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Jaya questions Umashankar’s suspension, says he is being victimised

Posted by egovindia on August 5, 2010

Jaya questions Umashankar’s suspension, says he is being victimised

4 Aug, 2010 2305hrs IST TNN
CHENNAI: Rallying behind suspended IAS officer C Umashankar, AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa on Wednesday alleged that the dalit officer was being victimised by the DMK government in Tamil Nadu for “exposing and questioning the atrocities” of chief minister M Karunanidhi’s family.

Reacting to the suspension of the 1990 batch IAS officer on the charge that he had entered the civil services using a bogus community certificate, she said it was the responsibility of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to vet the antecedents of every recruit and verify all their certificates. “When this is so, the Karunanidhi government suddenly claiming that Umashankar had entered the service using a forged community certificate gives room for speculation on the reasons behind this,” she said in a statement.

Jayalalithaa said Umashankar was appointed as managing director of Arasu Cable Corporation (ACC), which was launched in 2007 following a rift in Karunanidhi’s family. More than Rs 400 crore was invested in ACC for sophisticated electronic receivers and fibre-optic cable networking. However, once there was a reconciliation between Karunanidhi’s close family members and his grand-nephews, the Maran brothers, he was shunted out of ACC, she charged.

Earlier, in 2006, when Umashankar was MD of the Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu (ELCOT), it floated a joint venture company with New Era Technologies Ltd called ELNET, she said and added that ELNET, in turn, launched a subsidiary company called ETL Infrastructure Ltd. “This company purchased 25 acres of land at Pallikaranai near Chennai and constructed an IT park of 17 lakh square feet. It also got IT special economic zone status from the Centre by projecting itself as a subsidiary of the state-owned ELCOT. But later, ETL became a wholly privately-owned company,” the AIADMK chief said. She alleged that the officer was shunted out from ELCOT after he raised questions about the disappearance of it subsidiary from records along with its Rs 700 crore assets.

Umashankar had fallen foul of the Jayalalithaa regime of 1991-96 too. He first came into prominence when he detected irregularities in construction of cremation sheds when he was an official in Madurai district. Later, a CBI investigation was ordered into the scam and the trial is still going on.

http://m.timesofindia.com/PDATOI/articleshow/6258486.cms

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Posted in NIC, NISG, NKC, President on eGovernance, Process Automated eGov, State Govt.'s of INDIA and Organizations, Tamilnadu eGovernance | 1 Comment »

ACTION ON DALIT OFFICER SMACKS OF VENDETTA: JAYA

Posted by egovindia on August 5, 2010

ACTION ON DALIT OFFICER SMACKS OF VENDETTA: JAYA

Chennai,

 
 

AIADMK general secretary J Jayalalithaa accused the DMK government on Wednesday of victimising IAS officer C Umashankar, and alleged that the Dalit officer had been “targeted for expos ing or questioning the wrong-doings” of the family members of Chief Minister M Karunanidhi.
 
It “smacks of vendetta,” she said in a statement here, referring to the suspension of Umashankar, a 1990-batch IAS officer, on the “pretext” that he had entered the Civil Services using a bogus community certificate.
 
Jayalalithaa wondered why the government suddenly claimed that Umashankar had forged his community certificate when it was the UPSC that had appointed him after verifying his credentials and certificates. She recalled that Umashankar had taken action against Sumangali Cable Vision (of the DMK’s Sun TV Group) when he was MD of Arasu Cable Corporation. Also, he had raised certain questions as MD of the ELCOT (Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu).
 
http://epaper.newindpress.com/NE/NE/2010/08/05/ArticleHtmls/05_08_2010_002_027.shtml?Mode=1

Posted in eGovernance Intiatives of Govt., eGovernance issues, NIC, NISG, NKC, Tamilnadu eGovernance | Leave a Comment »

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

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 Yahoogroup Effect- Submission to NKC

