eGovernance in India

Improving eGovernance in INDIA

Archive for January, 2007

Rampant corruption in ICDS scheme in UP [ it is all over INDIA not just in UP]

Posted by egovindia on January 24, 2007

Rampant corruption in ICDS scheme in UP

http://www.ndtv.com/morenews/showmorestory.asp?slug=

Rampant+corruption+in+ICDS+scheme+in+UP&id=99896&category=National

Rampant corruption in ICDS scheme in UPSutapa Deb

Watch story Rampant corruption in ICDS scheme in UP

Tuesday, January 23, 2007 (Varanasi):

India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, gears up for another election but no politician is talking about the prevalent malnutrition among children in the state.

UP is the worst offender as far as children malnutrition levels are concerned and there has been no progress in the last eight years.

Corruption plagues the Integrated Child Development Services programme in Uttar Pradesh.

Not only is the programme a mere ritual, the food grain sent for children is being illegally used to fatten cattle.

NDTV’s Sutapa Deb reports how the ICDS staff are stealing from hungry children in UP.

One can witness stark images at Siyo village, 10 km from Varanasi. Eighteen-month-old Karishma is shrunken, almost withered. Kallu has the familiar potbelly, caused by malnutrition and weakened stomach muscle.

Fifty per cent of the children under six who do not survive each year die because they are malnourished.

Bare rooms

Chedi Ram, a daily wager, and his wife, have nothing to give their five children except for some starchy rice.

These children’s nutrition should be monitored by the government’s anganwadi workers, their families provided fortified food grain.

The village has three anganwadi centres. Every month each one gets 350 kg of ready to eat mix from the state and Centre.

But though over 1000 kg get to the village, none of it reaches the children. They are excluded from the programme, even though one of the anganwadi workers lives next door.

“Has anyone taken her weight? No one. Have you been to the centre? No. I don’t have any information, how could I go,” said Seeta Devi, Karishma’s mother.

In Sandeha village, three anganwadi centres are housed in one panchayat bhavan.

But when the centre opens over an hour and a half late, NDTV’s team discover bare rooms, except for a handful of slates, toys and utensils. There are no weighing machines meant to monitor the children’s growth.

Anganwadi workers here and elsewhere tell that the stocks of the ready to eat food grain, which is called sattu here, is kept at their home. One of the anganwadi workers has not made an appearance for over a year.

Failed programme?

A child under six is taking the class. A headcount reveals there are barely 40 children here. But the registers for the three centres record the presence of 240 in all, six times the number.

It was the same across Chiraigaon and Cholapur blocks in the area. About 15 children were present at each anganwadi centre. But matters are worse.

Even those children who are present at the anganwadi centres do not get the 80 gm, the amount of fortified food grain allotted to each one.

In Munnari village, two anganwadi centres are running from a dirty verandah. There is nothing else. Though children are supposed to be fed at centres, each child carries a small polythene packet. Sattu, they have learnt, is to be taken home.

Why is this flagship programme that spent Rs 400 crore this year in the state unable to provide the requisite amount of food grain or sattu to poor children? It is a paradox as the office of the Child and Development Officer at the block is well stocked with 2000 bags that is 50,000 kg of ready to eat mix.

Missing food grains

The centre is bursting with bags of fortified food grain. But none of it is reaching them. So who is stealing the food meant for Uttar Pradesh’s malnourished children?

The answer, villagers say, is the ICDS bureaucracy, which runs the anganwadis. The children’s food grain is reportedly siphoned off and sold as cattle feed on the black market. And the sale is organised by the anganwadis workers.

Every month the anganwadis worker generates Rs 300 that she pays her supervisors.

“In every area it is being sold in black. Not just in ours. Every one has to give, including me. She takes Rs 300 every month,” said Bindu Pandey, an anganwadis worker.

“I don’t sell it. I feed it to cows and buffaloes,” said Meera Devi, another anganwadi worker.

“Everybody pays and will continue to pay. Your coming here will not put a stop to this. Do you know that the CDPO spoke to me a moment ago on the phone? The food grain is expected and she wants the money tomorrow. I am telling you that your words or your camera will not change anything,” said Chandrakala, an anganwadis worker.

Corrective measures

The state of the anganwadis in Varanasi may be common knowledge, but not for its district magistrate.

“We will be getting an inquiry conducted and working on this as to where exactly does the malady lie and what are the corrective measures that are required. You have outlined a few problems,” said Ravi Aggarwal, District Magistrate, Varanasi

“There is no doubt that the centres are supposed to open on time. The activities are supposed to be held. If at a few places these activities are not being held then it definitely calls for action. And by action I would not only mean at the village level or the anganwadis worker, definitely at the supervisory level, because there is a whole system of supervision,” he added.

Manju Devi has a malnourished girl, Kajal, at her anganwadis centre. But Manju seems more concerned about collecting the money she has to pay as a bribe to get a senior job as supervisor.

Posted in Corruption in egovernance | Leave a Comment »

Kerala’s IT Draft Policy {Can NIC – NISG – all IT Secretaries – eGov Secretaries to LEARN from this ?? and to adopt a NATIONAL POLICY like this

Posted by egovindia on January 23, 2007

 Kerala’s IT Draft Policy –

[ CAN NIC – NISG – all IT Secretaries – eGov Secretaries to LEARN from this  !! and  to adopt a NATIONAL POLICY like this]

Can Minister Dayanidhi Maran read this and alocate 9000 crores for NATIONAL IT Policy to ADOPT this type of IT Policy at NATIONAL LEVEL from NeGP FUNDS !!!!

