eGovernance in India

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Umashankar’s suspension smacks of victimisation:: JAYA

Posted by egovindia on August 5, 2010

“Umashankar’s suspension smacks of victimisation”
Special Correspondent News » States » Tamil Nadu
CHENNAI, August 5, 2010
 
AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa has alleged that suspension of IAS officer C. Umashankar smacked of victimisation by the DMK government.
In a statement here on Wednesday, Ms. Jayalalithaa questioned the powers of the State government to place an IAS officer under suspension on the pretext that he had entered the Civil Services using a bogus community certificate.
“All civil service appointments in the country are done by the Union Public Service Commission. It is the responsibility of the UPSC to vet the antecedents of every recruit and verify their certificates,” she said.
She said the DMK government’s claim that Mr. Umashankar, belonging to Dalit community, had entered the service using a forged community certificate had given room for speculation on the reasons behind this.
Ms. Jayalalithaa recalled the government’s decision to launch Arasu Cable Corporation and the appointment of Mr. Umashankar as its Managing Director, and said the real motive behind it was to pose a challenge to the Maran brothers’ Sumangali Cable Vision (SCV).
Scapegoat
Ms. Jayalalithaa said after an agreement was suddenly reached between the warring cousins of Mr. Karunanidhi’s family, the IAS officer was made the scapegoat and shunted out.
She alleged that though Mr. Umashankar was appointed as the MD of Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu (ELCOT), he was removed from the post because he questioned the disappearance of ETL Infrastructure Ltd., a subsidiary of ELCOT, along with Rs. 700 crore assets.
Explanation sought
Demanding an explanation from Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi on what happened to ETL and the fate of the Rs. 400 crore invested in Arasu Cable Corporation, she wanted to know why was a Dalit officer in government service being victimised.
 
Keywords: C. Umashankar, AIADMK, DMK
 
http://www.thehindu.com/news/states/tamil-nadu/article551957.ece

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Posted in Andhra Pradesh eGovernance, Corruption in egovernance, COURTS in INDIA, DIT - MIT -, eGovINDIA Group, NANO Tech, NIC, NISG, NKC, RTI, Tamilnadu eGovernance, UNDP -NISG - NASSCOM, Whistleblowers, Worldbank | Leave a Comment »

eGovINDIA Group suggests Open source software should be the default software for e-governance operations. Setting up of open source support and research centres in every district.

Posted by egovindia on November 29, 2007

Open source software should be the default software for e-governance operations:

Open source software had come a long way to compete and even overtake proprietary software systems. The latest release of Novell Suse 10.0- open source version had been hailed to be a match, if not more than a match to the proprietary windows operation system. Open source movement offers a variety of rich and valuable software packages free. Open source office suite – openoffice.org, open source database system – Postgresql, open source report writing software – ireport,  open source GIS software – OpenGIS , Netbeans for linux for software development, Apache Tomcat, Resin, Jboss etc., provide a great deal of flexibility to the users to configure the e-governance system. Developed countries themselves have started adopting the open source systems and open standards. India needs to spell out a policy towards use of open source systems and open standards in e-governance operations. (It is quite strange that a few State governments and NISG have struck a deal with Microsoft for using Microsoft’s proprietary technology at huge cost. This is not a logical step because Microsoft does not offer any of its software free. Then why such MoUs? There seems to be huge corruption here).

 

Setting up of open source support and research centres in every district:

Open source software enables innovations. For a nation that aims at becoming a knowledge super power, it is extremely important that vital software packages that drive the computer systems should flow freely. Proprietary systems, by default cannot flow freely towards the needy. Only the open source software can be freely used by the research professionals and educational institutions. A GIS software or database software in the normal course costs a fortune. But the open source movement had provided these packages under GNU for free download. This freedom has to be encouraged through appropriate government assisted technical support centres at every district level. The District Informatics office under the control of NIC could be declared the open source support centre. The support centre’s services should be made available freely to the student community and all government offices.

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eGovINDIA group says Centralisation of e-governance planning by Government of India has to be given up in favour of States taking the lead.

Posted by egovindia on November 29, 2007

Centralisation of e-governance planning by Government of India has to be given up in favour of States taking the lead:

As on date, a handful of officials of Government of India have been acting the sole e-governance drivers. This is not a healthy trend for the nation. The National Institute of Smart Government has been formed with an aim to undercut the States.  With NISG under their control, these Government of India officials are able to operate like private agencies, taking over the role of the State governments as well as the central Government.

Ideally speaking, the States should be given their due. Funds meant for e-governance should be distributed to the States. Leadership building at State level should be taken up instead of driving the e-governance movement through NISG which has neither any expertise nor legitimacy. The Govt. may take an appropriate view on this subject.

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Relevance of e-governance. Native language support in e-governance. Transparency in all e-governance initiatives. Implementation of RTI Act. Government employees to be the first major stake holders. Need for a Whistle Blowers’ protection Act.

Posted by egovindia on November 29, 2007

Relevance of e-governance.

Public administration in India is marred by corruption and red tappism which had resulted in an anomalous situation whereby the laws of the lands are being twisted according to the executive/bureaucracy’s whims and fancies. The underlying problem is the Tottenham system that has been in use all over India since independence. The Tottenham system believes in creating multiple manual records for a single transaction on the belief that if one record gets destroyed, the other original record would come handy. This had resulted in a  situation where the bureaucracy in India works only to feed itself with more and more book keeping work, with hardly any concern for the citizen. The other result is rampant corruption and red tappism in public administration. Certain citizens have become more than equal in India due to these circumstances. This goes against the spirit of the Indian constitution.

Nearly 60 years into independence, India still witnesses a situation where a major portion of its population continues to remain marginalized. The well thought out schemes that were introduced for the betterment of the marginalized population had been thwarted by the vested interests using the Tottenham system which enables secrecy and corruption.  

Naxalism which had been considered a bane has been gradually gaining legitimacy due to the all round failure of the systems.

Corruption and red tappism pose a serious threat to the effort to convert India into a Knowledge super power. Only a self confident nation can become a knowledge super power. The citizens of the nation have to feel empowered to interact with their own governments and its multiple agencies confidently before emanating the same level of confidence in building a knowledge super power. 

e-governance has the magical power to bring about the much awaited change in public administration. All the ills of the Tottenham system can be got over using process automation based e-governance system. E-governance is the only viable route to a transparent governance system.

Having emphasised the need for e-governance to act as a foundation to build India a knowledge super power, we would like to focus on certain areas where India has to concentrate to  steer clear of pitfalls in the e-governance implementation.

Definition of e-governance:

“Information and Communication Technology (ICT) that empowers the Government, its citizens including the Government employees, weaker sections, women, people living in far flung and difficult areas and the business houses to transact businesses with government and its agencies online 24/7 ”

This definition presupposes process automation at every level where e-governance is introduced. There is no scope for window dressing in such a professional set up. Utility bill collection system should not be confused with the process automation system that is being discussed here.

The litmus test for true e-governance is that the system should react at the same speed for a rich man as well as poor man. The same is the case when it comes to literate versus illiterate, men verses women and so on. The so called untouchables (Scheduled Castes) should feel themselves equal to the rest of the Indian citizens at least in their interaction with Government and its agencies online.

Agenda before the nation to achieve true e-governance

Having defined the concept, the egovINDIA group wishes to place its view points on how to achieve true e-governance.

Like any other advocacy groups, the egovINDIA feels strongly for and against certain policies and practices adopted at present by various governments in India, in the name of e-governance. The group considers strongly for any initiative in India that closely matches the above definition and it openly expresses its reservations when such policies are found to be in the interest of certain individuals or corporate only.

Requisites for a true take off in e-governance:

1.      Clear Information Technology and e-governance policy frame work from Government of India and respective State Governments.

The first mandatory pronouncement is that any e-governance initiative has to be process automation based system. A process automation system converts the existing manual workflow into electronic workflow with or without process reengineering. Process reengineering usually takes place when the system gets converted to the electronic form.

The resolve expressed by the executive is the most important factor for the commencement and survival of any e-governance initiative. Such a resolve has to be expressed through policy pronouncements followed by concrete rules and regulations.

2.      Expected outcome of e-governance initiative to be clearly spelt out before commencement. 

3.      A clear vision plan for the next 15-20 years with well defined and verifiable milestones is necessary.

4.      Objective evaluation of implementation of e-governance based on pre defined parameters to do course correction, if any.

5.      Legal framework to fund the e-governance movement.

6.      Government employees to be the first major stake holders: Involvement of all stake holders in e-governance initiative is essential to make it a success. The prime stake holders are the Government employees who at present handle the public administration using mostly the manual processing method. E-governance has to enable these employees to carry out their day-to-day functions online. The system undoubtedly has to talk their language and  it should provide them a complete solution. It had already been proved in the country’s first e-district that the Government employees are not monsters as depicted. The Government employees are ready to accept  e-governance system  as long as it satisfies their functional requirements with fool proof security and audit trail.

Enabling government employees to switch over to the e-governance system requires careful planning and execution. It is a case of prudent man management. There is a great role for e-champions in making this area a success.  

7.      Involvement of citizens and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in planning India’s e-governance policies.

8.      Qualifications of a CSO to advice and aid Government: It is preferable that the Government should engage the services of the CSOs which had not received any funding from Government for projects.

9.      Need for a Whistle Blowers’ protection Act: A strong e-governance system needs the  backing of a supporting Act such as the Whistleblowers’ protection Act. WBA would complement the e-governance system and make life easier for the citizens and business houses.

10.  Connectivity: Policy and funding for connecting all the 5 lakh villages of India. The Government owned BSNL had proved that it could provide digital connectivity to every nook and corner of the country. It had already achieved this feet by converting the entire analogue lines into digital lines even five years ago. The consumers had rated the BSNL as the most transparent billing company. BSNL’s broadband services (Data one) have been rated excellent by the consumers. Data One services have to be extended to the rural areas without any further loss of time. BSNL has its telephone exchanges touching Blocks and below the block level administrative set up. This is a huge strength on which BSNL can build India’s broadband revolution. All the Government installations, including schools, colleges, government / local body offices, hospitals, primary health centres and police stations  have to be connected using Data one services. BSNL had already proved that the Tax payers’ money spent on its infrastructure is a useful investment in bringing about the telecom revolution. This time, the Government of India has to come forward to fund BSNL for building the internet infrastructure to connect all the villages. Suitable tax holidays and tax concessions have to be provided to encourage the users to opt for the broadband services at the village level. It may not be a bad idea if the Government of India could announce 2006, the year of connectivity. The entire rural India should be broadband enabled within a period of 12 months to enable a quantum leap in knowledge revolution. Unless the rural schools get broadband connectivity, the dream of building a knowledge super power would not materialise. So, the earlier the rural areas get affordable broadband connectivity the better it is for the momentum to build a knowledge super power.

11.  Special treatment for difficult areas: Special provisions should be built for Bihar, North East, Hilly States such as Himachal and Uttranchal and Jammu & Kashmir to enable them to catch up with the rest of the States. For example, Bihar does not have electricity for major portion of its areas. There should be a special provision to provide power generators for the Government installations where e-governance is proposed in Bihar. Solar based power supply systems may also be considered. For these special efforts, suitable additional funding support has to be built into the plans. Similar is the case with North East and other difficult states.