Posted by egovindia on June 12, 2006

[ eGovINDIA Yahoogroup Effect] Submission to NKC

 [eGovINDIA Effect] India lacks co-ordination on e-gov // National Knowledge Commission announces e-governance recommendations // Submission to National Knowledge Commission from eGovINDIA Yahoogroup, on relevance of e-governance in building a knowledge super power,

India lacks co-ordination on e-gov 

National Knowledge Commission "NKC" announces e-governance recommendations
 
Monday, May 08, 2006

BANGALORE: With a view to standardize e-governance across various States, the National Knowledge Commission (NKC) today made public the recommendations its special group had submitted to the prime minister a few months back.

NKC chairman Sam Pitroda today told a press conference here that the ten recommendations it made relate to processes, standards, infrastructure and organization.

“The current e-governance efforts are based on computerizing age-old processes left behind by the British Raj,” said Pitroda.

Besides Pitroda, the NKC comprises industry leaders, technocrats and academics such as molecular biologist Dr PM Bhargava; sociologist Dr Andre Beteille; Infosys CEO Nandan Nilekani; Economist Dr Jayati Ghosh and others.

The recommendations have been discussed with the prime minister and the NKC is currently working with the government to implement these.

“We want to make adjustments and fine tune the existing e-governance projects,” Pitroda said.

He said that the private sector would be roped in to develop software, business models and deliver services and information to people. He said that at present, there is no national co-ordination on e-governance.

“Simply digitizing the existing government processes merely adds an additional layer of expense, complexity, delay and confusion.”

On the timeframe for the implementation of the recommendations, Pitroda said that it could take 18 months to three years. He added that no quick results could be expected. “This is the start of a journey and we expect resistance. But people are open and receptive to change. We see a better climate for change now than 20 years ago,” he said.

Addressing the media, Nilekani said that the aim was to have similar standards in the country and make sure the digital divide does not aggravate.

“Information should empower citizens. We are also considering distribution through multiple channels through wide connectivity and also mobile phones.”

The ten recommendations of the NKC are:

-Government process reengineering instead of computerization
-Identify and simplify 10 to 20 important processes and services
-Create common national standards
-Design best practices that can be applicable nationwide
-National infrastructure
-Provide web-based services
-Open Source Software
-Create an empowered Chief Information Technology Officer (CITO)
-New national programs such as Bharat Nirman, urban development initiatives
-Focused Organization

CyberMedia News
___________________

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

April 10 th 2006

Dear Chairman and Members of the National Knowledge Commission,

 

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 through the NKC. 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.

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. The NKC 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. Copy provided at the bottom of the email.

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

12.  Cheating in the name of e-governance. The case of n-logue

This paragraph had been withdrawn after detailed discussions. Copy provide at the bottom of the email.

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 NKC 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 NKC may take an appropriate view on this subject.

 

Dated the 10th April 2006 at Bangalore.

Signed

Moderator, egovINDIA- yahoo group.

 

Enclosure:

1.      Mail sent to Mr.Sam Pitroda, Chairman, NKC 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
_______________________________________________________________These TWO sections are removed after discussing with Mr. Nandan M. Nilekani  of NKC in Bangalore. This is for both of your file.

The role of NISG. Should a private limited company control the Indian e-governance movement? It is a peculiar happening in India that a private company registered under Section 25 of the Indian Companies Act (National Institute of Smart Government) has been controlling the e-governance activities of not only the central government but also many state governments. The states stand in queue before this private company to receive funding assistance for their e-governance activities. This group is of the opinion that NISG had directly encouraged corruption and lack of transparency. It has been promoting certain chosen corporate for the detriment of a host of companies which believe in honesty and fair play. The NKC may take an appropriate view on this subject based on the huge volume of materials written on the egovINDIA group.