The Government realizes that Free Software presents a truly 
unique opportunity in building a truly egalitarian knowledge society. The 
Government will take all efforts to develop Free Software and Free 
Knowledge and shall encourage and mandate the appropriate use of Free 
Software in all ICT initiatives..."

Preamble


1.1Developments in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are transforming the society in dramatic ways. These developments are creating hitherto unimaginable opportunities and possibilities, even as they pose new challenges for a society like ours

1.2 In the production processes of today’s world, information and knowledge mean a great deal more than material resources and physical inputs.

1.3 ICT has opened up the possibility of radically different information exchange patterns by facilitating faster and more efficient dissemination of information. It can play a vital role in sustaining the democratic ethos of the Indian society and ensuring a high level of transparency in governance

1.4 Having achieved high physical quality of life index and social infrastructure development, Kerala is ideally positioned to use ICT as a catalyst for the all-round economic prosperity and social uplift of its people

1.5 ICT and Information Technology Enabled Services (ITES) have by now turned into major sectors of economic activity in the country. Over the past one-and-a-half decades, these sectors have shown remarkable growth in the country, both in terms of export revenue and employment generation

1.6 In almost every sector of socio-economic activity ranging from industrial production to education and public healthcare, ICT now plays an important role in optimizing the processes, thereby improving the quality and efficiency of human endeavors

1.7 Growing importance of ICT in the present-day world leads to the emergence of a divide, which can be called the “digital-divide,” between those who have access to sophisticated ICT infrastructure and those who do not. This is a matter of concern to civil society at large; and a challenge that has to be overcome through conscious intervention, both from the Government and the sections on the privileged side of the “digital divide

1.8 The Government has a comprehensive view of ICT as a vehicle for transforming Kerala into a knowledge-based, economically vibrant, democratic and inclusive society. By the term “inclusive,” the Government means that the benefits of the socio-economic transformation possible through ICT should reach every single citizen of the State. This policy document defines the Government’s vision, mission and strategy for achieving the same.

 

Complete IT Draft policy at
http://itforum.kerala.gov.in/discussion/index.htm
 -----
By far, the most sensible ever IT policy, one that keeps undesirable 
tendencies at bay. A policy that systematically removes barriers-to-entry 
for all, especially the underprivileged for participating in a 
knowledge society.

Cheers to all our untiring FSF hactivists who worked behind this 
project.
CK Raju
Thrissur
doxa@sancharnet.in

				

Posted in Kerala eGovernance | 1 Comment »

The E-governance Muddle – Dataquest article Sept 02, 2005

Posted by egovindia on January 22, 2007

The E-governance Muddle

What was expected to bring transparency in government transactions has got mired in a slew of allegations. Dataquest probes the charges made by an IAS officer against his own clan…http://www.dqindia.com/content/search/showarticle.asp?artid=74532
Shubhendu Parth
Friday, September 02, 2005
 

Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. And if the stakes are as high as the Rs 12,400 crore national e-governance plan, allegations certainly fly thick and fast.

While this reporter, under normal circumstance would not have taken note of the “all and sundry” comments and charges that are levied by the dozen each day, for we Indians are fond of criticizing and mud slinging, Umashankar C is not just an ordinary Indian. Besides being part of the select Indian Administrative Services cadre that is at the helm of the country’s e-governance initiatives, he is also the member of DIT’s working group for implementation of national e-governance action plan.

BLOWING THE WHISTLE: For over three months now, the government has neither taken cognizance nor made any attempts to clear the doubts raised in the mail

Incidentally, the man who presently serves as the commissioner, Tribunal for Disciplinary Proceedings, Salem, was responsible for unearthing high-level scams in Tamil Nadu as the State’s Joint Vigilance Commissioner. Prior to his present position he has also worked as DC, Tiruvarur, and joint chief electoral officer for Computerization.

His allegations against the highest echelons of e-governance found credence, to a certain extent, when Dataquest was able to lay hands on a petition made by the Karnataka State Electronics Development Corporation (KEONICS) chairperson Manjula Nagaraj P to the Andhra Pradesh chief minister Dr YS Rajashekhar Reddy, referring to the possibility of irregularity in the grant of Government of Andhra Pradesh’s (GOAP’s) e-Procurement project.

While Manjula’s letter (Ref: KSDC/CHMN/349/2004-05), dated October 14, 2005, made subtle reference to J Satyanarayana, the present National Institute of Smart Government (NISG) CEO, as “secretary IT&C”, Umashankar decided to send him a mail directly seeking clarification on various cases of irregularities within seven days-including that of the GOAP e-Procurement project. The subject of Umashankar’s mail, dated April 27 2005, shouted: “Mr J Sathyanarayana of NISG-Are you corrupt?”

According to the copy of the mail, which was marked to the members of the eGovINDIA e-group on Yahoo, Umashankar had alleged an unholy nexus between Satyanatanaraya and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which warranted a closer look and smelled of the possibilities of corruption in the process of awarding several e-governance consultancy projects.