12.  Addressing power problem using notebook PCs: An innovative solution could be thought about by providing notebook computers to the power starved areas with solar power back up systems so that these areas need not bother about investing in high cost power back up systems. The present day notebook PCs match the desktop PCs in performance as well as reliability. The price of the notebook PCs has come down drastically in the recent past. With suitable policy support, the Government of India could make the notebook PCs the default systems for Government offices. 

13.  Policy framework for e-champions within the bureaucracy, at all levels: For the Indian system, the role of e-champions from within the Government is a pre requisite for leading the e-governance momentum. These e-champions have to be identified on voluntary basis, trained and put in charge of strategising and implementing e-governance solutions.

14.  Need for change in civil service rules: Government employment should be thoroughly redefined. At present, the bureaucracy works on the principle of anonymity and secrecy. These principles go against e-governance based system which automatically seeks transparency in every sphere of activity. Anonymity of civil servants, though desirable, would be too difficult to achieve under a transparent system where everyone will be accountable for his/her commissions and omissions in a transparent manner. The rules the Central and State Civil Services need to be overhauled to suit the e-governance  based system.

15.  Women in e-governance: The country’s first e-district had proved that women employees far out numbered men in taking over the e-champion’s role. Similarly, the women beneficiaries outnumbered men in availing social security benefits through e-governance. Hence there is a need to have special focus on role for women in e-governance.

16.  Native language support in e-governance.

17.  Setting up of National and state level e-governance authority in the lines of Election Commission of India: In order to strategise, monitor and carry out course correction exercise, the Government may consider setting up of e-governance authorities in the lines of the RTI Commissioners. The authority should be vested with powers matching the Election Commission of India. At present, the e-governance initiative of the country is handled by a handful of IAS officers which is an aberration.

18.  Adequate representation to SC/STs, minorities such as Muslims and Christians, women, people from rural areas in e-governance committees.

19.  Transparency in all e-governance initiatives. Implementation of RTI Act at all levels.

20.  IT in school education. Role of CSOs such as Azim Premji foundation in providing multi media education for the poor: Schools should be provided with multi media based education material across the nation. This would provide a level playing field to all the students, notably the rural students. India can become a knowledge super power only if it empowers its rural students to come up on par with the urban students.  In this connection, the NKC may consider recognising the role of Azim Premji foundation which has been supplying multi media based study materials to schools in different Indian languages free of cost. Azim premji foundation may be made the nodal agency for the entire nation to sphere head this movement.

21.  Citizen feedback on e-governance activities: There is a need to enable the common man to contribute to the development of e-governance in public administration by keeping a window open for the citizens to send their opinions and suggestions.

Advocacy areas:

The following are a few areas which the egovINDIA group strongly feels about. Any one may consider these views while formulating its recommendations to Government.

1.      Focus on urban population or rural population? So far, the e-governance movement had focussed on urban citizens. The notable exceptions are the West Godawari (AP) and Akshya (Kerala) experiments. This is not the logical step to say the least. The population which is more affected by the Tottenham system is the rural poor because the poor do not have any bargaining capacity nor do they have the means to pay the illegal bribes. Today, the rural poor cannot get the Old Age Pension benefit unless they bribe the lower level officials. Nor they can get any government service unless they approach the government officials through touts, that too at a special cost.  Good governance is a matter of livelihood for the rural population whereas it is a matter of luxury for the urban people. The convent English speaking corrupt bureaucracy would always prefer to serve the urban population  because of various factors. Firstly, it provides them name and fame easily through the urban focussed print and other media. Secondly, it provides them illegal wealth or power or both. In the interest of the nation, the NKC may intervene and do the course correction. E-governance has to focus on providing services to the poor first, notably the poor in the rural areas before the same is taken up in urban areas.

2.      Role of private sector partner in e-governance: Should the private sector run the Government services sans the Government or Government servants’ involvement?  This question is being raised increasingly in the light of the replication of Andhra Pradesh’s e-seva in different states in different names. The case of Bangalore One in Karnataka is an example. The e-govINDIA group strongly feels that the private partner should be involved in software development, hand holding support and then maintenance of the software & database. Their role should not be extended to running the services on their own as it has many negative side effects. The first and foremost among the negative side effects is that instead of reducing corruption, such initiatives generate large scale e-corruption. Transparency is given a goby. None of the empowerment factors get enabled through such arrangements. Only the private partner gets empowered with more revenue. Madras University had shown the way for the rest of India by engaging a private partner to develop its e-governance software and then help the university with hand holding for nearly two years after the initial implementation. This is the right way to go. The NKC may study the Madras University pattern and take an appropriate view.

3.      Role of women Self Help Groups (SHGs) as partners for providing Government services. There is a tendency to hand over the utility bill collection operations to a private partner and then call it a great e-governance initiative. Suggestions to hand over such routine yet lucrative revenue bearing tasks to women self help groups had been met with ridicule by IAS officers manning e-governance positions. The group considers it a gross misadventure to leave out the women self help groups. It is the considered opinion of this group that the Government services should be front ended by the women self help groups. In the absence of women self help groups alone, the Governments should look for private corporate partners.

4.      Open source software should be the default software for e-governance operations: Open source software had come a long way to compete and even overtake proprietary software systems. The latest release of Novell Suse 10.0- open source version had been hailed to be a match, if not more than a match to the proprietary windows operation system. Open source movement offers a variety of rich and valuable software packages free. Open source office suite – openoffice.org, open source database system – Postgresql, open source report writing software – ireport,  open source GIS software – OpenGIS , Netbeans for linux for software development, Apache Tomcat, Resin, Jboss etc., provide a great deal of flexibility to the users to configure the e-governance system. Developed countries themselves have started adopting the open source systems and open standards. India needs to spell out a policy towards use of open source systems and open standards in e-governance operations. (It is quite strange that a few State governments and NISG have struck a deal with Microsoft for using Microsoft’s proprietary technology at huge cost. This is not a logical step because Microsoft does not offer any of its software free. Then why such MoUs? There seems to be huge corruption here).

5.      Setting up of open source support and research centres in every district: Open source software enables innovations. For a nation that aims at becoming a knowledge super power, it is extremely important that vital software packages that drive the computer systems should flow freely. Proprietary systems, by default cannot flow freely towards the needy. Only the open source software can be freely used by the research professionals and educational institutions. A GIS software or database software in the normal course costs a fortune. But the open source movement had provided these packages under GNU for free download. This freedom has to be encouraged through appropriate government assisted technical support centres at every district level. The District Informatics office under the control of NIC could be declared the open source support centre. The support centre’s services should be made available freely to the student community and all government offices.

6.       Mission mode projects – is the bureaucracy capable of heading mission mode projects? The term “mission” pre supposes sacrifice and helping others. Currently, the bureaucrats who were utter failures in the field in providing proactive public service to the common man had taken over the leadership positions in e-governance. This is not a healthy trend for building a self confident nation. Bureaucrats, by definition are not fit to head any mission mode projects as they are not meant to be missionaries. The rare exceptions are the missionaries who had joined the bureaucracy. It is time the entire e-governance leadership is handed over to the national and state level e-governance authorities as proposed in the earlier part of this write up.

7.      Indian e-governance effort should not result in a mere market for selling the ready made products of multi nationals: The trend at present has been to encourage development of ready made products and then purchase the same by various State Governments from the same companies. The case of e-seva/Bangalore one and e-procurement are the dangerous pointers. Governments have to acquire the source code and host the source code for free download by other Governments. The citizens also would be enabled to support the Government software packages by identifying and informing the lacuna found in the source code, if any.

8.      Compulsory e-governance in higher education: Our students undergoing higher education should have a first hand experience in using e-governance system during their college days.  This is one of the steps in making a self confident India, marching towards knowledge super power status.

9.      Knowledge commission and higher education – The case for more Deemed Universities and autonomous technical institutions: If India were to supply the global demand for technical manpower, it needs to encourage more private players to commence Deemed Universities. Colleges which had shown a credible trend for 10 years should be given autonomous status through automatic route. The unfortunate trend is that many colleges which apply for autonomous status are forced to wait for years by the State Governments which simply sit over the proposals. The current move to curb the independence enjoyed by the deemed universities is a retrograde step. The Government must allow the market forces to determine the weightage of the Deemed universities. Regulatory agencies such as the Medical Council of India and AICTU had enhanced the cost of education through bureaucratic delays and huge corruption.

10.  The role of NISG.

This paragraph had been withdrawn after detailed discussions.

11.  NASSCOM in NISG – role to be defined to save its name.

12.  Cheating in the name of e-governance. 

This paragraph had been withdrawn after detailed discussions.

13.  An aberration called Village Knowledge Centre (VKC): The Village Knowledge Centre concept is being pushed without making any assessment. The five star culture driven CSOs have been ruling the roost. The kiosk experiments have failed wherever it had been started. No assessment had been done on these failed experiments. In the absence of e-governance content, the kiosks can at the best act as e-mail centres and at the worst phonographic content suppliers. The GOI may take an appropriate view on this.

14.  Centralisation of e-governance planning by Government of India has to be given up in favour of States taking the lead: As on date, a handful of officials of Government of India have been acting the sole e-governance drivers. This is not a healthy trend for the nation. The National Institute of Smart Government has been formed with an aim to undercut the States.  With NISG under their control, these Government of India officials are able to operate like private agencies, taking over the role of the State governments as well as the central Government. Ideally speaking, the States should be given their due. Funds meant for e-governance should be distributed to the States. Leadership building at State level should be taken up instead of driving the e-governance movement through NISG which has neither any expertise nor legitimacy. The Govt. may take an appropriate view on this subject.

Posted in eGovINDIA Group | 4 Comments »

Submission from eGovINDIA Yahoogroup, on relevance of e-governance in building a knowledge super power,

Posted by egovindia on November 29, 2007

Submission  from eGovINDIA Yahoogroup, on relevance of e-governance in building a knowledge super power,

April 10 th 2006

Greetings from eGovINDIA yahoo group members.

About the eGovINDIA group:

eGovINDIA-Yahoo group comprises of over 3000 members from all over the world. The members of the group have subscribed to process automation based true e-governance which has the capacity to empower the citizens of all walks of life such as the socially and economically downtrodden, women, minorities and people living in far flung areas. 

One of the moderators of the group is an IAS officer (Mr.C.Umashankar) who had commissioned India’s first e-district at Tiruvarur, TamilNadu during 1999-2001 using process automation techniques. The first e-district was rated 20 years ahead of rest of India by Times of India during 2001. The e-champion was chosen the bureaucrat of the next millennium by the Week Magazine in its millennium edition during the year 2000. The e-district continues to transact business using the e-governance systems till date. Mr.Umashankar served as Member (Special Invitee) of the National e-governance Action Plan implementation committee for a while during 2005.

The other moderator Mr. V. M. Kumaraswamy is stationed at Los Angeles, CA, USA. He is a post graduate in Management and has been deeply committed to the creation of a transparent and self confident India.

The group considers it a great opportunity to build India a knowledge super power. We would like to put forward our views on e-governance and relevance of e-governance in achieving the knowledge super power status.

 

Relevance of e-governance vis-a-vis building a knowledge super power.

