Thursday, November 26, 2009

e-Governance –Workshop 21/11/09

On 21st November 2009, a one day workshop on “e-Governance: Issues, Challenges and Opportunities” was held in the campus of ABV-IIITM, Gwalior.

On the event we had dignitaries like our chief guest -Mr S.K Mishra (Principal AG), Mr L K Advani (Addl, Chief GM, MPSEDC, Bhopal), Mr Vivek Chitale (Technical Director, NIC Bhopal), Mr A Sai Manohar (SP, Gwalior), Mr Pawan Sharma (Commioner, Nagar Nigam, Gwalior), Prof V S R Krishanaiah (Indian Institute of Public Administration N. Delhi), Vibhor Jain (Senior Manager Ernst and Young, New Delhi), Mr Vikas Agarwal (Director- Advisory Services, KPMG, New Delhi), Mr Upendra Jain (Addl Commissioner, Transport) in our campus.

Lightening the auspicious lamp by our Director Sir and our invited guests inaugurated the event.

Registrar , Mr Deleep Kumar gave an introductory speech by stating the courses provided by ABV-IIITM, Gwalior and achievements so far made by its students and faculty in the field of e-Governance. He also enlightened with the various challenges faced in e-Governance in the present era such as cultural diversification, large population, unable to update on regular basis. “Need is to change the mindset”, he said.

Dr. Gyanprakash, assistant faculty IIITM Gwalior stated, “ Success of e-Government depends on the interest of the stakeholders”

Dr Anurag Srivastava, assistant faculty IIITM Gwalior showcased TIIC Centre established by him with currently presents open source software solutions. The various projects he has undertaken i.e. e-Suvidha, Community Radio centre, e-rationing. A pilot e-Governance project on Police Online Information System is ready to be deployed has been incorporated him.

Various other scope of his work includes bilingual office support system and FTS- File tracking system.

Mr S.K Mishra our chief guest of the day, is Principal AG bestowed his keen insight by stating “ advancement of technology has stopped us from working innovatively” He inquisitively asked whether “man harnessing machine or machine harnessing man”, somewhere we need to draw the line on our dependency on machines. He said with large population challenges are vast. With green revolutions we got literacy derive as well as e-divide (i.e. the difference between the computer literacy in geographical zones). “India exporting e-products throughout the world, large coverage with no computer adds serious contribution in making computer application accessible”, he said.

Mr L.K Tiwari, Addl Chief GM, MPSEDC, Bhopal has worked for 8-9 years in IT field and projects. He boasted about his successful large e-Governance projects in MP, which are , computerization of Treasury operations, smart-card-Driving license, commercial tax dept., Mandi operations, call-centre for information and complaints with toll free- 155343, mponline (public-private partnership), online submission of admission forms, utility bills-Telephone, disaster data centre, MP state wide area network(SWAN)-backbone of Govt.

He then lightened the implementation challenges in e-Governance he had faced.

  • The first issue is who will take up the project? The Govt is downsizing, Govt then hires external consultant. Hiring is difficult in Govt sector as it includes – preparing a proposal, transparency in every step, for everything paper work cannot transpose, and also the external agencies do not have any exposure to Govt structure and style.
  • Then involvement of actual user is necessary and most important. Get people motivated to involve with consultant and evolve the project which is difficult. When the end users complain about the facilities not being available developers get an excuse of asking the needs beforehand. Assessing the actual requirement is utmost important.
  • The agency with attends the process of implementation often faces tendering difficult, as, every quarter technology is changing and it makes IT sector to be on toes.
  • Document incorporates latest technology, cost an proper vendor incorporation. Entire process of hiring includes Tendor management( software, hardware and connectivity), Vendor management ( co-ordination) and adequate response time of vendors. This includes more management issues and less technology as work is done by multiple agencies.
  • Even after selecting a vendor there is rolling out of the project in critical stage, hence on trial basis, pilot roll out should be incorporated
  • Change management, re-engineering, make the use of computer acceptable is very difficult in govt. As time goes on, after realizing the benefits of computer and technology, it is then accepted. E.g. a cashier could save his 2 hours in compiling his accounts.
  • Due to the rigid agreements, mid- course correction are difficult to amend.
  • Only in 1800 locations we got BSNL, hence we got low connectivity
  • To perceive the challenges before implementing is better but still to change in the process should be at the faster rate.
  • Sustainability, monitoring impact access, benefits to Govt and citizens should be clearly stated objectively in mission and vision statements.
  • Security is still a continuous concerned issue.