Dividing Satyanarayana’s term as Department of IT & Communications (IT&C) Secretary in GOAP and NISG CEO, Umashankar alleged, “One needs to look closely at the consultancy projects awarded by J Satyanarayana and you will see a pattern emerge. The only company to win most of the contracts was PwC.” He further stated that as the Principal Secretary (IT&C) in GOAP for four years from 2000, Satyanarayana awarded consultancy jobs to PwC for five major projects-OLTP, Social Benefits Management System (SBMS), Integrated Financial Information System (IFIS), e-Procurement and Human Resources Management System (HRMS).

where is the report: While the AP chief minister’s order was quickly followed, the attempt to avoid making the report public clearly defies the logic of transparency in governance

PwC’s job for all these projects, according to him, was to prepare the RFP (request for proposal), call for tenders on behalf of GOAP, evaluate the technical bids, qualify final bidders for commercial bid opening, and finally, to recommend and leave the decision to the government to place orders on such party.

“It may also be interesting to note that in some evaluations, it was just left to PwC to sit through product demonstrations without any participation of the government,” he alleged, adding further that during his tenure Satyanarayana had also recommended PwC to the commercial taxes department and the department of municipal administration of the GOAP as a consultant. In fact, delving on Satyanarayna’s role as the CEO of NISG, Umashankar has also alleged that the very first project taken up by the institution-e-Biz, for the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion-was archestrated to enable the selection of PwC.

When contacted, Satyanarayna, PwC, and DIT refuted the allegations made by Umashankar. The CVC, however, did not reply to the Dataquest e-mail that had primarily sought information on whether the Commission had taken any action to determine the veracity of the allegation and whether it had done anything to demonstrate that the allegations were false.

Coincidence Chemistry

Project Client Key Driver Consultant Vendor
OLTP Andhra Pradesh J Satyanarayana, Principal Secretary, IT&C, AP Ram Informatics
SBMS (Social Welfare) Andhra Pradesh J Satyanarayana, Principal Secretary, IT&C, AP PwC Ram Informatics
IFIS (Finance department) Andhra Pradesh J Satyanarayana, Principal Secretary, IT&C, AP PwC TCS
e-Procurement Andhra Pradesh J Satyanarayana, Principal Secretary, IT&C, AP PwC C1 (PwC as partner to the vendor)
HRMS Andhra Pradesh J Satyanarayana, Principal Secretary, IT&C, AP PwC Ramco
e-Biz DIPP* J Satyanarayana, CEO, NISG PwC CDAC-C1-MS (shortlisted)
e-GovWorld DIT J Satyanarayana, CEO, NISG NIIT (shortlisted)
e-Procurement Chattisgarh J Satyanarayana, CEO, NISG PwC Yet to be finalized
e-Procurement Karnataka J Satyanarayana, CEO, NISG PwC Yet to be finalized
Bangalore 1 Karnataka J Satyanarayana, CEO, NISG NISG Ram Informatics/CMS
e-Seva Andhra Pradesh J Satyanarayana, Secretary, IT&C, AP Ram Informatics/CMS
* Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Government of India

Terming it as baseless, factually incorrect and highly misleading, Satyanarayna said in a written reply: “I have been dealing with computerization and e-Government projects over the last 18 years. I have been associated directly and indirectly with over 40 such projects. Companies like TCS, PWC, Wipro, Ram Informatics have been awarded two or more projects or assignments during this long period. Does it lead to the inference of ‘unholy nexus’ with all these companies?”

Neel Ratan, executive director, PwC, on the other hand said, “PricewaterhouseCoopers has played a significant role in the advent of e-governance in the country. Being the thought leader, PwC was the first to set-up large e-governance practice in India and made significant investments to grow its capabilities in this domain. The e-governance projects are awarded on competitive bidding basis as per applicable government guidelines. Accordingly, we won some projects and also lost some.”
Replying on behalf of the DIT, the Joint Secretary R Chandrashekhar said that while DIT was not the competent authority to take action on any “allegations” relating to his (Satyanarayna’s) tenure with the GOAP, “the facts referred to in the letter relating to his tenure as CEO NISG have already been placed before the Board of NISG and the board has not found any substance in the content of the petition.”

Investigations by Dataquest, however, reveal that while PwC was not involved with the GOAP’s OLTP project or DIT’s eGovWorld project, as claimed by Umashankar in his mail, PwC did win seven out of 11 e-governance consultancy projects that Satyanarayana had been involved in directly or indirectly-either as the secretary-IT&C, GOAP or as the CEO of NISG. Was it a mere coincidence after all?

According to Umashankar, NISG opted for the limited tender route for the e-Biz project and just invited Crimson Logic (a Singapore-based firm), Haselfre, and PwC. While the four-month old Haselfre was disqualified in the pre-bid evaluation, Crimson Logic was disqualified on technical grounds paving way for PwC to corner the contract.

“There are several consulting companies like KPMG, TCS, Wipro, Satyam, Ernst & Young and Microsoft Consulting Services who could manage similar jobs and hence it is difficult to understand why NISG floated limited enquiry only to Crimson logic, Haselfre and PwC,” argues Umashankar.