Public administration in India is marred by corruption and red tappism which had resulted in an anomalous situation whereby the laws of the lands are being twisted according to the executive/bureaucracy’s whims and fancies. The underlying problem is the Tottenham system that has been in use all over India since independence. The Tottenham system believes in creating multiple manual records for a single transaction on the belief that if one record gets destroyed, the other original record would come handy. This had resulted in a  situation where the bureaucracy in India works only to feed itself with more and more book keeping work, with hardly any concern for the citizen. The other result is rampant corruption and red tappism in public administration. Certain citizens have become more than equal in India due to these circumstances. This goes against the spirit of the Indian constitution.

Nearly 60 years into independence, India still witnesses a situation where a major portion of its population continues to remain marginalized. The well thought out schemes that were introduced for the betterment of the marginalized population had been thwarted by the vested interests using the Tottenham system which enables secrecy and corruption.  

Naxalism which had been considered a bane has been gradually gaining legitimacy due to the all round failure of the systems.

Corruption and red tappism pose a serious threat to the effort to convert India into a Knowledge super power. Only a self confident nation can become a knowledge super power. The citizens of the nation have to feel empowered to interact with their own governments and its multiple agencies confidently before emanating the same level of confidence in building a knowledge super power. 

e-governance has the magical power to bring about the much awaited change in public administration. All the ills of the Tottenham system can be got over using process automation based e-governance system. E-governance is the only viable route to a transparent governance system.

Having emphasised the need for e-governance to act as a foundation to build India a knowledge super power, we would like to focus on certain areas where India has to concentrate to  steer clear of pitfalls in the e-governance implementation.

Definition of e-governance:

“Information and Communication Technology (ICT) that empowers the Government, its citizens including the Government employees, weaker sections, women, people living in far flung and difficult areas and the business houses to transact businesses with government and its agencies online 24/7 ”

This definition presupposes process automation at every level where e-governance is introduced. There is no scope for window dressing in such a professional set up. Utility bill collection system should not be confused with the process automation system that is being discussed here.

The litmus test for true e-governance is that the system should react at the same speed for a rich man as well as poor man. The same is the case when it comes to literate versus illiterate, men verses women and so on. The so called untouchables (Scheduled Castes) should feel themselves equal to the rest of the Indian citizens at least in their interaction with Government and its agencies online.

Agenda before the nation to achieve true e-governance

Having defined the concept, the egovINDIA group wishes to place its view points on how to achieve true e-governance.

Like any other advocacy groups, the egovINDIA feels strongly for and against certain policies and practices adopted at present by various governments in India, in the name of e-governance. The group considers strongly for any initiative in India that closely matches the above definition and it openly expresses its reservations when such policies are found to be in the interest of certain individuals or corporate only.

Requisites for a true take off in e-governance:

1.      Clear Information Technology and e-governance policy frame work from Government of India and respective State Governments.

The first mandatory pronouncement is that any e-governance initiative has to be process automation based system. A process automation system converts the existing manual workflow into electronic workflow with or without process reengineering. Process reengineering usually takes place when the system gets converted to the electronic form.

The resolve expressed by the executive is the most important factor for the commencement and survival of any e-governance initiative. Such a resolve has to be expressed through policy pronouncements followed by concrete rules and regulations.

2.      Expected outcome of e-governance initiative to be clearly spelt out before commencement. 

3.      A clear vision plan for the next 15-20 years with well defined and verifiable milestones is necessary.

4.      Objective evaluation of implementation of e-governance based on pre defined parameters to do course correction, if any.

5.      Legal framework to fund the e-governance movement.

6.      Government employees to be the first major stake holders: Involvement of all stake holders in e-governance initiative is essential to make it a success. The prime stake holders are the Government employees who at present handle the public administration using mostly the manual processing method. E-governance has to enable these employees to carry out their day-to-day functions online. The system undoubtedly has to talk their language and  it should provide them a complete solution. It had already been proved in the country’s first e-district that the Government employees are not monsters as depicted. The Government employees are ready to accept  e-governance system  as long as it satisfies their functional requirements with fool proof security and audit trail.

Enabling government employees to switch over to the e-governance system requires careful planning and execution. It is a case of prudent man management. There is a great role for e-champions in making this area a success.  

7.      Involvement of citizens and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in planning India’s e-governance policies.

8.      Qualifications of a CSO to advice and aid Government: It is preferable that the Government should engage the services of the CSOs which had not received any funding from Government for projects.

9.      Need for a Whistle Blowers’ protection Act: A strong e-governance system needs the  backing of a supporting Act such as the Whistleblowers’ protection Act. WBA would complement the e-governance system and make life easier for the citizens and business houses.

10.  Connectivity: Policy and funding for connecting all the 5 lakh villages of India. The Government owned BSNL had proved that it could provide digital connectivity to every nook and corner of the country. It had already achieved this feet by converting the entire analogue lines into digital lines even five years ago. The consumers had rated the BSNL as the most transparent billing company. BSNL’s broadband services (Data one) have been rated excellent by the consumers. Data One services have to be extended to the rural areas without any further loss of time. BSNL has its telephone exchanges touching Blocks and below the block level administrative set up. This is a huge strength on which BSNL can build India’s broadband revolution. All the Government installations, including schools, colleges, government / local body offices, hospitals, primary health centres and police stations  have to be connected using Data one services. BSNL had already proved that the Tax payers’ money spent on its infrastructure is a useful investment in bringing about the telecom revolution. This time, the Government of India has to come forward to fund BSNL for building the internet infrastructure to connect all the villages. Suitable tax holidays and tax concessions have to be provided to encourage the users to opt for the broadband services at the village level. It may not be a bad idea if the Government of India could announce 2006, the year of connectivity. The entire rural India should be broadband enabled within a period of 12 months to enable a quantum leap in knowledge revolution. Unless the rural schools get broadband connectivity, the dream of building a knowledge super power would not materialise. So, the earlier the rural areas get affordable broadband connectivity the better it is for the momentum to build a knowledge super power.

11.  Special treatment for difficult areas: Special provisions should be built for Bihar, North East, Hilly States such as Himachal and Uttranchal and Jammu & Kashmir to enable them to catch up with the rest of the States. For example, Bihar does not have electricity for major portion of its areas. There should be a special provision to provide power generators for the Government installations where e-governance is proposed in Bihar. Solar based power supply systems may also be considered. For these special efforts, suitable additional funding support has to be built into the plans. Similar is the case with North East and other difficult states.

12.  Addressing power problem using notebook PCs: An innovative solution could be thought about by providing notebook computers to the power starved areas with solar power back up systems so that these areas need not bother about investing in high cost power back up systems. The present day notebook PCs match the desktop PCs in performance as well as reliability. The price of the notebook PCs has come down drastically in the recent past. With suitable policy support, the Government of India could make the notebook PCs the default systems for Government offices. 

13.  Policy framework for e-champions within the bureaucracy, at all levels: For the Indian system, the role of e-champions from within the Government is a pre requisite for leading the e-governance momentum. These e-champions have to be identified on voluntary basis, trained and put in charge of strategising and implementing e-governance solutions.

14.  Need for change in civil service rules: Government employment should be thoroughly redefined. At present, the bureaucracy works on the principle of anonymity and secrecy. These principles go against e-governance based system which automatically seeks transparency in every sphere of activity. Anonymity of civil servants, though desirable, would be too difficult to achieve under a transparent system where everyone will be accountable for his/her commissions and omissions in a transparent manner. The rules the Central and State Civil Services need to be overhauled to suit the e-governance  based system.

15.  Women in e-governance: The country’s first e-district had proved that women employees far out numbered men in taking over the e-champion’s role. Similarly, the women beneficiaries outnumbered men in availing social security benefits through e-governance. Hence there is a need to have special focus on role for women in e-governance.

16.  Native language support in e-governance.

17.  Setting up of National and state level e-governance authority in the lines of Election Commission of India: In order to strategise, monitor and carry out course correction exercise, the Government may consider setting up of e-governance authorities in the lines of the RTI Commissioners. The authority should be vested with powers matching the Election Commission of India. At present, the e-governance initiative of the country is handled by a handful of IAS officers which is an aberration.

18.  Adequate representation to SC/STs, minorities such as Muslims and Christians, women, people from rural areas in e-governance committees.

19.  Transparency in all e-governance initiatives. Implementation of RTI Act at all levels.

20.  IT in school education. Role of CSOs such as Azim Premji foundation in providing multi media education for the poor: Schools should be provided with multi media based education material across the nation. This would provide a level playing field to all the students, notably the rural students. India can become a knowledge super power only if it empowers its rural students to come up on par with the urban students.  In this connection, the NKC may consider recognising the role of Azim Premji foundation which has been supplying multi media based study materials to schools in different Indian languages free of cost. Azim premji foundation may be made the nodal agency for the entire nation to sphere head this movement.

21.  Citizen feedback on e-governance activities: There is a need to enable the common man to contribute to the development of e-governance in public administration by keeping a window open for the citizens to send their opinions and suggestions.

Advocacy areas:

The following are a few areas which the egovINDIA group strongly feels about. Any one may consider these views while formulating its recommendations to Government.

1.      Focus on urban population or rural population? So far, the e-governance movement had focussed on urban citizens. The notable exceptions are the West Godawari (AP) and Akshya (Kerala) experiments. This is not the logical step to say the least. The population which is more affected by the Tottenham system is the rural poor because the poor do not have any bargaining capacity nor do they have the means to pay the illegal bribes. Today, the rural poor cannot get the Old Age Pension benefit unless they bribe the lower level officials. Nor they can get any government service unless they approach the government officials through touts, that too at a special cost.  Good governance is a matter of livelihood for the rural population whereas it is a matter of luxury for the urban people. The convent English speaking corrupt bureaucracy would always prefer to serve the urban population  because of various factors. Firstly, it provides them name and fame easily through the urban focussed print and other media. Secondly, it provides them illegal wealth or power or both. In the interest of the nation, the NKC may intervene and do the course correction. E-governance has to focus on providing services to the poor first, notably the poor in the rural areas before the same is taken up in urban areas.

2.      Role of private sector partner in e-governance: Should the private sector run the Government services sans the Government or Government servants’ involvement?  This question is being raised increasingly in the light of the replication of Andhra Pradesh’s e-seva in different states in different names. The case of Bangalore One in Karnataka is an example. The e-govINDIA group strongly feels that the private partner should be involved in software development, hand holding support and then maintenance of the software & database. Their role should not be extended to running the services on their own as it has many negative side effects. The first and foremost among the negative side effects is that instead of reducing corruption, such initiatives generate large scale e-corruption. Transparency is given a goby. None of the empowerment factors get enabled through such arrangements. Only the private partner gets empowered with more revenue. Madras University had shown the way for the rest of India by engaging a private partner to develop its e-governance software and then help the university with hand holding for nearly two years after the initial implementation. This is the right way to go. The NKC may study the Madras University pattern and take an appropriate view.

3.      Role of women Self Help Groups (SHGs) as partners for providing Government services. There is a tendency to hand over the utility bill collection operations to a private partner and then call it a great e-governance initiative. Suggestions to hand over such routine yet lucrative revenue bearing tasks to women self help groups had been met with ridicule by IAS officers manning e-governance positions. The group considers it a gross misadventure to leave out the women self help groups. It is the considered opinion of this group that the Government services should be front ended by the women self help groups. In the absence of women self help groups alone, the Governments should look for private corporate partners.