Mr Vivek Chitale, Technical Director of Narcotics Dept., gave a different sight to the issue of e-Governance that is Geometric space.

Mr A Sai Manohar, SP, Gwalior, and an intellect who is aware of what and how it works in the Police Dept. He said, “ King doesn’t go by the rules, he has laid out”. In 1986 he has joined National Crime Bureau, he then witnessed CCIS (Crime and Criminal Information System), it was G2G-Big database, and reports in it were not the ones that were used. In 208-09, reports were not even published (40 lac criminals/40 fields minimum)-hence due to all these factors it made CCIS a failure. “Police station is the place to attend the reports but not to key in the reports, hence they remain alone, unattended”, he said.

Then CPA came connecting 14000 Police Stations, FIR in 40 fields of crimes, computerised data abstraction and mining. “270 Police stations unable to update as there is an electricity cut for 6-8 hours”, he informed.

Now we got CCTNS- 2,000crore-11years plan, very comprehensive, 726 districts, and 14000 stations – which is bound to fail. Also G2C- see how someone’s complain is moving.

Mr. Pawan Sharma is a Commissioner of Nagar Nigam at Gwalior established the successful e-Governance project for Municipality in the city Gwalior which has increased the collection as well as cross-verification of the property tax all due to computerization. Now the website, gives various services like giving birth certificates, death certificates etc on request.

Mr. Vibhor Jain is a Senior Manager at Ernst and Young, New Delhi. He showered some rays e-Governance from an Industry perspective. He said India has dropped his rank to 113, and the cause of this could be the digital-divide or e-divide. The key challenges in e-Governance he stated were :

  • Harmonization and sustainability of initiatives : As consultancy companies are here for more business and less welfare on the large scale. He stated that none of the statewide networks are commercially successful though they are technologically proof. No replication of the established projects is done, “every time we do something we start from the scratch”, he said.
  • Connectivity – the digital divide: Availability/Affordability/Effectiveness of technology and access point at the grass root level is inadequate. In e-Governance, just the way of doing thing changes, rest tasks remain the same.
  • Unique citizen identification: UID, MNIC, We have zillions of cards/identification for millions of agencies. One card, all the services collaborated and by this half of the problems solve.
  • Capacity building and change management: Main problem encountered in the process of a project is mindset, we must approach departments and not individuals e.g. in Income tax dept., we should not be accessible to the Head of the zone The moment of interaction that is won over into act of corruption
  • Move from e-Gov to connected Governance : Solo initiatives should be commuted over integrated initiatives. Clear identification of benefits to citizens is vital.

Case study : Income Tax Dept., “Vision 2005”

It started in 2002 to have a connected, integrated Income Tax Dept to be established by 2005. Features of the project :
  • A bank of precious economic and commercial data
  • No centralised information was available
  • Simplification of tax laws and procedures
  • Modernization of initiatives
  • 36 regional centres
  • Networking 750+ offices on latest MPLS based IP VAN Technology
  • Distributed to centralised 3-tier application
  • Dedicated Income Tax Data Centre (BCP and DR sites)
  • Tax information network with NSDL
  • Facilities for computerization of TDS returns and transmission payment date
  • Separate training for Income tax dept employees at NIITs
“Don’t just automate process, reengineer it”, he ended with.

