eGovernance in India

Improving eGovernance in INDIA

Archive for December, 2007

The year when computers finally reach kids:Two international models are ready for roll-out in Indian schools

Posted by egovindia on December 29, 2007

The year when computers finally reach kids :  

Anand Parthasarathy

Two international models are ready for roll-out in Indian schools

— Photo: Carla Gomez Monroy/OLPC by special arrangement.

HANDS ON EXPERIENCE: Children in the local school at Khairat-Dhangarwada, Raigadh district, Maharashtra, get a first look at the XO laptop. Bangalore: More than 200 students from Kerala’s higher secondary schools — and an equal number of teacher-mentors — converged on Saturday on Technopark, on the outskirts of the State capital. Many of them took part in IT quizzes, digital painting contests — and on Sunday are slated for a privileged “mukha-mukham” or face-to-face encounter with the Park’s technology leaders.

This is the biggest-ever Schools IT Festival held in Kerala — the first visible evidence of what nearly half-a-lakh personal computers placed in 2,800 schools (government and private) have achieved by way of e-nabled education in about two years.

Better endowed Interestingly, government schools seem to be better endowed PC-wise: a personal computer for every 72 children against between 91 and 136 in aided or self-financing private institutions.

Other States are less fortunate — and the cost of a PC often creates a ‘digital divide’ within the Indian school system — separating the better-off private institutions from the public education system.

That may change — albeit in small ways — in 2008. For the first time, we have a choice of computing platforms specially designed, for use by Indian schoolchildren.

HCL has started manufacturing ClassMate PC, a “kid-proof laptop,” with special software for interactive classroom applications — and a suite of Made-for-India software from Educomp. The platform with a 7-inch screen was almost wholly designed by Intel engineers based in Bangalore.

While the native design was for a Windows operating environment, HCL has decided to offer it with a Linux flavour if required. The price is around Rs.18,000-20,000 but the current thinking is to offer it as a bundle with wireless connectivity for schools which will add a small amount to the fee. This model is likely to work only in private schools, for now.

OLPC initiative The much-publicised One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative of Professor Nicholas Negroponte’s group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has seen its own school computer, now dubbed the XO, being tried out in a few key markets, mostly in Africa and South America.

The fanless, diskless solid-state storage-based laptop is fuelled by an AMD chip and runs Open Source software only. The unit price is closer to $200 than the initially projected $100 — and while the Indian government has not taken an official view on its deployment here, the XO has in fact reached children in a school at Khairat-Dhangarwada in Raigadh district, Maharashtra.

OLPC volunteers were in the school for a fortnight in September-October this year to help the teacher and children use the machines meaningfully. Their experience has been fully documented here: ( #Panorama).

Ironically, India’s own affordable PC platform for the masses — the Mobilis — developed for the CSIR by Encore Software (one of the two companies which created variants of the Indian handheld device, the Simputer), is yet to be seen on shop shelves. The government, which unveiled the under-Rs.10,000, Linux-based, laptop-desktop hybrid two years ago with much fanfare has seemingly done little to take the design to production.

Encore is competing with the XO for educational markets in Brazil and elsewhere.

Tools are ready With two, and hopefully three, offerings ready for classroom deployment, India’s more pro-active State governments have the tools at last, to fuel their own classroom revolution in 2008. Non-governmental funding by voluntary agencies is known to be more forthcoming these days — so, money may not be a hurdle. All it needs is the conviction that the time has come to make IT happen for our children.


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ARTICLES WRITTEN ABOUT C. UMASHANKAR’s Achievements in eGovernance in Tamilnadu.

Posted by egovindia on December 18, 2007


Achievements in  eGovernance in Tamilnadu.

An IAS officer who established first e-district in the country in 1999,
Please look into this and question yourself !!

Tiruvarur e-Governance Project – YEAR 1999 – 30 pages in detail.
Transformation of the India’s first e-district by tech. savvy I.A.S. officer Mr. Umashankar.

India E-district :: Process Automation based e-governance implementation

An IAS officer who established first e-district in the country, possibly the first in Asia. His e-governance made procedures simpler for the public and introduced transparency in the administration.