While Satyanarayna’s defense that PwC was handling four of the 11 listed projects- SBMS, IFIS, e-Procurement and HRMS-as per the Global Consultant’s mandate to handle five core projects does hold ground, his reply that “the technical evaluation of the e-Biz pilot project was done by a committee appointed by the Government of India and headed by Prof Phatak of IIT Mumbai,” does not explain the basic question of why no other big player was invited to bid for the same. PwC and DIT, on the other hand, have maintained a silence on this allegation.

That all is not clearly overboard is evident from Manjula’s petition pertaining to the GOAP’s e-Procurement project. She has alleged that PwC had built the entire tender document in such a way-and again through a limited tender route-that KEONICS was prevented from participating in the process. “We really do not know why a tender of this magnitude was floated through the limited tender process and violated the norms of the GOAP tendering procedures,” she remarked in her letter to Dr Reddy.

The petition also alleges that though the secretary, IT&C, GOAP (Satyanarayana in this case) was aware of the irregularities, no action was taken by anybody “to correct the procedure and prevent the losses to the public exchequer.” Soon, the GOAP Jt Secretary M Pratap at the behest of the Chief Minister Dr Reddy sent instructions to the then GOAP IT&C Principle Secretary J C Mohanty for an enquiry into the whole episode. Though, according to GOAP officials, a reply was sent to Manjula within 15 days, the copy of the enquiry report was not made available to Dataquest despite several requests. Our Hyderabad reporter was, however, allowed to copy certain portions of the noting-most of which insufficiently answered the KEONICS’ chairperson’s allegations.

There is another interesting angle to the story as well, the one that defies all logic and raises a pertinent industry question-how vendor-neutral can consultants like PwC remain, when they also partner some of the vendor companies?

And before one jumps to conclusion or starts a counter offensive to this poser, here is another startling fact: While PwC was a consultant for the GOAP e-Procurement project that was bagged by C1 India, the two companies joined hands as partners to bid and bag NIC’s e-Procurement project recently. All this, while PwC is still working as the consultant responsible for preparing the RFP for the GOK and GOCG e-Procurement projects! (It’s entirely a different matter that Nextender has obtained a stay order at the Delhi High Court against the awarding of the tender till the final decision. Indeed, ITI had at one point of time complained that it was not allowed to bid on the basis of an eligibility criteria that did not exist.)

Needless to say, this is not the desirable situation as the relationship between the two companies may willingly, or unwillingly, have an adverse influence on the RFP for all e-governance projects being prepared by PwC, particularly, the two current consultancy assignments related to e-procurement.

To say that people at the helm of the affairs may not be aware of this or might have missed this, would be worse than saying that we are living in a “fool’s paradise”.

Shubhendu Parth

COUNTERPOINT: Read response by Srivatsa Krishna, IAS on the report “The Egovernance Muddle” published in Dataquest dated August 31, 2005. Krishna is currently working with the World Bank in Washington, DC.

Posted in eGov Muddle | Leave a Comment »

Creative Commons, India Launch

Posted by egovindia on January 22, 2007

Creative Commons, India Launch

Creative Commons, India [cc-india.org] will be launched on January 26th
[4:00 pm to 6:00 pm] at F. C. Kohli Auditorium, KReSIT, IIT Bombay, Powai,
Mumbai.

See map for directions to get to IIT Bombay, Powai:
http://www.iitb. ac.in/campus/ howto/howtoget. html
http://www.iitb. ac.in/campus/ howto/iitblayout .html [Building No. 37]

Confirmed speakers at the launch event:
Mr. Joichi Ito [Chairman, Creative Commons]
Dr. Catharina Maracke [Creative Commons, Global Coordinator]
Mr. Nandu Pradhan [President and Managing Director, Red Hat, India]
Mr. Anurag Kashyap [Film Director, Script and Screenplay Writer]
Prof. Deepak Phatak [KReSIT, IIT Bombay]
Lawrence Liang [Legal Lead, Creative Commons, India]

Workshops:
Two parallel workshops on Creative Commons: January 26th & 27th
1. Do We Need Remix? [www.techfest. org/workshops/ remix/]IDC Lab
2. Sharing Is Creating [www.techfest. org/workshops/ sic/]C-DEEP Lab

Joint CC Stall:
A joint Creative Commons, Novell, Google, Creative.linux stall will be
accessible on the ground floor of Shailesh J. Mehta School of Management
building, IIT Bombay.

Please contact Shishir K. Jha, Project Lead, CC-India for further details
[see cc-india.org] :

Shailesh J. Mehta School of Management
IIT Bombay, Powai
Mumbai – 400 076
E-mail: skjha[at]iitb. ac.in
Tel: 022-25767845, 9892490140

%%%%%%%%%%%% %%%%%%%%% %%%%%%%%% %%%%%%%%% %%%%%%%%% %%%%%%%%% %%%%%%%%% %%

Information on Mr. Joichi Ito [Main speaker on the theme event]

Mr. Joichi Ito is a Japanese-born and American-educated businessman who
has many areas of interest and expertise. He was recently appointed as the
Chairman of Creative Commons. He is also the Chairman of iCommons [the
international Creative Commons].