4.      Open source software should be the default software for e-governance operations: Open source software had come a long way to compete and even overtake proprietary software systems. The latest release of Novell Suse 10.0- open source version had been hailed to be a match, if not more than a match to the proprietary windows operation system. Open source movement offers a variety of rich and valuable software packages free. Open source office suite – openoffice.org, open source database system – Postgresql, open source report writing software – ireport,  open source GIS software – OpenGIS , Netbeans for linux for software development, Apache Tomcat, Resin, Jboss etc., provide a great deal of flexibility to the users to configure the e-governance system. Developed countries themselves have started adopting the open source systems and open standards. India needs to spell out a policy towards use of open source systems and open standards in e-governance operations. (It is quite strange that a few State governments and NISG have struck a deal with Microsoft for using Microsoft’s proprietary technology at huge cost. This is not a logical step because Microsoft does not offer any of its software free. Then why such MoUs? There seems to be huge corruption here).

5.      Setting up of open source support and research centres in every district: Open source software enables innovations. For a nation that aims at becoming a knowledge super power, it is extremely important that vital software packages that drive the computer systems should flow freely. Proprietary systems, by default cannot flow freely towards the needy. Only the open source software can be freely used by the research professionals and educational institutions. A GIS software or database software in the normal course costs a fortune. But the open source movement had provided these packages under GNU for free download. This freedom has to be encouraged through appropriate government assisted technical support centres at every district level. The District Informatics office under the control of NIC could be declared the open source support centre. The support centre’s services should be made available freely to the student community and all government offices.

6.       Mission mode projects – is the bureaucracy capable of heading mission mode projects? The term “mission” pre supposes sacrifice and helping others. Currently, the bureaucrats who were utter failures in the field in providing proactive public service to the common man had taken over the leadership positions in e-governance. This is not a healthy trend for building a self confident nation. Bureaucrats, by definition are not fit to head any mission mode projects as they are not meant to be missionaries. The rare exceptions are the missionaries who had joined the bureaucracy. It is time the entire e-governance leadership is handed over to the national and state level e-governance authorities as proposed in the earlier part of this write up.

7.      Indian e-governance effort should not result in a mere market for selling the ready made products of multi nationals: The trend at present has been to encourage development of ready made products and then purchase the same by various State Governments from the same companies. The case of e-seva/Bangalore one and e-procurement are the dangerous pointers. Governments have to acquire the source code and host the source code for free download by other Governments. The citizens also would be enabled to support the Government software packages by identifying and informing the lacuna found in the source code, if any.

8.      Compulsory e-governance in higher education: Our students undergoing higher education should have a first hand experience in using e-governance system during their college days.  This is one of the steps in making a self confident India, marching towards knowledge super power status.

9.      Knowledge commission and higher education – The case for more Deemed Universities and autonomous technical institutions: If India were to supply the global demand for technical manpower, it needs to encourage more private players to commence Deemed Universities. Colleges which had shown a credible trend for 10 years should be given autonomous status through automatic route. The unfortunate trend is that many colleges which apply for autonomous status are forced to wait for years by the State Governments which simply sit over the proposals. The current move to curb the independence enjoyed by the deemed universities is a retrograde step. The Government must allow the market forces to determine the weightage of the Deemed universities. Regulatory agencies such as the Medical Council of India and AICTU had enhanced the cost of education through bureaucratic delays and huge corruption.

10.  The role of NISG.

This paragraph had been withdrawn after detailed discussions.

11.  NASSCOM in NISG – role to be defined to save its name.

12.  Cheating in the name of e-governance. 

This paragraph had been withdrawn after detailed discussions.

13.  An aberration called Village Knowledge Centre (VKC): The Village Knowledge Centre concept is being pushed without making any assessment. The five star culture driven CSOs have been ruling the roost. The kiosk experiments have failed wherever it had been started. No assessment had been done on these failed experiments. In the absence of e-governance content, the kiosks can at the best act as e-mail centres and at the worst phonographic content suppliers. The GOI may take an appropriate view on this.

14.  Centralisation of e-governance planning by Government of India has to be given up in favour of States taking the lead: As on date, a handful of officials of Government of India have been acting the sole e-governance drivers. This is not a healthy trend for the nation. The National Institute of Smart Government has been formed with an aim to undercut the States.  With NISG under their control, these Government of India officials are able to operate like private agencies, taking over the role of the State governments as well as the central Government. Ideally speaking, the States should be given their due. Funds meant for e-governance should be distributed to the States. Leadership building at State level should be taken up instead of driving the e-governance movement through NISG which has neither any expertise nor legitimacy. The Govt. may take an appropriate view on this subject.

Dated the 10th April 2006 at Bangalore.

Signed

Moderator, egovINDIA- yahoo group.

 

Enclosure:

1.      Mail sent dated 23rd December 2005.

2.   Book on Tiruvarur e-governance titled “e-governance-the success story of Tiruvarur, the road covered and the road ahead” – 2001

3.      CD-ROM containing video of e-governance camp held in Tiruvarur district.


C.Umashankar IAS., (TamilNadu Cadre)
e-governance expert.
Moderator:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/eGovINDIA
http://sugame.com/umashankar
Chennai:
Ph: 91-44-52054443

_________________________________

Posted in eGovINDIA Group | Leave a Comment »

TCS, DGSD … the list grows : how to deprieve India in the name of technology? Re: [eGovINDIA] EGov – eBusiness Strategies For Government

Posted by egovindia on November 10, 2007

TCS, DGSD … the list grows : how to deprieve India in the name of technology? Re: [eGovINDIA] EGov – eBusiness Strategies For Government

This write up is purely in the interest of the nation and it speaks about technology.

The intention is not to cricitcise Government but to tell them that they should look at the technology which is cost effective.

They should also learn to look through the cost pushing design of the IT companies/PPP Partners

Government of India’s MCA (Ministry of Company Affairs) e-governance system which is  implemented by  TCS at a huge cost has built in digital signature tool which does  not work on Mozilla Firefox or linux.
TCS is unable to provide linux/Mozilla firefox support for the past 6 months.
As Director of 2-3 companies, I am unable to use the digital signature supplied by NIC (service provided by TCS) for the past 6 months.
ELCOT, as a matter of policy does not use any hardware that does not support linux.
The next thing is to issue notice to TCS under MRTP.
This is one side of the story.

The other side is the VSNL (TCS owned) supported REGINET software of Tamil Nadu which had a similar electronic signature provision. They wanted me to approve for extension of  79 such electonic signatures for the next one year. When I looked at the software design, it was meant to be used only by the intranet users and it had nothing to do with external users. But this system had been imposed by the vendors to sell over 500 such e-signatures at a cost of Rs.900 per e-sign every year. I was under pressure to approve the expenditure as the services came down after the expiry date.

I put a team to study the system design. Within two hours we got over the issue. The same e-signature dongles work for a different design. No need to pay TCS or anyone else. The beauty is that it can work forever, without payment to anyone.

Just because some American company wanted to sell its product we are blindly looking at e-signature for everything and thus end up pushing up the cost. Companies such as TCS look for pushing up the cost of e-governnace which is patriotic to the least.

TCS does not have any knowledge about platform independent technology, more so OSS technology and thus its costing is on the high side. Unfortunately the States as well as the central government do not have people who have hands on experience and hence e-gov solutions end up providing just revenues to the software companies without any tangible benefits to the citizens.

In the case of DCA, the users can simply do with user id and password. But they were forced to buy the digital signature from TCS. To use the digital signaturethe the companies have to buy Windows OS! After all these, the user is not able to get any great service from them. Every year, the companies have to shell out user charges to TCS for the digital signature. For every director on the Board the amount is collected. With over 400000 registered companies in India employing roughly 4 million directors, TCS is happily collecting Rs.10000 for one time charge and Rs.6000 per director every year! As the money does not go from the exchequer, there is no question from the CAG/AG/Audit teams. But this is a leakage of citizens money which is to be prevented.

A similar deprievation is on through VISA card system when India could have its own payment gateway for credit card / debit card payments. Everytime a VISA card is used a minimum of 1.6% of the collection goes to USA!
Japan has prevented it by not allowing credit cards in its shopping operations. But India, as usual has been sleeping by allowing the rampant use of VISA cards. It should go for its own credit card gateway or encourage cash purchase following the Japan pattern.

I am told that now DGSD is adopting a similar stand by allowing C1 India to collect annual subscription charges from bidders for using their e-procurement portal which has not been decided through open tender.
DGSD has to be asked to explain how it chose its partner and how it allows C1 India to collect at the rate of Rs.6000-9000 per bidder every year for being a bidder for DGSD?

Umashankar

C.Umashankar IAS., (TamilNadu Cadre)
e-governance expert.
& Managing Director, Electronics Corporation of TamilNadu Limited(ELCOT)
(A Government of TamilNadu Undertaking)Co-Moderator:
http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/eGovINDIA
Mankind deserves open standards and open source software. Only the chosen ones get its taste. Others just hear the taste.

Chennai:
Ph: 91-44-42054443

—– Original Message —-
From: abhijit kale <abhe_k@yahoo. com>
To: eGovINDIA@yahoogrou ps.com
Sent: Friday, September 21, 2007 2:29:23 PM
Subject: Re: [eGovINDIA] EGov – eBusiness Strategies For Government

Hi,

This was a really informative message dhirendra. Govt of india has taken the positive steps towards implementing e-Gov, by enabling e-filing of the returns using digital signatures. I feel that this is good start.

ABhijit Kale
www.elock.com

Compliance and Security

for Online Transactions

ra Krishna <dhirendrakrishna@ yahoo.co. uk> wrote:

Friends,

Aforesaid book by Douglas Holmes (Nicholas Brealey Publishing London
2001) is a “MUST” for eGovernance professionals. Following eGov
Headlines indicates overall global scenario and these facts anf
figures may have improved over the years.

# 75 percent of Australian file their income tax return online.

# Singapore provides 150 public services from one portal.

# US Federal Government makes four million online purchases for goods
and services, worth $17 billion.

# Administrative costs in US Department of Agriculture dropped from$77
per transaction to #17 per transaction, after introduction of
eProcurement System.

# It takes 25 seconds in Scandinavia to transmit fingerprint image to
another force.

# One billion health insurance claims in France are submitted
electronically every year.

# Residents in Sweden can access their medical records on line over a
WAP phone.

# University students in Germany register for exams and serch library
books, using wireless device.

# Multimedia mobile units drive around CostaRica, providing internet
access, email facility and computer training to rural citizens.

Basic objective of eGovernance projects is to (i) Cut
administrative costs and improve efficiency, (ii)Meet citizen’s
expectation and improve citizen relationship and (iii)Facilitate
economic development. There are any number of practical examples
available all over the world. Systems already developed can be
modified to meet our requirements, to reduce the time and cost of
similar eGovernment initiatives in India.

Dhirendra Krishna IA&AS (Retired)

Posted in eGovINDIA Group | 3 Comments »

[eGovINDIA] Open source news: Technical opinion from ELCOT to TN Medical department on Health System Project

Posted by egovindia on November 10, 2007

Dear members,
Health department of Govt. of Tamil Nadu has been implementing a huge World Bank aided e-governance project covering almost all the hospitals of Tamil Nadu.
The MD, ELCOT was on the Technical/tender committee for selection of the vendor. After an elaborate process, TCS was chosen as the best qualified partner. But TCS lacks OSS experience. Those who had OSS experience did not qualify to become the best bidder.
Now the implementing agency and TCS agreed that OSS is the best option not only in terms of cost but also in terms of security and overall TCO.
ELCOT gave its technical opinion on various issues on the 8th September 2007. I am attaching the same for your information.