No entry for professionals

ANIL DHARKER Sunday, Jun 15, 2003

Is there any merit in the argument that doctors and engineers need not apply for the IAS?


Umashankar still cooling his heels

By Radha Venkatesan July 26th, 2001.


Land record systems revisited – October 2003,

C Umashankar
C Umashankar
IAS, Commissioner, Disciplinary
Proceedings Salem, Tamil Nadu, India

An integrated computerised land administration system is still at dream level all over India. The need of the hour in India is to formulate a scheme to integrate the text based land record data with the graphic (map) data. There are serious issues arising out of the above proposition due to the enormity of the task involved.


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What is e-governance? Why Bangalore One cannot be considered e-governance? By Mr. C. Umashankar IAS

Posted by egovindia on December 18, 2007

What is e-governance? And why Bangalore one is  not e-governance?


Author: C.Umashankar IAS.,

Date: 17-3-05


What is e-governance? And why Bangalore one is  not e-governance?

Under e-governance scenario, the Government and its citizens/business houses should be able to transact all their activities or at least majority of activities without meeting each other using Information technology tools such as internet, public kiosks etc.

For example, when a citizen wants to get a ration card, he/she should be able to apply and get the ration card without physically going to the Taluka office. Similarly, when a widow wants to get a widow pension she should be able to get it by applying through the village or block level internet centre.

Or, a farmer wanting to get a land extract / cultivation extract should be able to do it without going to any government official through the internet or public kiosks.

Going to the Government offices and waiting there to get these services should be only an optional one. The citizens should have a choice of going to the internet centres or the government offices to get their works done with the Government.


This can be achieved only through the following steps:

1. Government offices should be computerised using online workflow procedure. That means all the paper based registers have to be given up and all government works have to be carried out only through computers.

2. All Government employees working in the areas where e-governance is proposed have to be computer trained and each one should be given user ID and password to operate the system.

3. All these government employees have to be trained in their area of operation in the software.

4. The Government servers should be connected to the internet so that the citizens   and business houses are enabled to access the Government information at any time and also enabled to file all their requests/applications online. The scope for meeting government officials should be reduced to the  extent that only where statutorily  such physical presence is required they  should be asked to meet the government officials.

5. All applications or requests from citizens/business houses should be received only through online procedure using internet as medium.

6. STD booths or similar public kiosks should be authorised to intermediate between the citizens and the government. This includes online remittance facility too.


A similar facility should be made available to the business houses too.

Why Bangalore One cannot be considered e-governance?


None of the above 6 parameters mentioned above are proposed to be built in Bangalore One.

  1. Bangalore one does not offer any e-governance service. It is a mechanism to do collection of various remittances such as BSNL telephone bill, electricity bill, water taxes, property taxes etc. No citizen can file his/her application for any government services online. Bill collection and e-governance are two different areas.
  2. Bangalore one does not intend to bring computers to government offices. Nor does it want to bring in online automation in government offices.
  3. Bangalore one does not look at Government servants to get involved in the project. It relies only on private partners to do bill collection.
  4. Bangalore one does not have any scope to provide service to the poor people.
  5. Bangalore one does not have scope to provide service to the rural/urban women self help groups.
  6. Bangalore one has nothing for the farmers and people living in rural areas.
  7. Bangalore one does not aim at reducing corruption in Government offices.
  8. Bangalore one does not envisage empowering the citizens, women or socially oppressed classes such as dalits.
  9. A typical e-governance project should free the citizens from the corrupt government officials and make them feel free and empowered. Bangalore one does not have any scope for reducing corruption or empowering women, rural citizens, dalits, farmers and SHGs.
  10. The user charges payable to the private company will be on permanent basis. The Government neither owns the bill collection software nor will it ever own it. It is a fraud on the people of Karnataka.
  11. Bangalore one is intended to benefit only the private partners and possibly for the officials who have master minded it. There is a distinct possibility that the officials involved in Bangalore one might have agreed to promote it for a  percentage of commission from the Bangalore One revenue. For this commission they seem to claim that Bangalore one is an e-governance project whereas it is not an e-governance project.


Bangalore one is a fraud that is being imposed on the people of Karnataka.