He runs the World of Warcraft guild, which is composed of several venture
capitalists, CEOs and other influential members of the Internet economy.
He also wears many other hats. He is, among other things, general manager
of international operations for Technorati, chairman of Six Apart Japan,
founder and chief executive of venture capital firm Neoteny, and a board
member of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers [ICANN],
Mozilla Foundation and the Open Source Initiative. He is is also the
founder of Digital Garage, PSINet, Japan and Infoseek, Japan.

Mr. Ito will speak about the importance of Creative Commons for a growing
global digital culture in light of the launch of the Indian creative
commons jurisdiction on January 26th. The intimate interaction between
technology, law and culture in digital products is creating new challenges
for enterprises, individuals and other organizations. How is the digital
landscape getting altered with the emergence of licenses such as creative
commons? Can new models be envisaged which will seriously accommodate the
sharing ethos of the common individual? These and many more issues will be
addressed by Mr. Joi Ito.

Posted in OPEN SOURCE FOSS | Leave a Comment »

OPEN STANDARDS INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM (OSIS) AT YALE LAW SCHOOL

Posted by egovindia on January 22, 2007

OPEN STANDARDS INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM (OSIS) AT YALE LAW SCHOOL

{ NO ONE FROM INDIA ??????  NO ONE FROM INDIA ??????  NO ONE FROM INDIA ??????  }

The Information Society Project at Yale Law School cordially invites you to
attend the Open Standards International Symposium (OSIS), scheduled for
February 3, 2007, at Yale Law School in New Haven, CT. Anyone interested in
attending is encouraged to register at
http://research. yale.edu/ isp/eventsosis. html.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) standards are increasingly
serving as a locus of political and economic controversy. Technical standards,
though not made by legislatures or elected representatives,
increasingly mediate
between prevailing social tensions such as access to information
versus property
rights and law enforcement versus individual civil liberties. Economically, the
intellectual property arrangements underlying standards determine the
competitive openness of certain technology markets and intersect directly with
global trade conflicts. Technically, recent interoperability problems in
government services like disaster response have prompted renewed political
interest in open standards around the globe. Despite the significance of open
standards in the global ICT context, even the meaning of openness is a
contentious topic. OSIS will be the first academic conference to examine
concepts of open standards in the larger context of technology, markets,
politics, and law.

During this ground-breaking symposium, a distinguished international group of
technologists, policymakers, entrepreneurs, executives, lawyers, computer
scientists, and activists will map out the terrain of open standards issues in
four panels: (1) Technology; (2) Economics; (3) Politics; and (4) Law.

For a full conference description and to register for the event, please visit
the symposium web site at http://research. yale.edu/ isp/eventsosis. html.

Confirmed speakers include:
An Baisheng, Deputy Division Chief, WTO Department, Ministry of Commerce,
People’s Republic of China
Jack Balkin, Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First
Amendment, and
Director, Information Society Project, Yale Law School
Daniel Benoliel, ISP Fellow Alumnus, Information Society Project, Yale Law
School
Vittorio Bertola, At-Large Advisory Committee, ICANN; President & CTO, Dynamic
Fun
Sherrie Bolin, President and CEO, The Bolin Group
Geoffrey Bowker, Professor & Executive Director, Center for Science,
Technology,
and Society, Santa Clara University
Carl Cargill, Chief Standards Officer, Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Laura DeNardis, Visiting Fellow, Information Society Project, Yale Law School
Alexander Galloway, Assistant Professor, Culture & Communication, New York University
Linda Garcia, Professor & Director, Communication, Culture & Technology,
Georgetown University
Rishab Ghosh, Senior Researcher, United Nations University, Maastricht Economic
and Social Research Training Centre on Innovation & Technology
Robin Gross, Executive Director, IP Justice
Eddan Katz, Executive Director, Information Society Project, and Lecturer in
Law, Yale Law School
Ken Krechmer, Fellow, International Center for Standards Research,
University of
Colorado, Boulder
John Morris, Director, Internet Standards, Technology, and Policy Project,
Center for Democracy and Technology
John Palfrey, Executive Director, Berkman Center for Internet & Society;
Clinical Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
Huang Rengang, Minister Counsellor of the Permanent Mission to the
WTO, People’s
Republic of China
Manon Ress, Director, Information Society Projects, Consumer Project on
Technology
Robert Shaw, Deputy Head, Strategy and Policy Unit, International
Telecommunications Union (ITU)
Peter Strickx, General Manager, Architecture & Standards, Fedict, Belgium
Bob Sutor, Vice President, Standards and Open Source, IBM Corp.
Natalie Sunker, Republic of South Africa, Deputy Director, Intellectual
Property, Policy & Legislation, Department of Trade and Industry
Andrew Updegrove, Partner, Gesmer Updegrove LLP
John Wilson, Lead Economist, Development Economics Research Group,
International Trade, The World Bank

Posted in OPEN SOURCE FOSS | Leave a Comment »

Huge New Study On Free/Open Software

Posted by egovindia on January 21, 2007

Huge New Study On Free/Open Software

Wednesday, 17 January 2007
Huge New Study On Free/Open Software
Topic: software

http://blog. wired.com/ monkeybites/ 2007/01/huge_ new_study_ .html

There’s an interesting, albeit rather long, new study
available from an international, interdisciplinary team of researchers
that documents Free/Libre/Open Source Software (FLOSS) and its
economic influences on the EU.

