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Govt to start Rs 20,000 cr e-governance plan
Priya Ganapati in Mumbai | February 12, 2003 15:27 IST
The Indian government is debating on plans to start a massive e-governance program that envisages a public-private partnership at a total cost of Rs 20,000 crore (Rs 200 billion) over the next five years.
Termed the National e-Governance initiative, the program aims to bring in efficiency, transparency, cost effectiveness, simplicity into the government's operations while improving citizens' interface with the government.
According to an approach paper drafted by the ministry of information technology, the programme would have a number of components each to be implemented in stages.
Among the items on the agenda are defining a vision for National e-Governance, designing appropriate architectures that enable realisation of this, developing frameworks for resource mobilisation and implementation and implementing a set of core initiatives.
An approximate assessment of the requirement of financial resources for implementation of e-governance at the state and central government levels has been pegged at an optimum figure of Rs 20,000 crore.
"This kind of funding can't be by the government alone. There has to participation from private companies and financial institutions," said Rajeev Ratna Shah, principal secretary, department of IT, ministry of communication and IT.
According to the ministry's estimates, 60 per cent of the resources required could be tapped from the private sector.
The government's share could be at 40 per cent or Rs 8,000 crore (Rs 80 billion).
This could be further split roughly in half between the central and the state governments.
Shah said that the e-governance initiative would among others look to set up a country portal, a citizen portal for both state and central levels so that all the needs of citizens could be transacted via it, an e-business portal which would act as a single window for all corporates that want to interface with the government and an electronic data interface for trade facilitation.
The National e-Governance initiative has been sparked off after an announcement by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on August 15 last year.
"Following the prime minister's announcement the National Development Council, a congregation of the prime minister, chief ministers of all states, chairman and vice-chairman of the Planning Commission and the Union Cabinet met to set up a committee that would look into the details of the project," explained Shah.
The committee then suggested holding a few workshops at the national, state and district levels to elicit the views of all the stakeholders before finalising the schemes.
One of the workshops met a few days ago and is now scheduled to send its recommendations on the e-governance program to the prime minister.
"Based on the recommendations that are sent, the e-governance initiative will be finalised by the government," says Shah.
He, however, declined to put a time frame to the initiative.
At the inaugural session of Nasscom 2003, Shah also detailed an e-learning project that is being supported by the government.
The e-learning pilot project provides VSAT connectivity of 8 MBPS to 20 schools across 7 cities, along with 10 computers to each school to set up a computer lab.
"The computers in these schools are to be used as a learning aid and we are creating content and multimedia modules to be used in education," says Shah.
Called 'Vidyavahini', the pilot project will soon be formalized and rolled out to 60,000 schools over a ten-year period. The e-learning project will become a part of the government's e-governance initiative.