The State of Uttar Pradesh is utilising eGovernance as an effective tool to achieve the goal of Good Governance, says G S Naveen Kumar, Special Secretary to Chief Minister and Department of IT & Electronics, Govt of Uttar Pradesh, in conversation with Nirav Soni of Elets News Network (ENN)
What ICT initiatives have been undertaken in Uttar Pradesh in recent times?
The UP Government has formulated several policies to give a boost to ICT developments in the State. We plan to use Information Technology as a vehicle for inclusive economic growth of Uttar Pradesh, so as to create a vibrant society with a high quality of life. The IT Policy of Uttar Pradesh released in 2012 and the Electronics Manufacturing Policy 2014 aim at reinforcing the position of the State as an attractive destination for the IT and Electronics firms of the world. These policies lead to creation of a more conducive business environment, so that IT and Electronics industries can survive and flourish in the state.
Uttar Pradesh is currently focusing on developing necessary infrastructure, development of human capital, proactive engagement with investors and effective policy implementation. The IT Policy 2012 is helping develop Lucknow and Agra as IT hubs under PPP arrangement. As per the policy, all IT companies establishing their units in the state would be given 100 percent exemption from stamp duty and 5 percent interest subsidy (not exceeding Rs 1 crore) for a period of five years. Availability of centres of excellence such as IIT, IIM, etc., makes Uttar Pradesh an ideal destination for setting up IT industry.
What steps has the government taken to push ESDM sector in the State?
The Electronics Manufacturing Policy 2014 aims to provide a robust growth platform for electronics manufacturing industry. Focus area of the State now is to develop electronics manufacturing clusters (EMC), thus encouraging Electronic System Design & Manufacturing (ESDM) industry in the state by providing the best of incentives ranging from land and interest subsidy, 100 percent stamp duty, VA T/CST reimbursement and above all, special consideration on case-to-case basis.
Start-up concept-based IT-Upavan has been established in the Shreetron India Ltd Campus, Sahibabad, Ghaziabad campus. Ghaziabad is part of the National Capital Region (NCR) where most of the IT/ITeS companies are based. Since large numbers of engineering colleges are based in NCR, development /growth of start-ups is more in this region than any other part of the country. Possibility of success of the start-ups in this region is maximum. A large number of fresh graduates will be easily available for these start-ups. Such talent shall be provided with conducive environment in the State through IT-Upavan, where they can build their future using the state-of-the-art facilities.
What are the major citizen-centric initiatives undertaken by your department for providing better eGovernance services?
The progress made by the Uttar Pradesh in various areas, be it education, health, housing, food, or infrastructure, bears testimony to the commitment of the government towards lifting the lot of the poorest of the poor. The government is now making pioneering efforts to improve the quality of governance through various eGovernance initiatives. We are utilising eGovernance as an effective tool to achieve the goal of Good Governance, and UP is a frontline State in the country for implementation of eGovernance projects.
Uttar Pradesh is a leading State in setting up core eGovernance infrastructure projects such as State Wide Area Network (SWAN), State Data Centre (SDC), Common Service Centre, State Portal as well as other projects such as e-District, e-Setu, e-Village etc., to provide smart governance to its citizens. The State is also taking various initiatives for digitally empowered UP in line with the ‘Digital India’ Programme with a vision to transform UP as well as India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. In order to realise the vision, we are focusing on various areas that include:
i. E lectronic Delivery of Citizen Centric Services through Common Service Centers as well as directly through Internet
ii. R obust e-Governance Infrastructure
iii. Government Process Reengineering
iv. Paperless Offices
v. Transparency and Accountability at Every Stage
vi. C apacity Building
To create such a system where there is no physical interface between citizens and government offices and all services are delivered at the doorsteps, 26 citizen-centric services of eight departments are being offered. Now, we have fixed a target to increase 90 more government services to be provided through Common Service Centres. To date, over 3.70 crore e-transactions have happened through e-District/State Portal. These services are being delivered through 14,500 Common Service Centres and 300 Lokvani centres.
Please throw more light on the e-District programme.
e-District project had been implemented as pilot in six districts in 2008 and is now being rolled out in the remaining 69 districts. Under the state-wide rollout, e-Governance cell/computer labs are being established in each district headquarters with 14 computers, each Tehsil with four computers, Blocks with three computers and departments concerned with two computers. Laptops are being provided to each SDM and Tehsildar for improving efficiency by complete automated system. District e-Governance Societies (DeGS) have been constituted in each district. Also, e-District Managers are being hired in all the districts. Project has gone live in 21 more districts.
As part of the Government Process Reengineering, the State has decided to accept Self Declaration Forms instead of affidavit, along with application form, for applying to government services of various departments. To provide the government services over the counter to the villagers, e-Village Scheme has been launched. Under this scheme, one village in each district of the State is being selected and this scheme is being implemented as pilot. Various services such as Income Certificate, Caste Certificate, Domicile Certificate etc., can be provided through Common Service Centers over the counter after implementation of this scheme.
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Every technology implementation has to be supported by appropriate skills. What are the steps taken by your department for skill development and capacity building?
For better implementation of e-Governance mission in the State and to fill the void in terms of knowledge and change management, the State IT & Electronics Department, in association with the State e-Governance Mission Team has taken various initiatives for capacity building. We have conducted several skill development sessions like STeP (Specialized Training Program of e-Governance) and workshops. State has fixed a target to build the IT capacities of 40,000 officials under e-District Statewide rollout. More than 19,000 officials have been trained in 34 districts out of the target of training of 20,038 officials, whereas 19,320 officials are to be trained in rest of the 34 districts by 31st March 2015. Apart from this, various e-Governance awareness workshops and training programmes were organised in the State during 2013-14.
A government official is now expected to have a minimum level of defined proficiency which includes Word processing, e-mail, data entry, MS Office and Access, etc. During my tenure in Banda District as District Magistrate, I initiated a Project named e-Setu. Main objective was to run literacy drive among the several staff members and volunteers of various departments. The e-Setu project is serving as a bridge between the government employees and modern technology.
Also Read: UTTAR PRADESH — A Pro Industry State
How far your department is prepared to tackle various cyber threats?
The IT & Electronics Department takes security of its infrastructure very seriously, and in line with industry best practices. SWAN deployment takes place both vertically and horizontally. It connects the State Headquarters PoP with the PoPs at district headquarters, which in turn are connected and Cyber Security controls are maintained by firewall, Intrusion Detection and Protection System, Antivirus protection, TACA S Software for AAA functionality, log monitoring and network penetration testing. All the applications which are presently hosted in state data centre are security audited in line with STQC/CERT standards. Apart from these, the IT & Electronics Department is in process of procurement of Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) which provides real-time analysis of security alerts generated by network, hardware and applications.