The full text of the 287 page report, entitled “Economic impact of
open source software on innovation and the competitiveness of the
Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) sector in the EU,” is
available online (PDF). The report provides the most thorough and
comprehensive look at the contributions of the FLOSS community that
I’ve ever seen.

While most of the statistic’s and numbers are geared toward the EU and
European nations in general (the lead contractor of the study was
UNU-MERIT from the Netherlands) , the study nevertheless provides a
fascinating look at free software and its impact on the world at
large.

Particularly stunning is the estimated time to reproduce this software
in proprietary format (131,000 person years) and the estimated amount
of donated programming effort in monetary terms (800 million Euros per
year).

Here’s some more highlights pulled straight from the text (emphasis mine):

* Almost two-thirds of FLOSS software is still written by individuals;
firms contribute about 15% and other institutions another 20%.

* Europe is the leading region in terms of globally collaboratingNorth \America (interestingly, more in the
East Coast than the West). Asia and Latin America.

* The existing base of quality FLOSS applications with reasonable
quality control and distribution would cost firms almost Euro 12
billion to reproduce internally. This code base has been doubling
every 18-24 months over the past eight years, and this growth is
projected to continue for several more years.

* This existing base of FLOSS software represents a lower bound of
about 131 000 real person-years of effort that has been devoted
exclusively by programmers. As this is mostly by individuals not
directly paid for development, it represents a significant gap in
national accounts of productivity. Annualised and adjusted for growth
this represents at least Euro 800 million in voluntary contribution
from programmers alone each year, of which nearly half are based in
Europe.

* Firms \nhave invested an estimated Euro 1.2 billion in developing
FLOSS software that \nis made freely available. Such firms represent in
total at least 565 000 jobs \nand Euro 263 billion in annual revenue.
Contributing firms are from several \nnon-IT (but often ICT intensive)
sectors, and tend to have much higher \nrevenues than non-contributing
firms.

* Defined broadly, FLOSS-related \nservices could reach a 32% share of
all IT services by 2010, and the \nFLOSS-related share of the economy
could reach 4% of European GDP by \n2010.

* Proprietary packaged software firms account for well below 10% \nof
employment of software developers in the U.S., and “IT user” \nfirm

FLOSS software developers, and leads in terms of global project
leaders, followed closely by North America (interestingly, more in the
East Coast than the West). Asia and Latin America.

* The existing base of quality FLOSS applications with reasonable
quality control and distribution would cost firms almost Euro 12
billion to reproduce internally. This code base has been doubling
every 18-24 months over the past eight years, and this growth is
projected to continue for several more years.

* This existing base of FLOSS software represents a lower bound of
about 131 000 real person-years of effort that has been devoted
exclusively by programmers. As this is mostly by individuals not
directly paid for development, it represents a significant gap in
national accounts of productivity. Annualised and adjusted for growth
this represents at least Euro 800 million in voluntary contribution
from programmers alone each year, of which nearly half are based in
Europe.

* Firms have invested an estimated Euro 1.2 billion in developing
FLOSS software that is made freely available. Such firms represent in
total at least 565 000 jobs and Euro 263 billion in annual revenue.
Contributing firms are from several non-IT (but often ICT intensive)
sectors, and tend to have much higher revenues than non-contributing
firms.

* Defined broadly, FLOSS-related services could reach a 32% share of
all IT services by 2010, and the FLOSS-related share of the economy
could reach 4% of European GDP by 2010.

* Proprietary packaged software firms account for well below 10% of
employment of software developers in the U.S., and “IT user” firm

Posted in OPEN SOURCE FOSS | Leave a Comment »

My five point agenda to curb corruption practices in India by Vavani Sarmah

Posted by egovindia on January 21, 2007

 My five point agenda to curb corruption practices in India by Vavani Sarmah

For last decade India’s development and progress is significant. India positioned itself for a prospective developed nation in the world by this century. GDP increases and it has been predicted that GDP will grow up to $17,000 by 2015. Still in case of corruption, India’s existing systems is one of the corrupted in the entire world. Common people are the victims of this corruption. People need to bribe officials for any small thing to work. My five point agenda to curb corruption –

 

1)     Tough government regulation is the key to curb this practices among its officials. We need a law to make sure that if any official found guilty on bribery, action to be taken like

i)         First thing is to confiscate his/her PF or pension fund forever.

ii)       Pay fines upfront then proof not guilty and get the paid fine back

iii)      Temporary or permanent present of CBI/anti-corruption representative in the most vulnerable departments

iv)      Yearly town hall meeting to make awareness among its employeeàhigh lighting departmental mission, product and services.

(By productàmore job creation for those departments, increase of government fund, improve employee morale)

2)     Systems need to be improved in such a way, so that common public interaction becomes very minimal and becomes window base system with most of the government departments where possible. And office environment needs to be improved so that every transaction becomes more transparent. Officers to interact with common public through a counter like in Bank. Officers in the other side of the window. (By productàLess traffic to the department result more productive work for the officers)

3)       Identify most corrupted departments and points and install CCTV or surveillance camera which will be run and operate by third party preferably private sector participation. CCTV/ surveillance camera records will be analysed and monitor by other government departments like Anti-Corruption, CBI etc. (By productàJob creation for private sector, revenue stream for CBI or anti-corruption department etc)

4)     Introduce one mandatory chapter against corruption and its consequence and available law in the country in class 8th standards social study book sooner than later to make awareness among the prospective citizen of our country.(By productàbooks with more information)

5)     Identify each and every department’s products and services and time takes for each services and mandatory display in public places for whole year and published once in a year in one popular daily newspaper. (By productàrevenue stream for Newspaper industry)

Vavani Sarmah

Seattle, USA

Sat, 20 Jan 2007

“Vavani Sarmah” <vavani@yahoo.com>

Posted in eCorruption Initiatives | 2 Comments »

Let us ask GoAP and NIC and NISG : Whose server the info of eProcurement is ON ?