Mr Vikas Agarwal is a Director Advisory Service at KPMG, New Delhi. When started his presentation from the starting he laid emphasis from India perspective that is here it is more about G(governance) and less E. Globally, governance exists, they have faster access to all govt. services. In India, basic governance doesn’t exist, task here is to provide access to essential government. World deals in quality, and India in quantity-Population constraint. Use of ICT to access G-information, it is a two way communication. For every service you need provide every documental proofs, fill your name, your fathers name is tedious. “I’m the citizen of this country, give me my services”, he stressed. People matters, right kind of skilled manpower is important to employee in any project.

What Industry wants from Today’s student is to be a change agent to bring about a substantial transformation thinking of today, tomorrow and beyond. To participate in such practices understand government’s functioning and citizen’s requirement, their problems and empathize with them. Understand three basic elements – People, Process, and technology resources. Talk to faculty, use Internet and understand why projects had failed. Even accessing foreign govt’s websites, back years what were their problems, acquire learning from their mistakes.

Panel Discussion :

Q. How much time will Govt would take to transform?

Vibhor Jain : Integration is a huge challenge. Connected governance which has full proof back end system with good connectivity. Sometimes citizens need to become advisers. With UID-lot of things will be at right place. Approximately 5-10years, he estimated would be the time for Govt to transform.

Q: Will CSCs have an effective role?

Vibhor Jain : As concept, it is good, substantial for govt. dept, but integrate it with final users.

Q: What would be the final stability of the projects?

Vibhor Jain: Separate CSCs NSDL,USDL.Passport centres, employment centres is a nuisance. Commercial viability is inevitable- one single model should suffice. Whats the net profit for private, govt, citizens?-success for commercial partners.

Q.: India ranks 113 while Sri-lanka ranks 101 rank. What could be the impediments of implementation of e-Governance in India?

Upendra Jain: Clarity of vision should be stated, what kind of services. Availability of infrastructure, make all govt data accessible. Govt here just has purchase orientation, you need to have a holistic approach. Hardware’s are dusted, computers are used as typewriters in 99% of usage. By the time software comes, hardware becomes obsolete which is one of the major reasons for the failure of the project, communication lines are not open. Skilled manpower is unavailable with strong mind set to work. People run system to suit their requirements. With ignorance of procedure and organization speed aspect goes away.

Q: How Govt can be tuned up? In what ways IT is effecting the Govt’s efficiency?

S.K.Mishra: He started with raising a question, “ are we really matured enough for e-Governance or even governance? Political survival is laid on transparency, and transparency is endangered in e-Governance. Hence political will and powers must incorporate in such projects. There are 3 basic elements suggestive-played by consultancy, prescriptive-played by administrators and constructive-played by govt. Auditors should also be taken on the board of major projects of substantial money being involved. Everyone must understand consultant is not going to be forever, state governments should maintain health of e-govt. projects focussing the value for money.

Q: Why Govt. fails in BPR session?

Vikas Agarwal: Govt should lay emphasis on what kind of seed money, how to recover it, whether it will be there forever or revenues will be generated. There should be a transplantation and not just transformation.

Upendra Jain: Good e-Governance project should have one agency to implement everything, outsource only when in utmost need. Computerised everything, every data, process, procedures, output should be data be organised automatically. It should be made accessible by public in format required. Standards should be clear, well defined and well established there after.

Q: Do you think Govt can improve?

S.K Mishra: Senior levels in the govt are not good leaders. They should convey the message efficiently in interest of everyone. There has been no recent recruitment. 3% of govt. employees retire every year. Much volume of work is there with less manpower how are we able to do is by- upgrading the methods, applying technology only. For promotions there should be tests in computer knowledge provided with free training and free outsourced faculty.

Vikas Agarwal: Unless we realize its our baby, we can not nurture it.

Correspondent : Swati Sablok (MBA 09-11)

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