Cheating in the name of e-governance. The case of n-logue and Mr.Ashok Jhunjanwalla: In the name of providing connectivity and internet to the rural masses, the women self help groups of TamilNadu and elsewhere are being deprived of their livelihood by a clever business plan played by Prof.Ashok Jhunjanwalla of IIT, Madras. This scam is targeted at the subsidy money received by the women self help groups from Government of India. Though the said IIT Professor knows that a 32 kbps outdated wireless system is not good enough for video conferencing, he has been promoting falsehood only to gain income though business. Mr.Jhunjanwalla is a Director in the company which markets this outdated wireless product. It is to be noted that every district has a District Blindness Control society headed by the respective District Collectors which monitors and supports blindness control. The entire funding comes from international agencies. Thousands of poor people get 100% financial assistance every year through this exercise. Whereas Mr.Jhunjanwalla has been promoting falsehood by stating that his outdated wireless system could provide a solution to the blindness of the people through video conferencing (Tele medicine). What could never be accepted in urban India is being sold to the rural women self help groups using Government contacts/orders with no benefit accruing to the poor women. The NKC may look into this affair and stop the cheating that goes in the name of e-governance.

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The Word is Out – India lacks co-ordination on e-gov: NKC

Posted by egovindia on May 28, 2006

The Word is Out – India lacks co-ordination on e-gov: NKC

Dear Mr.Kumarswamy and Mr.Umashankar,

This credit goes to your tireless effect.Hope It may reflect on todays
cabinet meeting on NeGP plan and its implemention if our political
leader has own capbility.Nation will benift if it takes follows NKC
report which reflect our egovindia ideas.

As Mr.Sam Pitroda says "The current e-governance efforts are based on
computerizing age-old processes left behind by the British Raj,"
"Simply digitizing the  existing government processes merely adds an
additional layer of  expense, complexity, delay and confusion."
"E-governance is more about an opportunity for administrative reforms
than merely about  electronics, IT and infrastructure. If we miss this
opportunity to  reengineer government processes before
computerization, the cost will be enormous,"

It reveal what our Mr.Umashakar did is true e-governance based on
administrave reforms which is mainly cared for weeker section and
empowered the poor.Its not intened the mere computersing the payment
collection  based on british Raj policies.We need visionary like
Mr.Umashakar as Nations IT secretary who crave for true e-governance
but not for commisions.Unfortunately strong corrupt people lobby is
ahead of us and getting showcause notices to honest people and supress
their carrier trhough transfers.You have sent mail to many iit
professors.Most of them got projects from DIT so they have to show
soft corner towards DIT.Infact some professors attended US conference
funded by Microsoft and filled our curriculum with M$ technologies
even at PG level.These people has no moral and sold to M$.They cant
answer  your question.Finally victims are middle class people who
spent money on engg by selling their lands and valuables.
They have to come out and again joined in the courses conducted by
C-DAC.you can see http:acts.cdac.in for more info.each person has to
pay 60k and another 30-40k  towards hostels.Though C-DAC is benifited
from govt funds there is no reservation in admission and agin exempted
from excise tax from this course revenue.Becasue c-dac claims being
govt instution it should get exemption.There is no placement gurantee
and many people have to search outside.the revenue is approx 50 crores
from training.Now at hyd central excise has given two show cause
notice to c-dac reg sales tax on training revenue.
DIT also do royal treatment for u r listed professors  as project
advisory members.So all these professors has to support DIT deeds.If
you want to change all this bad deeds only one solution the BOSS of
DIT should  be honest person.That only happens when people like
Mr.Umashaker will get the Top post in DIT.otherwise expecting from DIT
is day dream.we cant able get reply from DIT using RTI.DIT is
influenced by crooks and Govt should abolish DIT.There is no
contribution to nation from DIT other then urden of corruption.

I pray God to pour blessings in strengthening your powers.

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Letter from eGovINDIA to NKC – Portion of the Letter

Posted by egovindia on May 28, 2006

22nd December, 2005

Chennai

India

 

Dear Shri.Sam Pitroda,

Greetings.

Creation of National Institute of Smart Government (NISG), a prelude to cheat the nation!