Posted by egovindia on January 21, 2007

Can GoAP, NIC, NISG, Add’l Secretary R. Chandrashekar, CEO of NISG J. Sathyanarayana answer this question ?

About the eProcurement of GoAP information on whose server it is on ?

Did GoAP followed the IT Act of 2000 ?

Did GoAP IT Secretaries followed Accountability and Transparency in awarding the eProcurement contract ?

How did GoAP disqualified other bidders before awarding the eProcurement contract ?

Did It Secretary of GoAP followed instructions from NISG on this ?

Posted in eProcurement issues | Leave a Comment »

Security Checks to be maintained in e-Procurement as recommended by Indian IT Act 2000

Posted by egovindia on January 21, 2007

Security Checks to be maintained in e-Procurement as recommended by Indian IT Act 2000

Dear eGovINDIA Group Members,

Please find below an academic detail as how Online Bidding should be secure and Transparent:-

(Andhra Pradesh to be investigated if e-Procurement is fulfilling these Security Features for Rs. 15000/- Crore of e-Procurement done)

An ideal eTendering/eProcurement application should comply with Information Technology Act 2000 in totality. To ensure that you existing eTendering/eProcurement application meets the above requirement, please check if it fulfills the security features checklist mentioned below.

1.      Simple Login ID & Password based Login

eTendering website should have dual authentication process i.e.

Login ID and Password based authentication &
Digital Certificate based authentication.

It is very easy for the service provider to retrieve Login ID & Password of any user form the database, if the same is not stored as it format as explained in point no. 2.

The existing application you are using does not have Digital Certificate based login, which means the service provider could log in any time as any bidder/buyer and view/modify/delete/ any data as he liked. Why has Digital Certificate based login system not been adopted on www.eprocurement.gov.in?

2.      MD5 Hash of password are stored in Database and not actual password

If password are stored in database in plain text format in database, then it is very easy for the service provider to know the Login ID & Password of any user. Storing the message digest of a password instead of the plain text password in the database is a universally accepted security best practice.

Message Digest/hash is basically a digital fingerprint of password generated using Hash Algorithm. For eg. Message Digest of a password like Apple is 9f6290f4436e5a2351f12e03b6433c

3c.

The beauty of Hash algorithm is that every time Apple with capital A is typed from anywhere in the world, it will result in same Message Digest/Hash. Also Message Digest/Hash is irreversible i.e. from 9f6290f4436e5a2351f12e03b6433c3c no one can know that the original password i.e. Apple. The only person on the world to know the actual password is the person who specifies at time of Login ID creation.

Are passwords converted to message digest before being stored in your eTendering site? If not, why? This technology is a more than a decade old and is so secure that it has not been cracked so far.

3.      Digitally Signed Bids

As per IT ACT 2000, all Bids submitted by bidders should be digitally signed.  Please check if the bid that are submitted by your bidders are digitally signed and submitted on you eTendering website.

A Bid that is not digitally signed can be easily viewed and tampered with by the service provider. If the bidder whose bid has been tampered puts any allegation on the service provider, there is no way it can be proved that service provider had not tampered the bid. If the bids are digitally signed, and if the same are tampered, it can be detected easily.

IT ACT 2000 was in place since 2000, Digital Certificate were publicly available since 2002 and first digitally signed eTender was enabled in July 2003 in India. Why did your service provider not integrate Digital Certificates till March 2005. Why did the most IT savvy state of Andhra Pradesh not integrated Digital Certificates for eTendering as mandated in IT ACT 2000.

Why did the government of AP allow a service provider who didn’t have PKI enabled (Digital Certificate enabled) eTendering application to offer eTendering services to various government departments?

4.      Access to price bid before Tender due date.

Ideally the bid submitted by Bidders should be first digitally signed and encrypted before it is submitted on the eTendering website. Bid encryption (data enveloping) should be as per IT ACT 2000. In this process the Bid are digitally signed and encrypted using digital certificate.

The benefits of Digital Certificate based encryption is that it cannot be deciphered by service provider. Only the individual whose Digital Certificate is used for encryption, can decipher it.

In case of Andhra Pradesh as till March 2005 Digital Certificate were not used, why?

How were price bids being encrypted? By using which technology? Did that technology have legal credibility?

If encryption was done using some proprietary tool, then the existing service provider  could very well decipher and know the bids of all bidders even before due date and time of opening.

So far Rs. 15,000 cr. worth of eTendering that has been done enabled on www. eprocurement.gov.in, what is the assurance that there was no malpractise like viewing price bids before due date and time, as well as modifying price bids after due date and time?

