On the lines of the Government of India’s vision to build smart cities, the State of Jammu & Kashmir has also decided to convert four of its cities—Jammu, Srinagar, Katra and Anantnag—into smart cities, shares, Dr Nirmal Kumar Singh, Deputy Chief Minister of the State, in an exclusive interview with Dr Ravi Gupta, Editor-in-Chief of eGov magazine, and Souvik Goswami of Elets News Network (ENN)
What is your vision for implementing IT for the benefit of citizens in the State of Jammu & Kashmir?
A new era has been heralded in the State of Jammu & Kashmir. Although I am not saying that nothing has been done in the past, right now, the State is passing through a transitional phase. Looking at the future prospects, in my opinion, we should adopt more and more eGovernance means to provide services to the citizens. The present government will focus more on eGovernance .
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has put forth the vision of ‘Digital India’. Various states have started implementing projects for the same?
It is very much there in our mind. I am going to request Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and state IT Minister soon for a meeting to discuss these issues at length. The Chief Minister has also got his vision for the betterment of the State.
How will you bring IT companies to the State, which can lead to employment generation for the youth?
The idea of generating employment through IT companies is something that the presentgeneration prefers. It is also the necessity of the time. It can improve State’s performance and will help in employment generation in a big way. We will consider all these aspects and try to get in big investments in the field of IT here.
It is being often said that the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) can ensure better delivery of government services to the citizens. How does the State plan to go about it?
Although I am not an expert in this field, I can give you a general opinion on this. As someone holding a responsible position in the government, I can say that we will focus more on use of ICT in government departments and ensure delivery of services through eGovernance. We will soon initiate all necessary steps to ensure an effective eGovernance mechanism.
On the other hand, on the lines of the Government of India’s vision to build smart cities, we have also decided to convert four of our cities into smart cities. These are Jammu, Srinagar, Katra and Anantnag. IT is definitely going to play a major role in these cities. At present, it’s in a conceptual stage. We have just come in the government. It will take some time to give it a concrete shape. We are thinking on all aspects and will try to do as much as we can. This will also help us translate the idea of using more and more IT into our day-to-day life.
A number of states are implementing IT in a big way as well as focusing on creating smart cities. Do you have any plan to follow the best practices of other states in these fields?
We will definitely try to follow other states’ best practices. Wherever we get knowledge, we will approach them. And why just other states, we are open to visiting other countries even to learn from them.
A new era has been heralded in the State of Jammu & Kashmir. Although I am not saying that nothing has been done in the past, right now, the State is passing through a transitional phase
What is your vision for Jammu & Kashmir as the Deputy Chief Minister of the State?
Jammu & Kashmir has entered a new phase and the formation of the new government is a turning point in its history. This State has only seen talks on politics, militancy and separatism in the last 67 years, but now the time has come when we must get rid of regional divides. The incumbent government has a vision for that and the Chief Minister has got his plans for the development of the State. Apart from this, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also solidly behind us. Corruption, mis-governance, etc., have been the issues in this State. We will work hard to overcome these challenges and we will do anything and everything to lift the State at par with the other states of the country.