 

 

I have written enough in the electronic media about the NISG and how it had been formed to cater certain vested interests and how it is kept away from Parliament control.

NISG had been formed a special purpose vehicle to usher in a new era in India driven by e-governance. The cause is noble indeed.  
The manner in which NISG had been formed to the detriment of the nation is a serious cause of concern. The proponents of NISG, mostly my colleagues in the IAS have formed it into a private limited company with charitable purpose under Section 25 of the Indian Companies Act. What is the contribution of the private sector. It is next to nothing. The entire funding for NISG had so far come from UNDP. UNDP had been apparently manipulated to sign an MOU with NISG to fund $30 millions for promoting e-governance in India!

No UN organisation can invest in India unless the nodal department in the Government of India concurs to the proposal in advance. So, in effect, the nodal departments in Government of India hold the key to the investments proposed by UN agencies. In this case the nodal department is the department of ICT in Delhi. This department had manipulated UNDP to invest in NISG, a private limited company which is not answerable any regulatory agency in India such as the Public Accounts Committee, the CBI or the CVI. What is the need to create such a special purpose vehicle without any controls is a serious question?

And what is the role of National Informatics Centre (NIC), the dream organisation of Rajiv Gandhi if it is not meant for e-governance. NIC , is a wholly owned Government of India organisation with due audit controls. It would be better if NISG is nationalised or the whole task is handed over to NIC.

India needs a clear e-governance policy:

The current IT policy does not cater to e-governance. The need of the hour is to have an e-governance policy for the nation. The process is very important. India needs to spell out where it wants to stand in the area of e-governance, say 10 years from now, 15 years from now, 20 years from now and so on.

What are the areas in which India wants to automate have to be decided and declared well in advance so that the mile stones set could be attempted.

There should be a clear policy on OSS in e-governance too.

India needs a well spelt out policy to support the BIMAR states in the area of e-governance. I can add more to this list but you are a person who can look into the future easily. So I am just leaving this aspect at this. 

Need for administrative reforms:

India has been attempting piece meal administrative reforms so far. We need a path breaking administrative reform, the way the Congress government had brought in the Right to Information Act (RTI). The role of All India Services and State services has to be redefined to suit the current requirements. The colonial hang over which is still there in large doses has to be wiped out. India should belong to Indians. Today the true India belongs to the politicians and bureaucracy only.

 The role of NISG. Should a private limited company control the Indian e-governance movement?

It is a peculiar happening in India that a private company registered under Section 25 of the Indian Companies Act (National Institute of Smart Government) has been controlling the e-governance activities of not only the central government but also many state governments. The states stand in queue before this private company to receive funding assistance for their e-governance activities. This group is of the opinion that NISG had directly encouraged corruption and lack of transparency. It has been promoting certain chosen corporate for the detriment of a host of companies which believe in honesty and fair play. The NKC may take an appropriate view on this subject based on the huge volume of materials written on the egovINDIA group.

Above letter Written by eGovINDIA Group to NKC !

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India lacks co-ordination on e-gov

Posted by egovindia on May 28, 2006

India lacks co-ordination on e-gov
National Knowledge Commission announces e-governance recommendations
Monday, May 08, 2006

BANGALORE: With a view to standardize e-governance across various States, the National Knowledge Commission (NKC) today made public the recommendations its special group had submitted to the prime minister a few months back.

NKC chairman Sam Pitroda today told a press conference here that the ten recommendations it made relate to processes, standards, infrastructure and organization.

“The current e-governance efforts are based on computerizing age-old processes left behind by the British Raj,” said Pitroda.

Besides Pitroda, the NKC comprises industry leaders, technocrats and academics such as molecular biologist Dr PM Bhargava; sociologist Dr Andre Beteille; Infosys CEO Nandan Nilekani; Economist Dr Jayati Ghosh and others.

The recommendations have been discussed with the prime minister and the NKC is currently working with the government to implement these.

