e-Governance is taking root in Odisha

Madhusudan Padhi
Department of IT
Government of Odisha

“We are also aiming to encourage at least ten top companies in IT/ITES and five top companies in ESDM sectors to set up their development or production centres in the state so that they not only bring the investment but also create employment opportunities,” says Madhusudan Padhi. In conversation with Nayana Singh and Kartik Sharma

Please tell us with an overview of the vision of the Department of IT in the state for promoting IT industry?
The new ICT policy’2014 has just been approved by the cabinet and we are now notifying it. During the second e-Odisha summit it will be launched formally by the chief minister. The vision of ICT policy is to develop IT/ITES/ESDM industries for inclusive growth and employment in the state of Odisha and leverage IT & ITES in governance to transform the state to a knowledge driven welfare society for improving the daily life of citizens. One of the targets of the policy is to achieve a gross ICT Revenue (including exports of software and IT Services, ESDM, Domestic consumption and Training) of USD 4 Billion (Rs. 24, 000 Crores) by 2020.
We are also aiming to encourage at least ten top companies in IT/ITES and five top companies in ESDM sectors to set up their development or production centres in the state so that they not only bring the investment but also create employment opportunities. We are also aiming to support the local industries in the field of IT/ITES/ESDM, so that their capacities can grow to a much larger extent. Apart from that we also have a special programme for skill development, R&D and entrepreneurship.

Please tell us about the role that the IT department is playing in promoting e-Governance across various departments?
Every department of Government of Odisha is now keen to develop e-Governance initiatives for bringing their services closer to the citizens. The biggest e-Governance project to roll out in the current year is the e-district project which has been rolled out from two pilot districts to 30 districts now. I consider this to be a good achievement as it is enabling people to access six crucial certificates through the online systems. Now we are planning to add more services in the e-district project. Certified copy of documents, Pension sanction process under social security schemes would be added in few weeks.

How important is the role of Private sector in PPP model in the development of state in terms of IT?
Some of the e-Governance projects (like e-Registration) in the State are being executed through PPP model. We have been working with some private partners for creation of better e-Governance systems and overall our experience so far has been good. Now that the State Government is moving fast for quick implementation of e-Governance projects, we need to develop standard protocols for collaborating with Private Partners. The SLAs have to be prepared carefully so that we can provide best possible services to citizens at minimum costs.

“Every department is 
now keen to develop e-Governance initiatives for bringing their services closer to the citizens”

Please tell us about the work that you are doing for bringing efficiency in the education space?
In the area of having IT in education, lot of new initiatives have been taken by education department in the state. We have set up smart classrooms in few colleges and high schools. A big project costing over Rs. 600 crores for setting up smart classrooms is being implemented in the PPP mode where IL&FS is the private partner. TCIL is also involved in this initiative. Odisha Knowledge Corporation Limited (OKCL), which has been promoted by the Higher Education Department, is implementing the project.
Some other projects have been launched for furthering the scope and reach of education through the use of ICT. Through the Child Tracking System of Sarva Sikhya Abhiyan in the State, the Government is able to track the education of each and every child right from the age of 6-14. It has helped in tracking children who are not going to the school and hence bring them to the mainstream education through appropriate bridge courses.

What is your view on ICT in healthcare sector in Odisha?
In healthcare sector, several e-Governance projects are already operational. At present, the Health Department is planning to implement the Hospital Management Information System (HMIS) project on pilot basis in one Medical college & in one District Headquarter hospital. This project will link several of the existing e-Gov initiatives to get an integrated view. The Department is also going to implement two new e-Gov projects on birth & death certificate and Disability certificates. These applications would be end to end so that the applicants would be able to generate their certificates online and they can also access their benefits through the online mode.

Today the government departments are providing services to large number of people. There is a large data to manage. Please tell us about the technologies that are being used to manage the huge avalanche of data?
Big data is the technology of future, but many of the transactions today are not happening electronically. Many of the transactions are still happening manually, even though the Right to public services Act was implemented with effect from 1st of January 2013. Even though 63 services have been notified under the Act, only six services under e-district are actually online. There is a need to make all the notified services transaction based on the web so that they are available online so as to ensure service to citizens.
So our aim is to see that all the notified services are made available online over a period of time. We are working with the departments to ensure that all the essential services go online. Another area is the functioning of the State Resident Data Hub where we will store the Aadhaar based information on demography and photograph. Big data technology would be useful when a large number of transactions happen online. To utilise and harness the benefits of Cloud, the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeiTY) of Government of India has embarked upon an ambitious programme – ‘GI Cloud’, also coined as ‘MeghRaj’. In order to drive this initiative, a Task Force was constituted by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) with the objective to bring out the strategic direction and implementation roadmap of GI Cloud leveraging the existing or new infrastructure. The architectural vision of GI Cloud centres on a set of discrete cloud computing environments spread across multiple locations, built on existing or new (augmented) infrastructure, following a set of common protocols, guidelines and standards issued by the Government of India. The GI Cloud will be equipped to provide cloud services for various applications.