The past eight editions of Elets Knowledge Exchange, which took place in cities like Udaipur, Srinagar, Goa, Lonavala and Kovalam carried forward its legacy of providing a platform to thought leaders to express their views and ideas and share their experiences to underscore that transformation is what one can expect to happen when right ideas through honest deliberations are allowed to flow freely, writes Vivek Ratnakar of Elets News Network (ENN).
The first eGov Knowledge Exchange took place in Udaipur, Rajasthan in 2012 and subsequently in the picturesque city of Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu & Kashmir, serving as a forum to catalyse the implementation of e-Governance initiatives in the state. The Forum provided a friendly and supportive environment for the key decision makers to interact with each other and exchange knowledge on the crucial area of e-Governance.
“Forums like eGov Knowledge Exchange – Srinagar are important as they serve as an opportunity for deliberations that will lead to the evolution of better systems for e-Governance implementations in Jammu and Kashmir,” said Omar Abdullah, the then Chief Minister of J&K.
The 2nd edition helped the Government of Jammu & Kashmir formulate a road map for implementing various ICT initiatives to improve lives of the people of the state. It proved to be a milestone by bolstering the state’s efforts to develop a clear vision and proceed ahead on the path of innovation.
The subsequent editions of Elets Knowledge Exchange, which took place in cities like Srinagar, Goa, Lonavala and Kovalam carried forward its legacy of providing a platform to thought leaders to express their views and ideas and share their experiences to underscore that transformation is what one can expect to happen when right ideas through honest deliberations are allowed to flow freely. As American author Napoleon Hill had aptly put it: “First comes thought; then organisation of that thought, into ideas and plans; then transformation of those plans into reality.”
The evolution of this unique forum is also the story of how deliberations on technological developments have changed our lives in a very short span of time. For example, Ajay Bhushan Pandey, DDG – UIDAI, Mumbai, while addressing the Knowledge Exchange forum at Lonavala, Maharashtra in August 2014 had said: “With the UID, the state government has built a robust eKYC system which is rolled out to various state government departments; as a result when a resident walks into a government office, he does not carry any document or proof of identity with him. All he has to give is his fingerprint or the iris and the UID Number for identification, and the identity is confirmed or declined based on the details with the authority. The best part is that it can be done even on the mobile devices which have android operating system, making the services easy to deliver and to use. The government has also started to link the various beneficiaries database like scholarship, pension, etc with the Aadhaar numbers.”
What Pandey had shared on the Knowledge Exchange platform has today become a reality across India. The eKYC system developed by the UIDAI is now being effectively used to provide a plethora of government services to the citizens in a transparent way, thus further reducing the scope of corruption and pilferage in the government endowments while also addressing the issue of accessibility – driving India towards the goal of inclusive growth for all.
On the same platform, Sujata Saunik, the then Principal Secretary, Public Health Department, Government of Maharashtra, said that m-Governance is emerging as the next big wave of information and communication technology (ICT) use in the public sector. “It ensures innovations in service delivery by increasing access to existing services and enabling design and delivery of new services. It empowers digitally deprived citizens by providing them access to information and services. Besides, it intensifies partnerships and exchanges between public and private sectors,” she added.
Today, we are beginning to see how mGovernance with seamless integration and linkages is empowering people through mobile Apps like Umang to access important government services “24 hours a day and 365 days non-stop”.
During the 8th Knowledge Exchange in Goa, the late Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had aptly defined that why knowledge exchange was so significant for us. “When I was thinking about knowledge exchange, my mind went back to a very old saying that I heard in my childhood, which says that there is always a question that what is it that grows despite giving away? If you give away the money it becomes less. If you give away property it reduces. The answer which the wise men always gave us was that it the knowledge which if you give away, it increases.
Now in its 9th edition, the Elets Knowledge Exchange forum has grown from strength to strength to help India benefit from the common wisdom of hundreds of policy makers, industry stakeholders and innovative thinkers who chose to share their ideas and innovations on this unique platform to inspire each other and drive the change that India is desperately looking for to transform herself into a knowledge based society.