Mizoram has undertaken various projects to bring about economic growth and sustainable development in the State through adoption of ICT tools, says C Lalhmachhuana, Secretary – Information Technology, Mizoram, in an interview with Gautam Debroy of Elets News Network (ENN)
What is the latest IT initiative in Mizoram?
We are trying to take up a project funded by the World Bank. It is worth about $10 billion and the WB has already agreed to it. We have already framed the Right to Public Service (RTPS) rules to implement the WB-aided project.
The IT Department of Mizoram has undertaken various projects since its inception to materialise the objective and vision set forth by the Government of Mizoram to bring about economic growth and sustainable development in the State through adoption of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools. The Department of ICT has been established as a separate Directorate from October 2008 for framing policy, planning, implementation and monitoring of Information & Communication Technologies and eGovernance projects.
What is the vision of IT Department of Mizoram?
The Government of Mizoram envisions making Mizoram the most IT-literate State in the country and a global center of excellence in IT Education and Training, Research and Development and Outsourcing Business. This vision will translate into a mission for creation of wealth, IT-led economic growth and employment generation. The State Government is committed to build citizencentric services and providing services for the welfare and development of the society.
The Department of Information and Communication Technology was established in the year 2008 for framing policies, planning, implementation and monitoring of ICT and eGovernance projects. The Department has a vision to use ICT to make available information and government services related to the basic needs of common people accessible to them near their locality throughout their lives through minimum procedural formalities, thereby pursuing economic development.
How did you implement NeGP projects in Mizoram?
Under the National e-Governance Plan, it was intended to bring a number of services online. We have adopted projects like eDistrict, Mizoram State Data Centre, Mizoram State Area Wide Network (MSAWN) and State Service Delivery Gateway.
Most of these services are provided at the district level and they serve as the primary interface between citizens and the government. The objective is to computerise the backend workflows at the district level with appropriate Business Process Reengineering (BPR), so as to reduce the work load at the district level, ensure fast processing of cases/grievances and enable better monitoring of various government schemes.
It was also envisaged to enable efficient delivery of government services and to proactively provide a system of spreading information on the government schemes, planned developmental activities and status of current activities.
The Government of India has funded 14 states for implementing the eDistrict pilot project as the State Mission Mode Project (MMPs) under NeGP, and Mizoram is one State selected among two North-Eastern states.
Several places in Mizoram are very remotely located. How do you plan to reach out to these areas?
There are several areas in our State where there is no connectivity. But of late, with the Bharat- Net project, which has been initiated by the Government of India, we believe each and every corner of the State will get connected soon.
With BharatNet people could avail the broadband facility even with mobile, wifi, cable connection, etc. And I feel, in Mizoram, cable TV operators would play a major role in implementing BharatNet project.
The Government of India has funded 14 states for implementing the eDistrict pilot project as a State Mission Mode Project (MMPs) under NeGP, and Mizoram is one State selected among two North-Eastern states
How will you implement BharatNet?
Ironically, it’s only in Aizawl that we have proper optical fibre network connectivity of Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL). Other districts, which are connected with optical fibre, it is not reliable. Solution is very much required for Mizoram. In this backdrop, BSNL has proposed to the Mizoram Government for Optical Ground Wire (OPGW) connectivity up to the district headquarters.
We have accepted the proposal and we will sign the agreement very soon. This would be funded by the Depart of Communications (DoT).
Optical Ground Wire is a dual functioning cable. It is designed to replace the traditional static, shield and earth wires on overhead transmission lines with the added benefit of containing optical fibres, which can be used for telecommunication purposes. OPGW is capable of withstanding the mechanical stresses applied to overhead cables by environmental factors, such as wind and ice.
This is for providing connectivity only up to the district headquarters level; for connectivity up to block headquarters, we have come to an understanding with RailTel.
What problems do you face while implementing IT projects in the State?
The main problem is capacity building and lack of awareness. Everybody can provide software, but there must be a will as well as awareness for its implementation. Citizens of the State must get the benefits of IT projects.
Then, we also face financial constraints. And, as the NeGP has been delinked from the Centre, we don’t know what to do!