Wednesday, 9 March 2011
NeGP - Initiatives to usher in good governance
NeGP - Initiatives to usher in good governance
by Abhishek Singh Over the years, various State Governments and Central Ministries to usher in an era of e-Governance have undertaken a large number of initiatives. Sustained efforts have been made at multiple levels to improve the delivery of public services and simplify the process of accessing them.
The National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) takes a holistic view of e-Governance initiatives across the country, integrating them into a collective vision, a shared cause. Around this idea, a massive countrywide network infrastructure reaching down to the remotest of villages is evolving, and large-scale digitisation of records is taking place to enable easy, reliable access over the internet.
The ultimate objective is to bring good tangible governance to the citizen's doorstep. After all, accessing land records, obtaining birth certificates and passports, filing income tax returns and getting medical opinion from the country's best doctors should be as simple as clicking mouse. And as near home as the neighbourhood shop!
Genesis of a National Plan The e-Governance scenario in India has evolved from computerization of Government Departments to initiatives, which encapsulate the finer points of Governance, such as, citizen centricity, service orientation and transparency. The approach, implementation methodology and management structure for National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) was approved by the Government in 2006. Experiences from successes as well as failures of the various previous initiatives played an important role in shaping the e-Governance strategy of the country.
Due cognizance was taken of the notion that if e-Governance was to be speeded up across the various arms of Government at the National, State and Local levels, a programme approach would need to be adopted, guided by a common vision and strategy.
This approach was seen as having the advantage of enabling huge savings in costs via sharing of core and support infrastructure, enabling interoperability through standards. This approach was also seen as a step towards presenting the citizen a seamless view of Government.
The NeGP Universe
The NeGP covers 27 Mission Mode Projects and eight Support Components to be implemented at Central, State and Local Government levels. The Support Components aim at creating the right governance and institutional mechanisms, core infrastructure, policies and standards, and the necessary legal framework for adoption of e-Governance.
The eight Support Components cut across the MMPs and the responsibilities are with the Department of Information Technology (DIT) and Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DAR&PG). The DIT components are Core Infrastructure (SWAN, SDC and CSC), Support Infrastructure, Technical Assistance, Core Policies and R&D. The areas of joint responsibility of the DIT and DAR&PG are HRD training, Organizational Structure and Awareness & Assessment.
Mission Mode Projects There are 27 Mission Projects under the NeGP that encompass nine Central, eleven State and seven Integrated MMPs spanning multiple Ministries/Departments. "Mission Mode" implies that the objective and the scope of the projects is clearly defined, there are measurable outcomes (service levels) and well-defined milestones and timelines for implementation.
The 27 Mission Made Projects identified on the basis of high citizen and business interface are: Central MMPs: MCA 21, Pensions, Income Tax, Passport and Visa/Immigration, Central Excise, Banking, MNIC/UID, e-office and Insurance. State MMPs: Land Records Ph. I, Land Records Ph. II & Reg., Road Transport, Agriculture, Police, Treasuries, Municipalities, e-District, Commercial Taxes, Gram Panchayat and Employment Exchange. Integrated MMPs: CSC. e-Courts, EDI, India Portal, NSDG, e-Biz, e-Procurement. Common Services Centres
The Government has approved a Common Services Centres (CSCs) Scheme for providing support for establishing 100,000 plus Common Services Centres across more than 600,000 villages. The Scheme, as approved by the Government, envisions CSCs as the front-end delivery points for Government, private and social sector services to the citizens of India, in an integrated manner. The objective is to develop a platform that can enable Government, private and social sector organizations to align their social and commercial goals, especially for the benefit of the rural population in the remotest corners of the country through a combination of IT-based and other services. The CSCs have the ability to provide high quality and cost-effective video, voice, and data content/services in the areas of e-Governance, education, health, telemedicine, entertainment etc. A highlight of the CSCs is that they can offer web-enabled e-Governance-related services in rural areas such as application form download, certificates, payments of electricity, telephone, water, and other utility bills.
Taking Flight with SWAN & Ensuring Delivery via SDCs The State Wide Area Networks (SWAN) Scheme is one of the three Core Infrastructure pillars of NeGP. It has an estimated outlay of Rs. 3334 crores, and was approved by the Government in March 2005 with an objective to set up SWANs interconnecting each State/Union Territory Head Quarter with District Head Quarter, and each District Head Quarter with the Block Head Quarters with minimum 2 Mbps leased line.
The objective of the Scheme is to create a secure Close User Group (CUG) Government network for the purpose of delivering G2G and G2C services. The duration of the project is five years with a pre-project implementation period of 18 months. The project is being implemented as a Central Sector Scheme with Rs. 2005 crores as Grant-in-aid from Department of Information Technology and balance fund from the State Plan fund under Additional Central Assistance (ACA) allocation
State Data Centre (SDC) is another Core Infrastructure pillar under the NeGP, it is proposed to create SDCs for the States to consolidate services, applications and infrastructure to provide efficient electronic delivery of G2G, G2C and G2B services. These services can be rendered by the States through common delivery platform seamlessly supported by core connectivity infrastructure such as State Wide Area Network (SWAN) and Common Services Centre (CSC) connectivity extended up to village level.
SDCs provide rich functionality, such as, acting as the Central Repository of the State, Secure Data Storage, Online Delivery of Services, Citizen Information/Services Portal, State Intranet Portal, Disaster Recovery, Remote Management and Service Integration. SDCs would also help minimize overall cost of Data Management, IT Resource Management, Deployment and other costs. (www.negp.gov.in).
*Deputy Secretary (e-Governance) is the Nodal Officer for NeGP Awareness & Communication.