Posted in Tamilnadu eGovernance | Leave a Comment »

Mr. C. Umashankar IAS as MD of ELCOT achieved..

Posted by egovindia on December 18, 2007

ELCOT – Electronic Corporation of TamilNadu, … on youtube

It is great to see how staff have adopted to the new system. It is a commendable job to get them trained and make them accept, given the fact that motivation to do so would have been very low. Kudos to ELCOT and the Leadership to have taken this forward. Hope ELCOT can arrange for a fair or seminar to promote this in other states.

Linux free software for the blind,ELCOT’s efforts News clips

True Vision – Ubuntu Linux and ORCA for visually challenged ELCOT

ELCOT’s success story of Suse linux migration

Mr. Umashankar, IAS, MD of ELCOT, Interview on OSS by Hindu Businessline dated 19th Feb 07
http://www.thehindu businessline. com/ew/2007/ 02/19/stories/ 2007021900130400 .htm

Can Tamil Nadu Live Without Microsoft?

Posted in eGovernance Intiatives of Govt., Tamilnadu eGovernance | 1 Comment »

Use space technology and IT for rural development

Posted by egovindia on December 2, 2007

Use space technology and IT for rural development
New Delhi, PTI:
The Administrative Reforms Commission has recommended the use of space technology and global information systems by local bodies in villages and cities to hasten growth and increase efficiency and transparency in services. “Local governments should become one point service centres for providing various web-based and satellite based services,” the Commission said

In the latest recommendations submitted to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the Commission headed by Veerappa Moily cited the example of Jhabua in Madhya Pradesh and Qatar, a Middle East nation which saw explosive growth of infrastructure in last two decades, which have used space technology for growth.

“Space technology should be harnessed by the local bodies to create an information base and for providing services,” the Commission said in its report ‘Local Governance’.

“Local governments should become one point service centres for providing various web-based and satellite based services,” the Commission said, adding, “This would, however, require capacity building in the local governments.”

While making recommendation for a wider use of space technology, earth observation (EO) and global information system (GIS), the Commission noted with satisfaction that India was “taking lead” in putting the finest of space technology, including SatCom (satellite communication) and EO, into effective use at the grass root level of development.

The Commission observed the Madhya Pradesh government successfully harnessed space technology under Jhabua Development Communication Project(JDCP) and created a network of 150 direct reception terminals in 150 villages and 12 at the block headquarters.

The areas addressed under the overall umbrella of developmental communication included watershed development, agriculture, animal husbandry, forestry, women and child care, education and Panchayat Raj.

Qatar, a country of 5,22,000 people in the Gulf, is the first country to implement a comprehensive and integrated nation-wide GIS, the commission noted in its report.

“Today, Qatar’s state-of-the-art Digital Topographic Database provides a common base map for 16 government agencies through a high speed, fibre optic network,” the Commission said.

“The government saves money in delivering services like sewerage, electricity and water through a linked, up-to-date databases. Digital maps and locators allow fire trucks and ambulances to rapidly respond to emergencies,” the Commission pointed out.

Remote sensing has provided an important source of data for urban land use mapping and environment monitoring, and in fact ISRO’s CARTOSAT-2 satellite can map the terrain with one metre spatial resolution.

“Such imagery could be used by the local bodies in urban infrastructure and transportation system planning, monitoring and implementation, mapping individual settlements and internal roads, urban complexes and urban utilities,” the Commission noted in its report.

GIS-based studies for planning has been conducted on a few cities such as Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Lucknow, and Bangalore and the same could be extended to other cities and villages, the Commission observed.

It said these studies have “demonstrated the utility of multi-parameter database” in arriving at the useful guidelines for planning.

“Specifically, the remote sensing data can be used for urban land use, sprawl and suitability analysis for preparation of regional plans and preparation of existing and proposed land use,” the Commission pointed out.

The report also emphasised the increase use of information technology in order to reduce contact between the cutting edge functionaries and citizens.

“Information and communication technology should be utilised by the local governments in process simplification, enhancing transparency and accountability and providing delivery of services through single window,” the report said.

Posted in Administrative Reforms Commission ARC | 1 Comment »