“We want to make adjustments and fine tune the existing e-governance projects,” Pitroda said.

He said that the private sector would be roped in to develop software, business models and deliver services and information to people. He said that at present, there is no national co-ordination on e-governance.

“Simply digitizing the existing government processes merely adds an additional layer of expense, complexity, delay and confusion.”

On the timeframe for the implementation of the recommendations, Pitroda said that it could take 18 months to three years. He added that no quick results could be expected. “This is the start of a journey and we expect resistance. But people are open and receptive to change. We see a better climate for change now than 20 years ago,” he said.

Addressing the media, Nilekani said that the aim was to have similar standards in the country and make sure the digital divide does not aggravate.

“Information should empower citizens. We are also considering distribution through multiple channels through wide connectivity and also mobile phones.”

The ten recommendations of the NKC are:

-Government process reengineering instead of computerization
-Identify and simplify 10 to 20 important processes and services
-Create common national standards
-Design best practices that can be applicable nationwide
-National infrastructure
-Provide web-based services
-Open Source Software
-Create an empowered Chief Information Technology Officer (CITO)
-New national programs such as Bharat Nirman, urban development initiatives
-Focused Organization

CyberMedia News

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E-governance: Panel for implementation soon

Posted by egovindia on May 28, 2006

E-governance: Panel for implementation soon
DH News Service Bangalore:

http://www.deccanherald.com/deccanherald/may92006/state201854200658.asp

The Centre is planning to constitute a high-level inter-ministerial group to implement the recommendations made by the National Knowledge Commission (NKC) on e-governance. Talking to reporters after a three-day consultation on Monday, NKC Chairman Sam Pitroda said the group could be headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

“We are already discussing the recommendations at different levels. The inter-ministerial group, perhaps headed by the Prime Minister, will take shape in the next couple of weeks,” he said.

Mr Pitroda said the NKC recommended some fine-tuning of the existing e-governance system so that it works in alignment with a “new thinking”.

“This is going to be a long process, and there’s no room for quick solutions. These recommendations could take 18 months to three years before reaching the implementation level,” he said.

Co-ordination

Stressing on the importance of a national co-ordination for the e-governance system, Mr Pitroda said e-governance was not about computerising existing processes. “We need to change our basic governance pattern and ensure transparency, productivity and simplicity. We should pick 10 to 20 important services and offer them on the Web and create a common e-governance platform to make it citizen-centric,” he said and added that at present, different states had different ways of implementing e-governance.

The recommendations were based on the report of a special group formed within NKC — headed by Infosys CEO Nandan Nilekani — on e-governance.

‘Informed is empowered’ — Mr Nilekani said the Commission, while making the recommendations, had ensured that they didn’t further aggravate the digital divide persisting in the country.

Effectiveness

“The system should be devised to ensure more effective identification of entities, like land and people. By disseminating information through multiple channels — like mobile phones — the system actually empowers the public. The access to information should not be limited to people who have computers,” he said.

NKC ROADMAP

Before computerisation, redesign government processes

Offer services like issuance of birth/death certificates, ration cards on Web

Ensure common standards of operation, across the country

Digitise relevant government data, make it accessible to the public

Provide nation-wide broadband infrastructure

Localise data and services in regional languages

Provide open source software implementations

Appoint Chief IT Officer for each State

Invest one to two per cent of national programme budget in e-governance

Create organisation with CEO to drive e-governance
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“Reengineer govt processes before e-gov”

Posted by egovindia on May 28, 2006

"Reengineer govt processes before e-gov"
Our Bureau / Bangalore May 8, 2006
business-standard
The National Knowledge Commission, headed by technocrat Sam Pitroda, has come out with a blue print on e-governance, aimed at eliminating the British Raj practices in the government sector by reengineering processes and services.

"E-governance is more about an opportunity for administrative reforms than merely about electronics, IT and infrastructure. If we miss this opportunity to reengineer government processes before computerization, the cost will be enormous," Pitroda said here on Monday after presenting the recommendations made by the Commission.

