The growth rate in ICT sector during 2011-12 was about 17% over last year and this growth rate has been hovering between 14-17% for the last 7 years. Madhusudan Padhi, Commissioner cum Secretary, Department of IT, Government of Odisha speaks to egov in a candid interview
Before leading the IT department, you have been associated with many technologyrelated interventions in the state for the past several years. How would you rate your state’s progress towards an e-Ready state?
Odisha’s progress towards an e-Ready state will get a boost with new technologies & new concepts coming in. The broadband network is improving and more people are getting connected to internet, Similarly the mobile network has covered about 85% of the State with a large section of the population having access to it.
At present we have several applications operating in silos; we hope to integrate them by tagging them to a common denominator, either to NPR (National Population Registry) or UID. For example, the ration card database would get connected to electricity consumer database, NREGA beneficiaries bank accounts , driving license, etc.
As far as infrastructure is concerned, the State Data Centre( SDC), the Odisha State Wide Network (OSWAN) are already operational . Now we are going for horizontal expansion of OSWAN where we will be connecting offices at the cutting edge like tehsils, sub-registrar offices, hospitals, municipalities, police stations apart from the blocks. This will enable us to have all online transactions at these offices routed through OSWAN. We are going to all Gram Panchayats with optical fiber through NOFN in about two years time.
What are the steps being taken for a better user experience (e.g. localisation, etc.) in CSC program? The e-District Project could also lead to lot of benefits flowing down directly to the people in the rural areas. Please provide us with details of the project situation.
e-District project is being piloted in two districts in our State- Ganjam and Mayurbhanj. As far as e-Districts project implementation is concerned , we are slightly different from other states. While the e-District application is available till taluks/tehsils across the country, we have used the state fund to provide laptops to all revenue inspectors. As a result, we are able to provide services to citizens at the CSC level. S/he does not have to travel to taluk / tehsil in order to get services like various certificates, required for education, scholarship, bank loan etc. This model of e-District is going to be rolled out in remaining 28 districts over next twelve months. We are getting ready to add
four more services to the existing seven by end of March’2013. Fifteen additional services will be added in the e District rollout. As more G2C services would be available, CSCs would become vibrant and active. We are planning to relocate the CSCs to the Gram Panchayat offices which is frequented by citizens on regular manner. Our objective is to reduce the citizen interface with the Government offices/ functionaries as far as possible and to provide services to the citizen in a seamless manner.
What was the growth rate the ICT sector experienced in 2011- 12? What role have external investors played in developing the sector? What vision and business opportunities are available for the private sector in your state?
The growth rate of ICT sector during 2011-12 was about 17% . The growth rate has been hovering between 14-17% for the last 7 years despite the global slowdown in last four years. The export in IT/ITES sector was Rs. 1611 crores from about 50 units registered with STPI and located in the SEZs. External investment units play a big role in this growth rate because most of the export earning comes from the big players like Infosys, Satyam & TCS.
Regarding the availability of opportunities in the IT/ITES sector, the ICT Policy of 2004 has played a pro active role . However, now we are revisiting the same and drafting a new policy in consultation with NASSCOM, local industry players and other stakeholders . We are going for a composite ICT policy covering both the IT/ITES sector and the ESDM (Electronic System and Design Manufacturing) sector. We are earmarking land in the upcoming Information Valley located in the outskirts of Bhubaneswar
for the ESDM units.
What are the evaluation and monitoring techniques you are adopting to monitor the progress and to assess whether the proposed benefits are
being delivered to the citizens? What are the sustainability impediments?
Recently the State has enacted the Right to Public Services Delivery Act 2012 which has become operational from 1 January 2013 with 34 notified services. The Act assigns the responsibility of providing services to the citizens within stipulated time period. This will give us a big impetus for e-Governance as citizen centric services can be effectively provided with intervention of IT along with proper monitoring .More and more departments are now working towards integrating IT in their workflow so as to provide services efficiently .
Regarding the sustainability impediments for proving e services, we face challenges such as connectivity, especially in rural areas. Electricity is another one. With the Rajiv Gandhi Gramin Vidyutikaran Yojna (RGGVY) , most of the un electrified villages are getting electrified.
What strategy has your department set to increase internet and broadband penetration?
With about half dozen mobile companies in the State, most of the locations are connected with GSM network. This is facilitating internet connectivity by use of data cards/dongle. With NOFN to all 6236 Gram panchayats a strong possibility by end of 2014, we hope that online services will catch the imagination of our rural masses in near future as internet will become reliable and fast. Departments are developing mobile applications for data collection and information dissemination to take benefit of
huge mobile penetration.
The ICT Policy in the state is undergoing revision. What visionary changes are expected with that?
The new ICT policy will focus on targets with respect to revenue generation, employment, training , R&D etc. within specific timelines . To achieve the targets, the policy will provide incentives for investors both from within & outside the country. It will also incentivize the local industries by providing some kind of preferential market access. The incentives will be designed in such a manner that their implementation becomes easy and transparent.
Moving up the value chain, what is going to be your main focus for the next few years?
Focus will be to integrate governance in days to come by integrating databases available in silos to make it transparent and targeted. We would strive to have seamless transfer of data between departments so as to make the life of citizens easy and simpler. With this vision, we would be able to improve the governance and make a difference
to the common man.