“e-Governance is today recognised as an important system for bringing transparency and efficiency into governance”
I would like begin by dwelling on my reasons for conducting this Knowledge Exchange Forum in Srinagar. I had a chance to attend few such forums in places like Udaipur, Hyderabad and Bangalore and the realization dawned on me that there exists a huge gap between the IT industry that we have in the state and the IT industry that is there in places like Bangalore and Hyderabad. It was then that I decided that we should hold an IT event in Srinagar to enable the local IT companies to come in contact with the larger IT players in other parts of the country.
So the first reason for holding the Knowledge Exchange Forum in Srinagar is to provide a new launch pad for the local IT companies. We would like do all we can to enable the local IT players to grow in size and create new job opportunities in IT sector for the state’s youth. The second reason behind holding the Knowledge Exchange Forum in Srinagar is promotion of e-Governance in the state. The Knowledge Exchange Forum is also about exchange of knowledge on the critical area of e-Governance.Key stakeholders in e-Governance have arrived from all parts of the country and they are going to contribute to the exchange of knowledge. We will learn about many new ideas in e-Governance that have already been implemented in other states. These can be replicated in J&K.
The third purpose behind holding the Forum is to facilitate a healthy interaction between the government departments and the private companies. After all,the greatest good of greatest number of people can only be achieved when the government organisations join hands with private companies for development of new initiatives for improving the general quality of life. e-Governance is today recognised as an important system for bringing transparency and efficiency into governance.The common citizens are responding very well toe-Governance initiatives that have already been launched.In fact, people are now asking for even better e-Governance initiatives to be launched.
The private companies have to understand that the e-Governance is not only for public good, it is also a viable business opportunity.While working on e-Governance projects,the private companies can make money and generate lot of new employment opportunities for the nation’s youth. I would also like to shed light on the initiatives that are part of the national e-Governance plan and are now being implemented efficiently in the state of J&K. We already have the CSCs, which go by the name of Khidmat Service Centres in J&K. As of now we have around 810 Khidmat Centres in the state, and our plan is to take the number to1200 so that all parts of the state are covered.
The state data center, which can be considered as the core infrastructure for e-Governance in any state, is already there in J&K. It has now gone online and many state government departments have now started migrating their applications to the state data center. There has been the perception that perhaps the state of J&K has been lagging behind when it comes to e-Governance. But now we are ready to take a big leap into the world of ICT. We are now on verge of launching new services under the e-District project.
“The greatest good of greatest number of people can only be achieved when the government organisations join hands with private companies for development of new initiatives for improving the general quality of life.I believe that e-Governance will multiply our ability to deliver all kinds of necessary services to the public, it will enhance the speed with which those services can be delivered, it will bring the much needed transparency. In matters of e-Governance, we have many miles to travel, but with the enterprise and dedication of our people we will be able to make a mark in the crucial area of Information Technology”.
The State Wide Area Network (SWAN),which is the backbone of all NeGP projects is also about to be rolled out. We are currently in the process of finalising the vendors for our SWAN project.
I would also like to tell you that besides the NeGP programmes, the Government of J&K and the Department of IT has undertaken many other initiatives where IT has been used to usher in a more transparent system of governance. We have rolled out the mobile governance for monitoring Border Area Development Scheme. We have taken many new initiatives for capacity building in our government departments to enable them to effectively implement e-Governance projects.
One thing that I would like to highlight is the knowledge management portal concept that the department of IT in J&K is developing. It is a well known fact that the myriad government departments tend to work in isolation. At times they are completely cut off from one another with the result that one department does not have an inkling of the kind of solutions that it can get from some other department. The knowledge management portal will allow various government departments in the state to share their ideas and knowledge and there by there will be more efficiency.
We are also implementing in the higher education department the e-office concept.Currently this project is in pilot stage and once it is successful, we will roll it out across the government. In the Jammu District we are rolling out a project for totally automatic and electronic delivery of permanent resident certificate. We will monitor the effectiveness of this project here and once it is found to be successful it will be rolled out across the state.Under the e-PDS scheme we have completed the digitization of ration cards. This will lead to much needed transparency in the distribution of food in the state.