Information Technology is having enormous influence on the lives of the people. It has revolutionised the nature of human interaction and has become a prime tool of effective governance. Information Technology is now close to becoming the most important driver for government services
Saima Shafi Mir, Project Manager, Jammu & Kashmir e-Governance Agency, Information Technology Department, Government of Jammu & Kashmir
Imran Sufi, Project Manager Jammu & Kashmir e-Governance Agency, Information Technology Department, Government of Jammu & Kashmir
The Jammu and Kashmir e-Governance Agency (JaKeGA) was formed under the Information Technology Department in J&K to function as an intrinsic arm of the government with a mandate to drive e-Governance in the State. The primary objective of the JaKeGA is to design, deliver and administer e-governance projects by providing necessary administrative, financial, legal and technical framework in the state. JaKeGA also facilitates the establishment of e-service centres throughout the state through suitable publicprivate partnerships to ensure that the public gets the desired information and e-services at their doorsteps.
e-Governance is a way of taking governance to such a high level that people can access all kinds of government services from the comfort of their home. The time is now for a major launch of e-Governance initiatives in J&K. This is because, the people in the state, especially the youth, who are the major proportion in the state are very tech savvy. They use the internet like any other commodity of daily use. It is the mandate of JaKeGA to do all it can for creating an environment that is conducive for e-Governance implementations.
Vision of Digital Governance
The employees of JaKeGA are motivated by the vision of bringing ease to the life of common citizens. We recognise the fact that through the effective use of ICT, we can make governance easy, cost effective, and save lot of tax payer’s money. The people in J&K are politically aware; they like to keep a close eye on the way in which they are being governed.
e-Governance will bring more transparency and people will feel more empowered. When effective e-Governance is there, lot of misconceptions that people have about ministers and officials will get removed.
Under the dynamic leadership of Shri Bipul Pathak, Commissioner/ Secretary, Science & Technology and Information Technology Department, Government of Jammu & Kashmir, all the employees of JaKeGA hope to create many new e-Governance services for the good of the people.
The government of India has initiated the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) for achieving the vision of e-Governance in the country. The NeGP aims to make all Government Services accessible to common man in his locality, through common service delivery outlets. This will ensure efficiency, transparency and reliability. The basic needs of the common man can be met in more affordable manner. NeGP also provides support to the e-Governance initiatives being taken up by the Central and State Government Departments (including Local Bodies).
NeGP is an ambitious programme of the Government of India aimed at improving the quality, accessibility and effectiveness of government services to citizens and businesses with the help of Information and Communication Technology. It is a national level initiative which proposes rapid deployment and scale-up of select “Mission mode Projects”, creation of national IT backbone for fast, reliable & efficient connectivity, data storage & access and Common Service Centres for delivery of citizen services, creation of Internet portals for 24×7 access to government information and services.
Building New Infrastructure
J&K has taken a leap into the digital governance with the establishment of the State DataCentre. Jammu & Kashmir State Data Centre (SDC) was inaugurated in April by Hon’ble Minister of State, Information Technology Department Shri Feroz Ahmad Khan. The centre has been setup by the Information Technology Department under National e-Governance plan (NeGP). The data centre has been developed as a reliable and secure infrastructure for hosting and managing e-Governance applications for the different departments and deliver services quickly and effectively.
State Data Centre (SDC) is one of the important elements of the core infrastructure for supporting e- Governance initiatives in the J&K state. SDC will provide many facilities like central repository of the state, secure Data Storage, Disaster Recovery. The most important data set of National Population Register (NPR) will also be stored by the Information Technology Department in this data centre. State Data centre is equipped with SAN storage, Blade servers, offering dynamic scalability as their demand grows including security related requirements and uptime of the highest order.
Common Service Centres
The Common Service Centres (CSC) are the front-end of e-Governance plan as these centres are the access points for citizens to e-Governance services. Under this scheme, over 1109 CSCs are being rolled out, and spread across all the villages of the State. The location of the CSCs has been strategically planned and spread in such a manner that each village will either have a CSC within it or close to it. Usually one CSC is there to service a cluster of 6 villages.
The CSC scheme is to be implemented in a PPP framework. The J&K Bank is the agency in J&K that has been entrusted with the task of rolling out the CSCs. The target was to rollout 1109, out of these 801 CSCs have already been rolled out. Given our difficult terrain, dispersed population and difficult political-socio conditions, the rolling out of 75 percent of the CSCs is also a great achievement. The village level Entrepreneur- the CSC operator is the touch point for a common man.
In order to successfully roll out e-Governance projects, it is essential to meet the demands for connectivity. As part of the e-Governance plan, the State Wide Area Network (SWAN) has been envisaged as the converged backbone network for providing data, voice and video communication throughout the state and is expected to cater to the information communication requirements of all the departments.
With the development of SDC, the creation of SWAN for connectivity, and the proliferation of CSCs, the future of e-Governance can only be bright in the state.