‘Smart Cities Get More for Less’: Anthony J C Desa

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Anthony J C Desa, Chief Secretary, Government of Madhya Pradesh

The State Government has been making sincere efforts to educate the people of rural areas using technology to ensure better growth and employment prospects for them, says Anthony J C Desa, Chief Secretary, Government of Madhya Pradesh, in an interaction with Manish Arora of Elets News Network (ENN)

How would you define a Smart City?

A Smart City would be a city providing public services to its citizens with the highest possible level of efficiency at the lowest possible cost in the most convenient manner.

What IT-based steps have been taken in Madhya Pradesh to deliver better public services?

Madhya Pradesh is one of the leading states as far as adoption of Information Technology and eGovernance is concerned. We have introduced an online system of transferring scholarship and pension straight into the account of beneficiaries. Under this system, scholarship to the students of various categories, pension to the senior citizens and disabled, and subsidy under different government schemes are credited in the bank account of the persons concerned.

The procurement of wheat, rice and maize is being done through an online system of registration, sale and payment. All kinds of tenders in the State, by all construction agencies and work department, are floated through electronic tendering process.

Tell us something about the process of e-tendering started by MP Government.

Unlike most of the states, our all mining and excise-related auctions are being conducted through e-Auction system. We have also started a major drive for issuance of caste certificates for SC/ST and OBCs, and keep online record of all these. That way, this becomes a permanent record with lifetime validity and can be downloaded anytime, anywhere using the digital signature.

The Government of India defines an online transaction as the one in which application for services is made online, requests are processed by the Government online and the services are provided online. With such a mega infrastructure for online public service transactions, Madhya Pradesh can lead among most of the states of the country.

What all areas does eShakti programme cover?

We started a major digital education programme called eShakti for imparting training to the women in remote areas, Aanganwadi workers and Asha Health workers, who can obtain relevant information by accessing internet. This would help them in their profession and deliver services more efficiently. We have also been able to achieve a great leap in digital literacy in rural areas.

How do the State’s best practices help young graduates of rural areas get employment?

The policies of MP Government are quite apt for setting up BPOs in rural areas, where unemployed graduates can easily find jobs. Our endeavour in this direction has been very successful so far.

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