5.      Biometric Based Authentication

To ensure that Buyer was present at time of Tender Opening, biometric based authentication is very crucial. As eTendering is a web based technology, privilege users like administrator can access any content. The biometric device restricts this access to the authorised persons from the buyer side to access the website.

6.      128 Bit SSL

The data that is exchanged between Bidders (client) and Website (sever) should happen over a secure network such that hackers cannot hack the data in transit and read/tamper the data.  For the same, as per IT ACT, 128 SSL certificate should be used.

To detect whether any malpractice took place, as well as to take effective steps to ensure that further malpractices are not possible, we suggest that you take proactive steps to institute an internal inquiry as well as undertake a comprehensive security audit of the eTendering system you have been using.  Taking such a step will protect your interests.  If you require, we can undertake this audit for you, free of cost.  We will check if the security features are in place, including 25 security checks as per the IT Act 2000.  It is also in your interests to refrain from using the current eTendering system till either it is given a clean chit or the security issues identified are corrected.

Posted in NIC | Leave a Comment »

NIC Come Forward to ensure Public Fund Trusteeship, investigate on current e-Tendering

Posted by egovindia on January 21, 2007

Dear egovINDIA Group Members,

It is a very serious concern on our serious efforts towards bringing in e-Governance to its Best Form in India. Bangalore One and a lot others, the main Culprit is being our Tendering Procedure, let us first investigate if our e-Governance initiative in its first stage of e-Procurement is appropriate or If We are Plinthing the Curruption Tower by way of e-Governance (e-Tendering).

“Does E-tendering is to fool the state, rob the people and go scot free.”

The functioning of the state is based on a strong process of checks and balances. This ensures that the state never makes prejudiced decisions.  This also ensures that the dealings of the state are always free, fair and transparent.

One process of the state is procurement.  The state is rarely subject to economic cycles of recession.  Even when the rest of the economy is reeling under recession, the state is still buying.  The procurement activity of the state is strictly guided by procedures such as tendering.  The process of tendering ensures that the state gets the best deal at the same time as allowing all qualified businesses to bid.

In the process of becoming all pervasive, information technology did not take long to come up with an eprocurement application.  The eprocurement applications targetted to the states procurement requirements are also known as eTendering applications.

Leveraging information technology for the states procurement process is a good thing.  It results in all the well known benefits of arising from application of information technology, lowered costs, increased efficiency, faster decision cycles, paperless, and so on.

But there are two important clauses of the tendering process.  All bids must be submitted in sealed envelopes, which are opened in presence of the participating bidders.  The wisdom of this is obvious.  The state cannot favour any particular bidder.  All the pages on the bids must be signed.  Again, the wisdom is obvious.  A page with a signature at the bottom gives essential legal sanctity to the document, and ties the signer with the statements on that page.

These were the hurdle seen by honest people, both in the government and in the solution provider space, in introducing information technology in the tendering process.  With efforts of these people, the parliament passed the Information Technology Act, 2000 on 9th June 2000.

In words of the Controller of Certifying Authorities (http://cca.gov.in):

Creating trust in electronic environment involves assuring the transacting parties about the integrity and confidentiality of the content of documents along with authentication of the sending and receiving parties in a manner that ensures that both the parties cannot repudiate the transaction. The paper based concepts of identification, declaration and proof are carried through the use of digital signatures in electronic environment. Digital signatures, a form of electronic signatures, are created and verified using Public Key Cryptography that is based on the concept of a key pair generated by a mathematical algorithm, the public and private keys.

The Information Technology Act, 2000 provides the required legal sanctity to the digital signatures based on asymmetric cryptosystems. The digital signatures are now accepted at par with handwritten signatures and the electronic documents that have been digitally signed are treated at par with paper documents.

With the passage of the IT Act, 2000, etendering could become a reality in this country.  Since the provisions of the act could be applied to the two important clauses of tendering.  The electronic bids could now be signed as well as sealed.

In absence of these measures, the following things could happen:

The bids submitted by a bidder could be viewed, by anyone who has access to the system where the bids are stored.  This is more incriminating the service provider rather than the state.  The service provider could have a nexus with a bidder to ensure that the bidder could get a report on who submitted which bid.
The bids submitted by a bidder could be modified.  This also incriminates the service provider more that it does the state.  The service provider could change the bid of a bidder.
A bidder can claim that the bid he submitted is not the bid being viewed, meaning that his bid was tampered with afte he submitted it.  This allegation, whether real or not, would jeopardise the careers of many honest state employees at the same time create ripples in the political arena.

If we look at the scale of procurement by the state, we will see figures like Rs. 15,000 crores in about 2 years.    Calculate, if you can, 1% of 15,000 crores.  Now all those who feel that the services providers of etendering applications not using digital certificates, and all their employees, were completely ethical at all times, raise your hands.

We need to get a full scale investigation and audit on all the tenders processed through all the etendering application which did not use digital certificates.

The state was definitely fooled, but if the people were robbed, the robbers should not get away scot free.

Please also refer my earlier postings on the same subject and be transparent to comment, i`m ready to rectify me if shared more lights on the subject, but it is of very serious concern to our Nation and Growth ( Just by purifying our Public Procurement System we can graduate to 4 times of our current Growth pattern ).

Posted in NIC | 1 Comment »