IT Initiatives Transforming Governance in UP: Neha Prakash

Neha Prakash IAS

In an attempt to bring forward the journey of India’s transformation, Elets Technomedia organised a three-day India Transformation Summit from July 10 to July 12. Addressing one of the sessions on ‘IT and E-Governance Transforming India’, Neha Prakash, Special Secretary, Department of IT & Electronics and Managing Director, UPDESCO and Managing Director, Shreetron India Limited, Government of Uttar Pradesh joined the summit.

Ms Neha commenced her address by highlighting the scale of governance in Uttar Prades. Ms Neha said, “Governance in Uttar Pradesh is comparable to governance in a small country when we consider its population size, demography, etc.”

Speaking on the IT infrastructure, Ms Neha stated, “In UP, we had a robust IT infrastructure even before the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic. This is one of the reasons why we were able to handle the crisis effectively.”

“One of the innovations is tye CM helpline on which people could call and register their grievances. During the COVID crisis, we used the same number for the outbound process. We called lakhs of gram pradhans, ASHA workers, and all the village-level government representatives for spreading awareness and keeping in check the compliance of lockdown norms”, told Ms Neha. There has been a huge influx of migrants during this time. The authorities were able to reach out to these people in distress and help them accordingly, she added.

Further, she said that in UP there are gram-level committees and ward-level committees. Hence, this decentralisation has worked well for coordination and effective spread of right information to people amidst the crisis.

Adding on technology, Ms Neha mentioned, “In UP, we have State Wide Area Network (SWAN) and 884 points of presence of the network. This is a huge network which connects are districts, tehsils and blocks to the state headquarters. We have state data centres and 264 applications on which over 61 departments are hosted.” Besides this, technology has been a great enabler in tracking and monitoring during the Corona crisis, she added.

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“We have control rooms and we are monitoring all our hospitals, health centres, community kitchens, at a real-time basis. All these are monitored by CCTVs at a central location”, said Ms Neha. Moreover, due to social distancing and lockdown in place, people were not allowed to visit any of the government offices, hence, e-districts played a crucial role in answering the needs of the citizens during that time, she added.

On e-district, there are over 200 services which were functional for people even during the lockdown. So, people can sit at their home and access whatever government service they need. “I would say the COVID crisis has completely changed the way the government and the citizens interacts”, told Ms Neha. Moreover, interaction points have become more frequent. This defines the level of e-governance. The way UP implemented e-governance, it will help the state to go a long way ahead, added Ms Neha.

Talking about the IT industry scenario in the state of UP, Ms Neha said, “We have Uttar Pradesh Electronics Manufacturing Policy under which we give a lot of grants and subsidies. We also provide relief to file patents. So, all of these are steps taken to lure more players to invest in the state. As the current sentiments are against China, I feel having such policies in place can give us an edge over the others to attract more business and investments.”

When asked about the integration of data of the various government departments which are working in silos, Ms Neha said, “The Government of UP has identified that various departments have various beneficiaries. So, to integrate these beneficiaries on a common database we thought of using Aadhar. So to fetch the redundancy of the beneficiaries Aadhar can be a reliable source. The system that we are trying to develop is a system wherein all the beneficiaries under all the schemes of all the departments will be enlisted on a common database, Hence, in future when we want to know about what benefits a particular family or beneficiary is getting and from which schemes.” Such data can be of great help in proactive public planning. UP is moving in this direction, she concluded.