Apologies for the lengthy write up.

Regards

Umashankar

D.O. Letter No. ELCOT/MD/668/ 2007-08 Dated 08th September 2007

Dear Thiru Davidar,

Sub: Technological options for Hospital Management System – Our remarks furnished – Regarding.

Ref: Your D.O. Letter No. 3481/A3/HMIS/ HSP/2007 dated 31.08.2007

——-

We have carefully gone through the two technological options proposed by you and we have carefully noted your apprehensions with regard to the use of Open Source Technology in mission critical application. In the following write up we have made an attempt to provide answers to your queries and apprehensions. Apologies for using a few typical IT technical terms in the write up.

In both the options you have mentioned about Windows 2003 server alone as the server platform. The deployment of servers world over is in the order of 85% under Linux / Unix / Solaris Technology and only 15% under Windows platform. No one deploys Windows operating system for a mission critical or enterprise wide application. For the Health system, we are talking about an enterprise wide application if not a mission critical application. In the entire IT industry, people trust the Unix, Solaris and Linux Systems for mission critical and enterprise wide applications. The 15% server coverage in the world is largely deployed for use of the SMEs and definitely they are not deployed to run mission critical applications. Windows 2003 itself is meant for SMEs and not for enterprise applications. Hence choice of Windows 2003 server for the deployment is to be totally ruled out.

I am enclosing herewith the press clipping (Deccan Chronicle 06.09.2007) showing that the UK Government websites are being routinely hacked by Chinese groups in an organised manner . Such hacking is not possible if the servers are run using Linux/Unix/Solaris/ Mainframe environment. ELCOT’s website and all its application servers (totally 25) are running under Linux environment with just a PIV Linux box acting as firewall. ELCOT’s mini data centre had been certified as hacker proof after carrying out hacker testing. ELCOT is willing to demonstrate how a Linux server is more secure as compared to any other server, without using any external firewall box, third party software etc. The security system in Linux/Unix comes as a default. That means, the user need not necessarily possess any technical knowhow or deploy a person of technical knowhow to configure the security system. The cost saving could run into crores of rupees under such a safe environment. In the circumstances, the best possibility of protecting the Government’s interests is to adopt only the Linux /Unix/Solaris or the Zee operating system of the IBM main frame server.

With regard to the database, you have raised a question whether PostgresSQL or mysql can handle the load. (20-30 lakh transactions per day). Our recommendation for database is PostgreSQL under Linux / Main Frame Server environment. PostgreSQL is an enterprise wide database which can handle database of 15 Terra bytes and above. PostgreSQL is equated to Oracle enterprise database. Hence it can suit an application such as the HMI. Its performance is far superior as compared to MS SQL server. PostgreSQL provides not only enterprise wide database support but also provides PGADMIN III front end software free of cost. Pgadmin III is a browser based database administration tool that provides a web based front end to administer PostgreSQL database. The hassles associated with client installation of the database does not arise in the case of PostgreSQL whereas it is mandatory for client software installation in the case of Oracle, Ms-SQL database etc. PostgreSQL database as well as its future upgrades are available absolutely free. The undersigned had evaluated the PostgreSQL database versus MS SQL database and found out that the PostgreSQL database accepts binary data without any limitation. A test case was undertaken to load a 100 MB binary file (such as video, executable file etc) into the database. PostgreSQL accepted the binary file in one shot without seeking extra coding work. The same task was undertaken in MS SQL also. MS-SQL server was handicapped in accepting such a large binary file. The developer had to do an R & D before understanding the drawback associated with MS-SQL database with regard to the binary database intake. The developer had to get over this issue by doing a trial and error coding. First he split the 100 MB binary file into 50 units and then fed into the MS SQL database. The database accepted this. But before doing this, he tried to split the file into 10 units and then 5 units but the database refused to accept the 5 and 10 MB parts due to the binary limitation. Only when he split it into 2 MB pieces, the database accepted. Apparently such a backward technology database has overheads to the system as it requires first splitting of a binary file and then while reading the file, the system has to assemble the split files into one. This would retard the performance of the application software as well as the server. HMI has lot of binary records in the form of medical digital X rays, scan videos, pictures, etc. Hence Ms-sql server is definitely not suitable for HMI use for the above reason and a host of other reasons, including cost.

When it comes to costing, an equivalent enterprise MS SQL server database costs between Rs. 7-10 lakhs on each processor. That means for every two processor server one has to spend Rs.14-20 lakhs. An equivalent Oracle database costs Rs.24 lakhs per dual processor server. One of the overriding factors in implementation is the cost factor. PostgreSQL comes absolutely free. For a 300 server network, PostgreSQL saves as much as Rs.42 crores. Instead of spending such a huge sum on second level database, the department can invest in a high end server such as the IBM main frame server and run the Mainframe server under Linux/PostgreSQL environment. The cost of two high end enterprise class Mainframe servers is estimated at Rs.6 crores only, including 5 year maintenance cost. In this backdrop, the department needs to make an objective evaluation as to whether it should go for such a high cost database when a better database is available absolutely free. ELCOT is in the process of procuring two enterprise class main frame servers for which ELCOT has identified Suse Linux Operating System running on Mozilla Firefox coupled with PostgreSQL as the database. So, the department would have a pilot implementation to bank upon before making the final decision.

A question may be raised on the support available for PostgreSQL database. It it is the experience of this author that MS-SQL or Oracle does not provide any support unless annual support agreement at a cost of 20-40% of the cost of the database / per year is entered into. With such annual support cost, one can achieve ten times of technical support under PostgreSQL. It is noteworthy to mention that anyone who has experience in administering Oracle/MS-SQL server/DB2 can handle the PostgreSQL database. The undersigned has been watching and monitoring the activities of over 36 technical professionals in ELCOT who have been handling PostgreSQL database in the process of developing e-governance software for ELCOT. ELCOT’s non technical officials also have been using the database through PGADMINIII for viewing the database alone. Moreover, paid annual maintenance support can be obtained from the authors of PostgreSQL by registering with postgresql.org. In a nutshell, there is plenty of support available for PostgreSQL database including large technical manpower availability in Chennai/TamilNadu itself and also online support from the authors of the database. The costing for such maintenance is less than a tenth of the cost one has to pay for supporting other proprietary databases.

Technically speaking, the database of the HMI need not be hosted on a single server because each district hospital is an independent unit. Except the master databases and control tables, all other transaction and application software components can be separated and hosted on individual servers either centrally or at different locations. ELCOT already had implemented such a technology for the online family card administration system. In such a scenario, the PostgreSQL database itself would be considered a heavy weight database. It would be sufficient to deploy mysql database itself under such environments. Deploying Ms-sqlserver or Oracle would be an overkill at a very high cost factor.

Your question that whether mission critical application can run on Open Source Technology, it can be understood by making a visit to ELCOT. ELCOT had already hosted its Family Card Application online. The application is currently being accessed from anywhere in the State using TN State Wide Area Network backbone. As of now, the system has not gone down even by a minute. The Government employees as well as the contractors access the database using the web based application software all over the State. ELCOT is producing an average of 10,300 family cards per day using the system and each family card application passes through the online workflow process before reaching the final printing stage. ELCOT has no difficulty in running the system. It is noteworthy that the database consists of text and binary content (photos) measuring over 1 Terra byte. Hence, running a mission critical application using an open source database such as PostgreSQL is easy and organised. ELCOT has the necessary technical manpower and experience to provide a complete range of support starting from configuring the system, application software development, deployment and support.

You have questioned the performance related issues in the deployment of Open Source Technology. The Linux Operating System as well as the Open Source databases that run on Linux Operating System have no performance issues at all. For the envisaged magnitude of the hospital management system, open source software offers a one-to-one performance matching system. There is no question of lack of performance or poor performance from the Open Source System. In fact, the open source systems are free from viruses and security issues and hence the performance degradation due to anti virus software and security management software packages is not suffered by the OSS based systems.

Suitable Software development and deployment platform: The Technology proposed by TCS is Dot Net and Ms-sqlserver. This is like locking the Department to a single vendor as both these packages make it impossible to migrate to any other platform in future. Neither Dot Net nor Ms-sql server runs on other platforms. So, the Government would be forced to remain within the bind of the supplier, viz., Microsoft. Dot Net technology is not only proprietary but also a recent one. It comes with its own overheads and bugs, whereas the tested technology that offers enterprise level computing support world over is the Java Technology. Dot Net has been in the field only for the past four years, whereas Java Technology has been in the field of Information Technology for the past thirty years. J2EE/JAVA technology offers fool-proof security and absolute scalability. Large enterprises trust ONLY Java technology. Java Technology is an open technology. Dot Net is liable for security threats and vulnerability which are the inherent drawbacks of the Windows Operating system. Java Technology is recently advanced itself to new heights by the introduction of AJAX technology (http://www.adaptive path.com/ publications/ essays/archives/ 000385.php). AJAX technology offers a client-server like ability to the browser based application software. In a typical browser based application, the queries go back and forth the remote server for every move/call, thus reloading the web page for every move of the user. But AJAX had revolutionized the web field by doing away with the page reloading (which is time consuming and some times irritating) drawback. Things happen as and when the user moves to the next area of operation on the web page with the user never realising that he/she has been using a browser based application where the server is located probably thousands of miles away. This is precisely the advantage of a client server application which usually has a local server. With the advantage of the look and feel of the client-server system, the AJAX has in fact high jacked the entire application software field. Even proprietary software vendors had to run for integration of AJAX in their respective systems. Java comes with AJAX by default. It is AJAX today. Tomorrow some other technology would be introduced and the same would be available for free download from Java developers. No proprietary software vendor such as Microsoft would offer such a future technology free like this. That means the Government would struck with an outdated and non dynamic technology at any point of time.

It is noteworthy that TCS which has never implemented an application software under Java Technology has been attempting to impose a highly proprietary and backward technology on Government by suggesting Dot Net technology. In our opinion, Dot Net technology should not be used for the above mentioned reasons and also for the reasons of higher cost on each server in addition to the loose security systems which are built into the MS-Windows environment itself.

Hence we recommend the use of Java/J2EE technology with Struts framework for the software development environment. For deployment of the software, the department may consider an open source alternative such as JBOSS.

Currently, the entire open source community has been concentrating on Jboss server deployment software. The second alternative could be Apache Tomcat. World’s 85% of the servers run on Apache Tomcat or JBOSS server environment. These are available free which includes free upgrades.

Support issues Vs. Open Source software (OSS) technology: Immediate and online support is available for all the Open Source software products. The knowledge repository for any software under OSS is mind boggling. Within minutes one can find a solution to a technical issue, absolutely online. Such a powerful support system is not available for any proprietary technology as the proprietary technology holders have been keeping the knowledge sharing at bay in order to maximise their profits. As OSS is owned by the community, the knowledge sharing on technology, including bugs and the bug fixes is absolute. ELCOT has already implemented OSS in the Family Card Printing process, anywhere Registration software, Commercial Tax Dealer Registration and Return Filing software, Old Age Pension Scheme Administration software, Online Farmers Card issue software, Online Identity Card for Government employees and so on. OSS technology is a simple yet professional technology. Every student who graduates from Engineering colleges under computer science/IT/ECE learns this technology. Hence, the question of non-availability of technical manpower to drive and use the Java Technology does not arise.

