Uttar Pradesh has emerged as one of the best performing States, be it in terms of Electronics Manufacturing Clusters or attracting investments to the IT/ITeS sector or setting up IT cities, says Rajendra Kumar Tiwari, Principal Secretary, Information Technology & Electronics, Government of Uttar Pradesh, in conversation with Arpit Gupta of Elets News Network (ENN)
How is Uttar Pradesh Government encouraging IT & Electronics industry?
Uttar Pradesh is doing exceptionally well towards promotion of IT & Electronics industry in the State, and has introduced one of the best policies – UP IT & Start-UP Policy 2016, which focuses on provision of e-Services to be made available to the public through Internet. Hon’ble Chief Minister Shri Akhilesh Yadav has given very high priority to use of IT in governance and in providing public services. When this government came to power in 2012, it came up with an IT policy followed by a very investor-friendly Electronics Manufacturing Policy 2014. These policies have created a very conducive environment in the State for encouraging setting up of IT and Electronics industry.
In fact, UP has emerged as one of the best performing States, be it Electronic Manufacturing Clusters (EMC) or attracting investments for setting up Electronics industry or an IT city. We have set up five IT Parks and done a lot of work in capacity building and training. Above all, the government took up the unique initiative of bridging the district divide by distributing over laptops to the youth in the State. Such measures have put UP at the centre of the IT and Electronics industry.
What are UP Government’s incentives to attract investment to the State?
The government has taken many steps to ensure a very high degree of ease of doing business here. The approach has been that investors and entrepreneurs are our partners in serving the interests of the State and public at large. Therefore, one would find that apart from IT & Electronics sector, in all other sectors — be it raising the Metro infrastructure here, increasing capacity of power generation or commissioning the Greenfield Expressways or providing ambulances, the approach has been that decision must be taken very fast and government clearances and approvals should be done in a time-bound manner. So, that’s what is giving a major push to the Government’s agenda of development in the State.
The UP Government has envisaged a Mega Call Centre with 300 seating capacity in the state capital to get independent feedback from beneficiaries and other stakeholders related to various citizen-centric schemes of the State
How is the Government ensuring better service delivery to improve the quality of life of the citizens?
Whatever schemes have been drafted, they are for public relief, with IT playing a key role in it. For the youth, the Government has been working on the IT & Electronics industry, other industries and skill development in a big way. In the IT Department, we have tried to impart skills to the youth by tying up with the private industries also to prepare them with the skillsets required in the job market.
We have already signed agreements with HP, HCL and many other companies, which are imparting skill training to the youth. Last year, we provided skill training to over four lakh youth. This year we aim much bigger number. All the schemes are aimed at providing a better life to the citizens.
Recently, we started a major initiative to provide all government services online on one platform. We have e-District platform, under which all government services can be availed by the people. They can also avail quite a few services on their mobile phones. Our data centre has all the data required for this at the backend and this is being also made accessible to citizens.
IT PARKS IN TIER-II AND TIER-III CITES
Rudrabhishek Enterprises Pvt Ltd (REPL) is aWith Noida/Greater Noida leading the IT/ITeS industry in the State, now the State Government is actively targeting Tier-II and Tier-III cities to convert them into IT hubs, so that these cities could also be integrated in the main development stream. IT Parks in Agra and Meerut have been approved and the construction will start by STPI shortly. The Government has identified 3-5 acres of land for establishing IT Parks in cities like Meerut, Kanpur, Agra and Gorakhpur.
IT CITY/SEZ LUCKNOW
The 100acre IT City/SEZ, Lucknow project is being developed by HCL Group selected through a competitive bidding process, which envisages initial investment of approximately Rs. 1,500 crore. It will generate 25,000 direct employment opportunities and an estimated 50,000 indirect. The IT City will also have a state-of-the-art Skill Development Centre churning out 5,000 students, annually. The State Government will provide grant-in-aid up to a maximum of Rs. 5,000 to every student of the State.
What are the major challenges in imparting digital literacy to the people?
The primary concern is connectivity. Unless the broadband is available up to the village level, full benefits of IT cannot reach people. The Government of India can help us in this regard. We are waiting for all the villages to get connected through broadband and optical fibre cable at the earliest. The other challenge is of integration. We are trying hard to integrate all services on one platform. We are trying to provide e-Sign facility, which is easy to avail and is cost-effective, at the same time, so that even an illiterate citizen of the State can benefit from it.
Unless the broadband is available up to village level, full benefits of IT cannot reach people. The Government of India can help us in this regard
What steps are underway to implement eGovernance and mGovernance in various departments of the State?
Any plans in pipeline? The mission of the IT Department, in fact that of our Chief Minister, who is also the IT & Electronics Minister, is to ensure that all services — be it government services or B2C services — become available to public on their mobile phones. Last year, we provided government services to over three crore people of the State. Most of the benefits are now given directly to people. Scholarships are being directly credited to beneficiaries’ accounts.
Farmers are being provided direct transfer of benefit under all schemes. UP is the first State to have registered over 60 lakh farmers under our DBT scheme, with financial support reaching directly to their accounts. Not just one department, the idea is to integrate all departments. In one year’s time, we hope to be able to integrate all the departments on one platform.
What is the status of Mega Call Centre?
The UP Government has envisaged establishing a Mega Call Centre with 300 seating capacity in the state capital to get independent feedback from beneficiaries and other stakeholders related with various citizen-centric schemes being run by different State Government departments. This would be an outbound call centre only, wherein calls will be made to beneficiaries to seek feedback about the schemes’ benefits reaching them and inform about schemes in detail.
The objective is not only to sensitise citizens about different government schemes meant for them but also to remove bottlenecks, if any, for timely execution/ disbursement of the benefits, bring in required changes by way of policy amendments for smooth execution of these schemes, etc. It also aims to find individual lapses, if any, in the implementation process of the various schemes in operation.
Every day, we will contact 50,000 citizens of the State, thus approaching 15 lakh citizens a month for feedback on schemes. The service will commence in a month’s time.