Andhra Pradesh turns towards eGovernance

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Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu is riding high on the e-governance highway. The state government is establishing the required framework and platforms through a public-private partnership (PPP) mode for stepping up e-governance or a participatory governance model in the state. Incidentally, Andhra Pradesh is the first state in the country to adopt the e-cabinet meeting recently.

Naidu’s e-governance roadmap is to take Gigabit connectivity to all villages and to make at least one person e-literate in every household. The state has chalked out plans for a simple, moral, accountable, responsive and transparent (SMART) government. And e-governance is one of the vehicles that could be used to reach the goal of SMART governance.

“A vigorous promotion of electronics and the IT industry, deployment of SMAC (social media, mobile, analytics and cloud) and focus on citizen-centric e-governance projects form the bedrock for the new state and can lead to a ‘second sunrise’,” says J Satyanarayana, advisor, e-government, electronics and IT. “The two powerful tools of e-government and e-governance will help the state government to realise its commitment of providing good governance,” he says.

The residual state of Andhra Pradesh, formed on June 2, 2014, has many challenges confronting it. Against the backdrop of the formation of a new state, it is facing challenges right from capital formation, reorganisation of all departments, creation of infrastructure for communication and information, mobilisation of revenue resources and many more. This involves functionalities of various governmental activities which had to start from the scratch. In order to keep pace with other developed states, the state government has defined its vision to its stakeholders through a policy framework on IT industry and e-governance and implement the same on a mission mode.

Going by the philosophy of ‘less contact government’, the state government’s e-governance initiatives aim to bring all citizen/business services electronically. Two important expected initiatives include Electronic Delivery of Services (EDS) Act and m-governance. The state government is awaiting clearance of the EDS Bill in the Parliament proposed by the Central government, where electronic delivery is mandated for time-bound delivery of public services. The Bill aims to mandate technology standards as a prerequisite for good governance.

Based on the principles suggested by government of India about m-governance framework, the Andhra Pradesh government is likely to adopt this model because of extensive penetration of mobile networks for e-services over the mobile. The framework facilitates development of mobile network infrastructure both for urban and rural population.

As chief minister Naidu puts it, “Designing an overall architecture for realising the vision of providing all G2C and G2B services through multiple channels is the e-government mission.’’ One such example is MeeSeva, an online, web-based, transparent and secure citizen-centric facility to provide convenient access to the citizens and rated as one of the best e-services initiative in the country. More than 20 citizen centric (G2C) services spanning 18 departments are already being delivered through the Mee Seva platform. A framework is already in place for e-services delivery. The state government is in the process of establishing a new state data centre to facilitate new technologies such as cloud and Big Data analytics.

The AP government is also working on a formula to take ‘fibre to the village’ and even ‘Beyond the fibre’ on a PPP mode. An approximate budget estimate of R1,000 crore has been earmarked, of which R500 crore is provided for revamping the service delivery infrastructure in villages, R200 crore to be tapped from the Central government for schemes such as data centre and fibre to villages.

In its efforts to transform AP into a silicon corridor, the chief minister has also approved a comprehensive blueprint “Re-Imagining Andhra Pradesh—role of e-Governance, Electronics and IT” for development of electronics and ICT industry in the state setting targets for the next five years. As per Naidu’s vision, AP has to be the top IT and electronics hub in India in terms of quality and quantity of e-services. The state aims to attract investments of R12,000 crore in IT and R30,000 crore in electronics manufacturing. Besides, AP is targeting a 5% share in national exports of software. Further, the state aims to create an additional direct IT employment of five lakh and four lakh jobs in the electronics sector.

The blue print has suggested information technology investment regions (ITIR) in Visakhapatnam and Tirupati and Anantapur, creation of 10 IT hubs, and setting up of electronic hardware park at Kakinada.

Some of the e-governance schemes include completion of Aadhaar-enabled social welfare programmes such as public distribution systems (ration cards), pension schemes, housing schemes, gas connections, etc. A state resident Data Hub (SRDH) will act as a core framework for Aadhaar-enabled welfare programmes administered by various departments.

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