Hence, our recommendation is that Hospital Management System should be built only on Java Technology alone.

Jasper Report: Jasper Report is a powerful open source report building software available for free download and use. Jasper Report is the best report writing software available internationally and it is available free of cost. Jasper Report is not only free for downloading but its upgrades are also available free. In a nutshell, Jasper Report enables the user to develop reports using an highly attractive Graphical User Interface (GUI). It almost resembles the popular Crystal Report Software but has more advanced features than the Crystal Report Software. Crystal Report allows preparation of reports only using the client server environment. That means, the user has to install necessary software executable on the client system to run the report, whereas, the Jasper Report does not require any such installation on the client system. It runs across the web and the user gets the report right on his/her desktop irrespective of the size of the document and the operating system in use. The report is rendered in Adobe pdf format which is cross platform format. The user can save such document on his/her desktop system. Apparently, TCS is unaware of this powerful open source tool and has not provided appropriate technical advice to the department in this regard. Our technical advise in this regard is that the Hospital Management System should be built on Java technology supported by Jasper Report for writing of reports offering fixed page width reports. In a typical hospital administration system, one requires to generate and print day to day billing, out patient slips, prescription slips, hospital case sheet and so on. This requires fixed page width printing facility. The page width should not over flow. Jasper Report offers the fixed page width format as default and hence our recommendation is that the Hospital Management System should be built with Jasper Report for Linux as the default report building system.

To sum up, our recommendations are as follows:

  1. Hospital Management System should be built on J2EE architecture with Struts framework which offers N-Tier architecture. This technology allows the user to set up any number of application servers, database servers and security servers and the user will never know the number of systems driving the software. This also enables to deploy heterogeneous operating system servers across the State. J2EE technology is a cross platform technology, meaning that the application software developed under J2EE can be deployed from one operating system to another. According to latest assessment report from Gartner, a leading international consultant that over 80% of the new application software that are being build by the year 2009 would be only on platform independent technology (read – J2EE/Php) and by the year 2017, the world would be free from proprietary (read – Microsoft) technology in the area of operating system. (Copy of the ppt slide enclosed). When the world at large is moving towards cross platform and more open technologies, Tamil Nadu should not opt for a backward looking, costed and proprietary technology such as Dot Net.

     

  2. Already the Government have approved 100% open source technology for a typical mission critical application such as Co-operative Banking operations. This application software has been entrusted to Onward software Services Limited (finalised through open tender) at a cost of Rs.1.6 crores. Once developed, this application software would be implemented from a data centre having a high end server such as Mainframe server or a series of centralised servers, connected to TNSWAN, offering absolutely mission critical services such as banking and commonly shared ATM services.

     

  3. J2EE also enables deployment of low end servers with high end performance as the total load would be shared by a series of servers and not one single server. This is only optional but the same makes the technology attractive for Government.

     

  4. The database should be PostgreSQL for Linux (latest build).

  5. Jasper Report running on linux OS should be the report writing software for building all types of reports.

     

  6. The system should be run on Linux/UNIX/Solaris or the Mainframe OS (Zee OS)

  7. If linux OS is chosen, then one of the two popular linux server versions viz., Redhat or Suse can be deployed.

     

  8. Main frame OS is an option if Mainframe servers are deployed.

  9. Default browser should be Mozilla FireFox. The system should also be capable of running on Internet Explorer and all standard browsers.

     

ELCOT has already developed, deployed and tested high end application software in all the above technology (except Mainframe technology). ELCOT is willing to showcase the entire technology to the Medical department and/or TCS. ELCOT is willing to provide necessary technical guidance in this regard.

Kindly feel free to call us for any assistance in this regard. We suggest that a meeting may be convened to finalise the technology and any decision on the technology should be not just based on the convenience of TCS or their existing software code but based on security, scalability, interoperability, high availability and cost factor in the short run or in the long run.

Yours Sincerely,

 

(C. UMASHANKAR)

Encl: As above.

To

Thiru P.W.C. Davidar, I.A.S.,

Special Secretary to Government,

Department of Health & Family Welfare &

Project Director, Tamil Nadu Health Systems Project,

7th Floor, DMS Building,

Chennai – 600 006.

Copy to :

Thiru A. Mohan,

Deputy Director General,

National Informatics Centre (NIC),

Rajaji Bhavan, Besant Nagar,

Chennai – 600 090

 

C.Umashankar IAS., (TamilNadu Cadre)
e-governance expert.
& Managing Director, Electronics Corporation of TamilNadu Limited(ELCOT)
(A Government of TamilNadu Undertaking)Co-Moderator:
http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/eGovINDIA
Mankind deserves open standards and open source software. Only the chosen ones get its taste. Others just hear the taste.

Chennai:
Ph: 91-44-42054443

Posted in eGovINDIA Group | Leave a Comment »

How to file PILs and Writ Petitions — by Dr. Leo Rebello

Posted by egovindia on August 1, 2006

From: mohan siroya To: leorebello@hathway.com ; info@karmayog.com Cc: rampanjwani19@yahoo.com

Sent: Monday, July 31, 2006 5:42 PM Subject: Re: how do letters get suo moto converted to PILs

That’s good info doc and it should be displayed/publicized widely in public interest. Mohan Siroya

From: Ram To: Dr. Leo Rebello Cc: karmayog@yahoogroups.com

Sent: Monday, July 31, 2006 4:20 PM Subject: Re: how do letters get suo moto converted to PILs

Respected Dr.

I cant find  proper words to thank you for not only giving useful guidelines but even pumping courage into me by

accepting my views in the concluding part of your long but lively letter.

I am 75 plus with old age ailments.Therefore, physical  activity is limited . Am  quite unhappy with the present rotten/most corrupt system almost all over. It hurts more because despite 60 years into freedom and 10 five years gone by, the common man   is still languishing for bare necessities. Executive wing of the Govt. not responding in the manner it should for the rasons we all know, the only salvation rests with the judiciary.

With warm regards,

Ram

From: “Dr. Leo Rebello” leorebello@hathway.com wrote :

Thank you Karmayog for referring this matter to me for my advice.

Let Ram Panjwani (or other activists on this net) simply attach the press report and send the letter to the Chief Justice of the High Court, giving briefly

the reasons why the Court should convert it into suo motu writ petition. Usually the petitions from senior citizens, handicapped persons, widows, orphans
and
those in jail or anyone writing on their behalf are taken note of. Letter may be delivered in duplicate personally (insist on acknowledgement) or sent through courier or registered post AD.

PIL/WP can also be easily registered under article 226 of the Constitution of India in any High Court. The emphasis is on Public Interest. It should not be private interest made to sound like public interest. Here are three examples :

1.. The authorities cordoning off a busy road at Prabhadevi creating a bottle neck there to protect the Siddhi Vinayak temple from the possible terrorist attack and other such knee-jerk solutions is NOT in public interest. Hence, a PIL can easily be taken up for violations of several provisions of law.
But no one dare
take this issue up, because it will be seen through communal goggles even by the judges.

2.. Someone recently took up a PIL against Shahrukh Khan developing his extra space behind his so-called heritage bungalow at Bandra. That was certainly not in public interest and hence even the Supreme Court rejected the said petition.

3.. Sheriff of Mumbai saying that the Race Course be developed is certainly in public interest and this should be taken up. But if the said matter were to come up before judges who are interested in racing (gambling) they may not be favourably inclined and public interest would be cast aside and private interest of select super rich will be protected.  As Harold Laski said in Grammar of Politics : “Judges do not give judgments, they only give decisions; they only decide which of the two sides argued better”. 

To file a PIL, earlier there was a nominal fee of Rs.50. Now I think it is Rs.200 or Rs.250. You do NOT need a lawyer to draft or argue your case, if you can think, write and argue yourself straight. Sometimes locus standi is asked to be explained. That can be cooly answered by quoting Article 51(A) of the Constitution of India, which underlines 10 Fundamental Duties of a Citizen, as long as there is no axe to grind on the part of a person working in public interest.  Also under section 32 of the Advocates Act anyone can represent a person in need. You need not engage an advocate. Taking advantage of that section, I have gone knocking at every court in Bombay (on behalf of those who are extremely needy), something which even many lawyers may not have done. Needless to say I have won every time.

Suo Motu – means if the court is convinced it acts on its own to correct the grave wrong, under its inherent jurisdiction. One can write an accurate, brief and clear letter to the Chief Justice and other Judges, and send the same through the Registrar General with a copy to the Advocate General of Maharashtra if it is the Bombay High Court.

My two page letter against MHADA was converted into suo motu Writ Petition in the early eighties.  What I had compressed in 2 pages, later on had become 80 pages with attachment of documents etc.  And I won the same. I argued the case myself eventhough at that time I had no experience. My another WP was on Ganpati pandal in the middle of the main road at Kandivali East. It was admitted for expedited hearing. But the papers were lost in the court and so many dirty tricks were played, by the Shiv Sena corporator, to defeat me. But I followed it up for 14 years and ultimately won, arguing
myself, inspite of threats
to liquidate me etc.

There is also a short cut — at the beginning of the Court, morning and afternoon, there is a “mention time”.  Ram can draft a letter, take two copies of that letter and impress upon the court during the “mention time” why the said matter be treated as a suo motu. The bench will then advise him accordingly. I got one such WP admitted in a BARC scientist’s matter.

For suo motu writ petitions there is no fee.

I am sure this information will be useful to activists on Karmayog net.  As Ram rightly underlines, one has to be sharp and open eyed. That is the pre-requisite of a good citizen.

Best Wishes  

Dr. Leo Rebello 

Karmayog.com wrote :  Will you or any other knowledgable person clarify as to how to make the Hon’ble High Court to sou moto convert any letter from a common  in the paper  or any write up  by the media reporter . In other words in what form one has to bring that information to the knowledge of the Court and it be urged to take cognizence of it and convert it into PIL. There is no doubt that there must be stories of gross negligence and other acts of ommission and commision by the authorities  which may not be getting noticed by the Court but must be noticed  by sharp and open eyed person  who may not find  himself  resourceful enough to file a PIL. Ram / rampanjwani19@yahoo.com

Posted in eGovINDIA Group | 2 Comments »

eGovINDIA letter about eGovernance in INDIA – Why NIC and NICSI sidelined ? Why NISG formed ? Derailing of eGovernance of INDIA by forming NISG by then Jt. Secretary of eGovernance NOW Add’l Secretary of eGovernance at DIT/MIT and CEO of NISG.

Posted by egovindia on July 17, 2006

Why NIC and NICSI sidelined ? Why NISG formed ? Derailing of eGovernance of INDIA by forming NISG by then Jt. Secretary of eGovernance NOW Add’l Secretary of eGovernance at DIT/MIT and CEO of NISG.

—————–
Forwarded Message:

Subj: Why NIC and NICSI sidelined ? Why NISG formed ? Derailing of eGovernance of INDIA by forming NISG by then Jt. Secretary of eGovernance NOW Add’l Secretary of eGovernance at DIT/MIT and CEO of NISG.

