIDAI, NICSI and others are playing. With the aim of presenting a comprehensive picture of e-Governance in the country, we have interacted with the IT secretaries in states like Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Nagaland and West Bengal. From them, we learn about the development of the Common Service Centres, which have sprouted in all parts of the country within a short period of time and are now engaged in providing important services to people in small towns and rural areas.
An important aspect of this issue is the exclusive interview with the Chief Minister of Delhi, Sheila Dikshit. Among other things, the Chief Minister has highlighted the overall Governance and e-Governance initatives that are being pursued by the Delhi Government.
Let me also invite you that the eighth edition of eINDIA, India’s most prestigious ICT event, which is scheduled for 15th and 16th November 2012 in Hyderabad. One of the key attractions of the event will be the eINDIA Governance Summit; this is where all the leading stakeholders in governance space will gather to discuss the benefits that ICT can bring to the governance structure for emerging India. We have conceived the Annual Resource Guide in such a way that it can serve as a window into the soul of the prestigious eINDIA 2012. We hope to see you at the event.