Date: 7/16/2006 12:47:34 P.M. Pacific Standard Time
From: vmkumaraswamy@gmail.com
To: presidentofindia@rb.nic.in, pmosb@pmo.nic.in, soniagandhi@sansad.nic.in, 10janpath@vsnl.net, mos@mit.gov.in, mocit@nic.in, manmohan@sansad.nic.in, shakeel.ahmad@sansad.nic.in, arjuns@sansad.nic.in, svpatil@sansad.nic.in, sjaipal@sansad.nic.in, jairam@sansad.nic.in, chavanprithviraj@sansad.nic.in, praful@sansad.nic.in, km.sahni@nic.in, oscar@sansad.nic.in, kapilsibal@hotmail.com, mdeora@sansad.nic.in, dch@nic.in, mvraja@yojana.nic.in, mos@nic.in, kirit.parikh@yojana.nic.in, kirit.parikh@nic.in, abhijit.sen@yojana.nic.in, abhijit.sen@nic.in, vl.chopra@yojana.nic.in, vl.chopra@nic.in, b.mungekar@yojana.nic.in, b.mungekar@nic.in, s.hameed@yojana.nic.in, s.hameed@nic.in, yugandhar.bn@nic.in, anwarul.hoda@nic.in, anwarul.hoda@yojana.nic.in, aiyar@satyam.net.in, nath@sansad.nic.in, ambika_aicc@yahoo.com, aicc@congress.org.in, swaraj@sansad.nic.in, spokesman_rss@yahoo.com, speakerloksabha@sansad.nic.in, advanilk@sansad.nic.in, ysinha@sansad.nic.in, mnaqvi@sansad.nic.in, mvnaidu@sansad.nic.in, chandan.mitra@sansad.nic.in, kjana@sansad.nic.in, cpim@vsnl.com, murli@sansad.nic.in, ajaitley@sansad.nic.in, najmah@sansad.nic.in, msgill@sansad.nic.in, rajnath@sansad.nic.in, bjpco@bjp.org, bjpco@del3.vsnl.net.in, iisatwal@hotmail.com, pdt.achary@sansad.nic.in, george@sansad.nic.in, covdnhrc@nic.in, minister@mit.gov.in, gandhim@sansad.nic.in, vajpayee@sansad.nic.in, bpapte@vsnl.com, pati@nic.in, asahu@nic.in, mprasad@nic.in, mathew.i@nic.in
CC: vmkumaraswamy@gmail.com, secretary@mit.gov.in, dg@nic.in, rgilani@mit.gov.in, phadke@mit.gov.in, jsegov@mit.gov.in, ksdir@hub.nic.in, moni@hub.nic.in, mohan@tn.nic.in, lalitha@hub.nic.in, pspillai@hub.nic.in, kashinath@hub.nic.in, srinath@mit.gov.in, ceo@nisg.org, vs@nisg.org, piyush.gupta@nisg.org, bala.srinivas@nisg.org, devajoy.choudhury@nisg.org, sachdeva.sameer@nisg.org, rrshah@nic.in, amisra@nic.in, pronab@nic.in, virmani@nic.in, jainder.singh@nic.in
Sent from the Internet (Details)

Proper eGovernance is the need of future !!

Bureaucracy of IAS Officers in eGovernance.

For effective implementation of RTI Act 2005 INDIA needs proper eGovernace in INDIA.

India lacks co-ordination on e-gov: NKC

http://right2information.wordpress.com/2006/06/12/india-lacks-co-ordination-on-e-gov-nkc/

 

HUMILIATION / VICTIMISATION / MARGINALISATION OF IT SCIENTISTS OF NIC BY BUREAUCRACY OF IAS OFFICERS.

Subject:- Information Technology (IT) Scientist of National Informatics Centre (NIC) of Dept. of IT are being denied rightful promotion under Flexible Complimentary Scheme (FCS) of Fifth Pay Commission and , thus, they are being Victimized, marginalized and even targeted of elimination from government by IAS Bureaucracy

Dear Sirs/ Madam

It is tribute to dynamic and visionary leadership of honorable Sh. Rajiv Gandhi who had been architect behind the establishment of National Informatics Centre (NIC) during late Eighties to make India becoming the first country in the world to achieve E-governance. It was one of the many scientific Institutes he had established to see India prosper and developed through embarking on a high level Knowledge society in India.

Some of the following subsequent actions taken particularly by your present government was great discouragement and humiliation for the IT scientist in particular :

The result of the Reviewed NIC IT scientist-G ( JS equivalent) under FCS ( Flexible Complimentary Scheme under central government of India) has been kept in abeyance for last one year and their calm, quiet and dedicated patience has been misused by new bureaucratic officials in Cabinet Secretariat to make the IT scientist suffer and get domoralised even though IT scientist of NIC are the main stake holder in Department of IT justifying the significance of DIT.

It is understood that IAS bureaucracy is trying to discontinue the Flexible Complimentary scheme (FCS) which has been formulated by His excellency Shri Rajiv Gandhi ex-prime minister of India for promotion of scientific bodies for building scientific knowledge society in India. In view of this all the recommendations for promotion to Scientist-G ( Joint secy. Equivalent) from the scientific ministries including NIC, DIT and DST etc. are kept in abeyance in cabinet secretaries and DOPT for last one year.

  1. Scientific Contribution made to govt. sector by NIC IT Scientist.

NIC scientist have done many firsts/ second in the world in IT sector in govt. of India during end 1980 when many countries including USA Govt. had not done in govt. sector.

1. Indian govt. is the first in the world to have such nodal computerization agency NIC for developing ICT applications for achieving e-governance in govt. sector.

2. NIC Scientist have established the 1st widespread VSAT based Wide Area (WAN) named NICNET of Indian govt. Network in the World covering all Districts/State/Central governments of Indian Union. (that time USA has the first V-Sat based Network but is was in some of its states not wide spread up to grass root level like in India)

3. They have made Indian govt. the 1st in the world in establishing computer center and LAN in all district/ state/central govt. offices including Leh and Andaman Nicober, Lakskhwadeep and Daman Diu.

4. They have made Indian govt. the 1st in the world to have Video Conference facility even at the remotest district/ state/central govt. level

5. They have made India 1st in the world during 1980s by declaring Indian Election result Live through VSAT communications up to district level

6. NIC IT scientist has established more than 700 computer centers, LAN and VSATs at district/state/ central govt. departments including research and public sector organizations of Government of India for providing E-mail/ internet connectivity and application software solutions. They have been effectively maintaining the services in all govt. sectors in India and adapting to new IT advancements.

7. They have been providing hands on computer training to all govt. staff and officers at district/state/central govt. offices for imparting computer cultures in India.

8. During mid eighties ( when there was almost no IT Pvt. Sector in India) NIC IT professionals have developed/ implemented various e-governance software at district/state/central govt. offices after studying, analyzing and designing databases in accordance to the requirement of govt. officials at various levels.

9. NIC IT Scientists have been designing/developing/ maintaining more than 1000 web sites of various districts/state/central govt. offices and research and public sector organizations for providing better citizen services.

10. NIC has the state of the art advanced ICT infrastructures and IT specialization in various application areas.

The spectrum of services provided by NIC encompasses various dimensions of the Information Technology Arena .

II. How they do it and with what resources.

1. 3,500 strong young IT professionals enrolled in end-1980s with having strong educational background of Ph.D., M.Tech, MCA from reputed Universities and national institutes like IIT are the main motivator who have been working at grass root level of district/state/central govt. offices to provide sustainable computer culture in India.

  1. They prepare/manage the computer center, install hardware, install software, maintain day – to – day computer up keeping, provide individual attention of each and every user staff, understand their requirement and understand their priority and slowly and steadily bring computer culture in the govt. offices all over India. Whatever is achieved till date in govt. computerization it is due to devotion and perseverance of each and every NIC official.

  1. NIC has been provided with annual budget around Rs. 200 crores for provision of salary of its employees and for providing hardware, software, LAN, WAN and their maintenance of more than 700 computer centers. This also includes the expenditure of hiring of internet bandwidth. If we consider the annual budget of any important research institute of ICAR, IIT, ICMR and CSIR it would range from 500 to 600 crores. NIC annual budget of Rs. 200 crores in comparison to this is meager amount and the gamut of IT services provided by NIC for the govt. sector will well be worth of more than thousand crores per annum in IT market of India.

  1. The maximum amount of salary of a Director level scientist of NIC is Rs.35,000 which is much less than even the salary of junior most IT professional ( Rs. 50,000) in Indian IT market. Maximum of NIC IT Scientist ( who have been working in govt. sector for various of their personal reasons and national interest) worth even more capable in IT efficiency and proficiency than the their counter part in IT industry in India.

III. Humiliation, marginalisation and attempt of elimination of IT Scientist by Bureaucracy ( IAS officials) –Political Nexus

1. IAS officers and NIC IT scientists are the only central govt. officials who have been working in grass root level at district/state/ central govt. offices. Mostly, IAS officials being autocratic and having absolute administrative and financial powers they do not have any specific agenda for e-governance and try to define what suits their personal interest undermining the role of NIC officials and the IT infrastructure available to them.

2. The growing popularity of N IC officials among local and regular staffs of the govt. at district/state/central govt. offices for achieving transparency in govt. functions is misconstrued as threat to the supremacy of IAS official, therefore they try to marginalize and humiliate the NIC officials in order to make the govt. functions according to their whims without any goal and desire to make govt. functions transparent for providing better citizen services.

3. In consequence of above, NIC was brought into bureaucratic control by merging with Department of Information and Technology (DIT) five years back. Since then, slowly and steadily, bureaucratic (IAS) officials through minister are attempting to eliminate the NIC officials by stopping promotion on Flexible Complimentary Scheme (FCS) so that they would loose motivation and ultimately theses motivated young and highly educated govt. IT professionals could be made dead-horse by the bureaucrat making them easy for its elimination from govt. In similar fashion, they have almost killed Indian Statistical Service (ISS) and Indian Economic Service (IES) which have been created by great planner Dr. Mahalonobis to bring effective planning at grass root and national level. They have been continuously marginalizing other 21 services of Govt. of India.

4. Being very close to Politicians/Ministers right from their service at cadre level, the IAS officials could misguide and give wrong impression about functioning of NIC and other services to the former for achieving their goal of supremacy over any other govt. services.

5. During the last five years IAS officers have created more than 25 IT Secretaries in State Govt. and more than 50 JS(IT) in Central Govt. These IT secretaries and JS(IT)s hardly have any IT experience and in spite of that they used to have IT manager tenure ranging from six months to the maximum of two years during which some of the corrupt officers outsource the procurement of IT products and system analysis, design, development of web sites and various other systems ignoring the advice and presence of NIC official. It may be mentioned that IT related activities outsourced by various departments and state govt. either are fractured or abandoned midway after huge amount of govt. money being spent by bureaucrat. Thus undisputed administrative and financial power of IAS officers at various level is the hindrance of any effective e-governance system in govt. sector in India.

IV. NIC has been considered as threat/ stumbling block for corrupt politicians/ bureaucracy/ Pvt. IT Vendors, therefore, it is being fragmented/isolated

1. Since last 25 years NIC has been following sound and fair track record of procurement of hardware, software, networking and consultancy services in competitive prices through a transparent and standard evaluation process. In view of this, many central and state govt. organizations used to procure IT products through NIC services Inc NICSI. Politicians – bureaucrat nexus could not favour the IT vendor for corrupt practices, therefore, Chairmanship of NICSI has been changed now from DG(NIC) to an IAS officer. The fate of NICSI will happen as it has happened to many sick PSUs.

2. Govt. e-governance systems are basically open ended in nature. NIC officials have been steadily developing the system after understanding the requirement analysis and the capability of the users to adopt and adapt to new systems by actively involving themselves in the process of development and implementation. Our govt. systems are very complex and these systems are evolutionary in nature and therefore have to be evolved by taking along with varied level of efficient and proficient staff so that there would be no antipathy to introduction of e-governance software. There is no short cut for sustainable implementation of E-governance software in govt. sector. Since IAS officer has short tenure and he wants to get it done immediately by outsourcing to Pvt vendors in his biased way in very short span of time lot of govt. money and unplanned efforts gets wasted without any achievement in this direction.

In spite of that, during the last three years IAS officer have created more than 25 IT secretaries in state govt. and more that 50 JS(IT) in central govt. These IT secretaries and JS(IT)s hardly have any IT experience and in spite of that they used to have IT manager tenure ranging from six months to the maximum of two years during which some of the corrupt officers out sources the procurement of IT products and system analysis, design, development of web sites and various other system ignoring the advice and presence of NIC official. It may be mentioned that IT related activities outsourced by various departments and state govt. either are fractured or abandoned midway after huge amount of govt. money being spend by bureaucrat. Thus undisputed administrative and financial power of IAS officers at various level is the hindrance of any effective e-governance system in govt. sector in India.

3. Bureaucracy and e-governance/transparency in govt. can never go hand by hand. Bureaucrats will never allow e-governance and transparency in govt. be achieved in real sense. They are only enjoying the fruit of IT revolution world wide through traveling more and more countries in the pretext of attending training, conferences and carrying out bilateral projects and so on so forth. They do themselves IT savvy by associating themselves with important IT industries in India and abroad.

4. Because of NICs 20 years of govt. informatics development and its appreciation by all staffs and local officials of state and central govt., many unscrupulous IT industries are trying to defame NIC in political and ministerial levels to gain IT business in govt. sector. NIC has been thus squeezed from all sections and its achievement have been sidelined. Many of the MNC-IT industries whose head offices are located in developed countries they provide mostly free IT services to their respective govt. but their profit making commercial centers established in developing countries like India are only meant for generation of profit from developing countries. In view of this, none of IT industries in India have developed any meaningful e-governance software for govt. sector even after being paid heavily by the govt.

V. Bureaucrats have established National Institute of SMART Government (NISG) at Hyderabad to counter the scientific organization like NIC and NISCI

National Institute of SMART Government(NISG) has been established by bureaucratic lobby to counter Scientific body like NIC and NICSI so that bureaucrats can have honeymoon with Private companies for institutionalizing the corruption and favoritisms for reaping the personal benefit. NISG is basically a company under government like NICSI. No projects should be financially approved to NISG without going for open tender. However, it is observed that some of the projects even awarded by DOPT finance to NISG breaking all rules of financial rule so that bureaucrats in NISG could take up the project with private vendors.

V. Suggestion

1. IT scientist of NIC should be rightfully promoted under FCS ( Flexible Complimentary Scheme of fifth pay Commission) as has been in the case of Ministry of Science, Department of Spare, CSIR, ICAR and other national Institutes.

IT scientist, like other scientists of above organizations, have been deprived of promotion and are resorted to humiliation and have been paying price of being put under the control of IAS officials who would finish and wipe out the emerging IT Scientist who have been working tirelessly to bring transparency through E-governance for citizens of the country by making IAS official answerable to the autocratic and corruptive actions at all levels.

2. The pending file regarding promotion of IT scientist ( reviewed in 2004) lying with Ministries during last one year should be cleared as early as possible so that next review of eligible IT scientist under FCS should be completedsoon. Unless it is done, whatever has been achieved during last 20 years will be hampered and it would give opportunity to IAS bureaucrat to finish the NIC to make E-governance a mockery in their hands by playing with Pvt. Vendors.

3. As earlier, NIC should be brought under the Planning Commission which could play an effective/ pivotal role in implementing E-governance in state and central govt. by encouraging IT scientist and making the bureaucracy answerable for their autocratic attitude for playing the bottleneck to the achievement of E-governance. Since last 50 years, even though a cadre service, IAS bureaucracy has always been victimizing and paralising the scientists, subject matter specialist of all scientific/ technical and policy making bodies in central govt. sector of India to suit their hegemony, corruptive practice and bureaucratic autocracy.

4. Planning Commission being a nodal body in policy making and allocating of funds by effective monitoring of different schemes to central and state governments It should be strengthened by bringing NIC in its fold to play vital role in promoting E-governance in state and central government and to play a watch dog against IAS bureaucracy who play hindrance to E-governance and transparency.

5. It may be mentioned that since last five years IAS bureaucrat have been making mockery of E-governance by organizing national conference/IT managers Conference through D/o AR & PG where at the most 4 to 5 state IT secretaries/IT managers hardly present in these conferences. More importantly, there is no meaningful agenda in all these conferences without having any fruitful recommendations. These conferences are only meant for IAS officials for site seeing and enjoying the hospitality of MNC IT vendors in five star hotels.

6. The need of NISG should be questioned. Since NIC and NICSI have already been established to cater to the requirement of govt and pvt interface for achieving the E-governance the duplication of activities of NISG is questionable and is considered as counter offensive of bureaucrats to scientific agencies like NIC and NICSI. The establishment of NISG should be discouraged. E-Governance is basically an attempt to free the citizens from bureaucratic control and hegemony. In case bureaucratic organization like NISG is encouraged it would encourage them to have more control on the administration to have their choice and whims on transperancy

7. India has huge potential in government IT manpower like nodal IT agency like NIC and NICSI whose presence at center state and district administration is considered unique in comparison to other developed countries. IT scientist in all level of administration have gained lot of experience in providing IT supports. But irony is that because of lack of initiative of IAS officials at these center, state and district level E-governance application developed by NIC is not being implemented. The lack of initiative is because of the fear of loosing their control on administration due to transparency offered by E-government.

8. What we need at present in Govt. of India is to outsource the management work

( rather than Software application already developed by NIC) being handled presently by bureaucrats to the MBAs of reputed IIMS for effective implementation of E-Governance software already developed by NIC rather that E-governance software applications to MNCs. E-government Software application have already been developed by NIC with its 15 years experience on govt sector what they need is these software should be effectively implemented by good management support of the government administration. Implementation requires 85 % management supports whereas Software support constitutes 15 %. NIC could not implement vast number of the software developed by it because of lack of administrative and management support in government.

9. In view of these, in order to effectively implement the e-Governance the Planning Commission should be strengthened by bringing NIC in its fold which can enforce e-Governance in state and central govt. by the way of monitoring the e-governance projects through provision of funds and evaluation / implementation through NIC.

E-governance is national agenda therefore it should be part of the national coordinating agency like Planning Commission rather than it should be restricted to any bureaucratic department.

Department of IT may be responsible for regulating hardware, IT Infrastructure, IT manpower policies and regulation etc. However, e-Governance being a national agenda cutting across the state/ central govt. organizations NIC should be brought back under Planning Commission.

Whatever NIC had achieved in e-Governance while it was in Planning Commission during 1988-2000 its achievement has been reversed by bureaucrat during last two years by hobnobbing with many private vendors only to satisfy their personal interests. We can never achieve e-Governance through the IAS bureaucrats who have been traditionally non-transparent, corruptive and autocratic.

Unless we give NIC its right place we will re-wind the progress of E-governance in each succeeding year.

I request and pray to all concerned not to deprive the NIC-IT scientists their rightful timely promotion, under FCS of fifth pay commission, which not only give them encouragement but also make them feel confident to fight for achieving e-governance in spite of humiliation by IAS bureaucrat at all levels up to district/central/ state government level.

This is one of the social responsibility of all concerned to realize that the scientific organizations which have been contributing significantly for the developmental work for citizen friendly govt. should not be eliminated by bureaucratic and political nexus. It may be brought to the notice of Minister ( Communication and IT), PM, President of India and Dy. Chairman of Planning Commission, Leader of the Opposition etc. for their kind perusal.

With regards

Supporters of the Govt. of India

ABOUT V. M. Kumaraswamy, MBA

This is Mr. V. M. Kumaraswamy, MBA. in business since 1971.

Founder and Moderator of India’s largest e-governance Yahoogroup under the title eGovINDIA.

You can reach this group at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/eGovINDIA

This is Mr. V. M. Kumaraswamy, MBA.

About eGovINDIA and it’s activties

https://egovindia.wordpress.com/

http://right2information.wordpress.com/

http://whistleblowers.wordpress.com/

http://coverup2bungled.wordpress.com/

________________________________________

PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING FOR WHAT IS HAPPENNING.

NISG need to LEARN to RESPOND to EMAILS first to solve problems that it has created in INDIA.

Mr. R. Chandrashekar needs to respond for emails and answerable to all these email letters. He can’t escape. RTI will make him to do it.

We all know that Mr. R. Chandrshekar came from AP to DIT/MIT. This is when the idea of formimg NISG was started by Mr. R. Chandrashekar. He had a motive behind forming the NISG.

Mr. J. Sathyanarayana is also from AP. He was made the CEO of NISG. These are all understanding between these TWO IAS Officers to DERAIL the eGovernance in INDIA. Also these TWO probably had ideas helping few companies with a motive behind it. These can be seen and read through the DATAQUEST article called E-Governance MUDDLE. This article has exposed the CLOSE RELATINSHIP of NISG with PWC, RAM INFOTECH, CMS and otehr companies.

Mr. J. Sathyanarayana be fore becoming CEO of NISG has cretaed problems of eProcurement SCAM in AP. We all know about this now. He has convinced the WORLDBANK also on C 1 INDIA eProcurement SCAM.

NISG can’t HIDE under Mr. R. Chandrashekar of DIT/MIT to PROTECT from wrong doings. This is happenning.
How long Mr. R. Chandrashekar is going to keep on doing this ?

Formation of NISG is itself QUESTIONABLE now ? How did Mr. R. Chandrashekar made UNDP to INVEST FUNDS into NISG without CABINET APPROVAL ?

UNDP has been led by Governament of INDIA.

NISG need to post all the SOURCES of FUNDS and USES of FUNDS on it’s WEBSITE that it has received from UNDP, MICROSOFT and all other MNC’s and WORLD BANK and other institutions.

NISG’S MOCKERY of eGovernance in INDIA :: Time to wind up NISG save eGovernance in INDIA from NONACCOUNTABILITY

https://egovindia.wordpress.com/2006/07/13/nisgs-mockery-of-egovernance-in-india-time-to-wind-up-nisg-save-egovernance-in-india-from-nonaccountability/

_____________________________

Copies to:

Minister, Ministry of Communication & IT

Minister of Personnel , Public Grievances and Pension

Dy. Chairman, Planning Commission

Prime Minister

President of India

Copy to : Leader of Opposition, Lok Sabha

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INDIA’s FIRST E-DISTRICT – Process Automation based e-governance implementation in core. government functions

Posted by egovindia on July 16, 2006

https://egovindia.wordpress.com/2006/07/19/process-automation-based-e-governance-implementation-in-core-government-functioning-in-tiruvarur-district-of-tamilnadu-india-2/
Process Automation based e-governance implementation in core. government functioning in Tiruvarur district of TamilNadu. (India)


Posted in eGovINDIA Group | Leave a Comment »