The report on e-governance was prepared by a special group of the commission, under the chairmanship of Nandan Nilekani, chief executive officer of Infosys. The report was discussed at the Planning Commission and presented to the ministry for communication and IT.

A high level committee, headed by the Prime Minister, would oversee the implementation of the recommendations made by the Commission.
A result can be expected over the next few years and Rs 5,000-7,000 crore might be spent on e-governance in the coming days," Pitroda said.

The main recommendations include reengineering of government process before computerization. It is essential to first redesign government processes with a citizen focus. There should be a replacement of old mistrust and control regime with hassle-free enabling of citizens, businesses, producers and consumers," Pitroda said.

The government must identity 10-20 important processes and services starting with birth and death certificates, proof of residence, ration card and ID card. "Each state should implement these processes in concert and learn from each other," Pitroda said.

The other recommendations include: computerisation at the national level, a nationwide secure broadband infrastructure and associated hardware, software and hosting facilities with easy access, starting web-based services, use of open source software and open standards, creating an empowered chief information technology officer at the state and central level, implementing new national programmes like Bharat Nirman through e-governance and creating an organisation to ensure that e-governance succeeds.

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Knowledge panel unveils blueprint for e-governance

Posted by egovindia on May 28, 2006

Knowledge panel unveils blueprint for e-governance

By Indo Asian News Service

Bangalore, May 8 (IANS) The National Knowledge Commission (NKC), set up by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last year, Monday came out with a slew of recommendations to usher in e-governance for improving delivery of public services and providing efficient and transparent administration.

'The game plan is to leave behind the legacy of the British raj, which has been perfected by the Indian bureaucracy, with a plethora of new layers and silos, each working within departmental boundaries and pet-priorities,' said NKC chairman Sam Pitroda.

Releasing the recommendations after a three-day brain-storming sessions here on e-governance efforts at the central and state levels, Pitroda told reporters here that a special group, under the chairmanship of Nandan Nilekani, a member of the panel and Infosys CEO, was formed to study e-governance.

'The recommendations have been given to the prime minister for implementation. The prime minister has responded positively. We have also advised the government to set up a high-level committee or inter-ministerial group to monitor their implementation in a time-bound manner,' Pitroda said.

The eight-member panel, consisting of Pushpa Bhargava, Deepak Nayyar, Ashok Ganguly, Jayati Gosh, Andre Beteille, Pratap Bhanu Mehta and Nilekani, prepared a detailed report with inputs from the planning commission, the ministry of communication and information technology (IT) and the administrative reforms commission.

'The NKC recognises e-governance is more an opportunity for administrative reforms than merely about electronics, IT and infrastructure. The recommendations pertain to processes and standards, infrastructure and organisation,' Pitroda pointed out.

Highlighting some of the recommendations, he said the panel envisaged an upfront investment of 50-70 billion ($1.1-1.5 billion) in introducing e-governance across the country.

Though a couple of state governments have already launched e-governance projects, while others are in the process of implementing their own projects, the panel favoured aligning them with the national e-governance programme recommended by it for seamless integration and inter-operability.

'The objectives of e-governance are: to reduce transaction costs and time, improve reach and quality of public services, increase transparency of government functioning and empower citizens, re-engineer processes to increase efficiency and productivity, and ensure the right people get the benefits,' the NKC report stressed.

Advocating a central organization with structures to operate in mission mode, with full autonomy and accountability, the panel said organizational issues related to re-engineering government processes with strong committed leadership, pre-defined deliverables, measurable milestones and periodic monitoring needed to be addressed in order to implement national e-governance programme within the next three-five years.

On evolving common standards, Nilekani said it was crtitical to develop and enforce citizen/business entitlement standards uniformly across all states and central ministries and functions, spanning voting, taxes, certificates, financial products, law-enforcement and welfare for individuals, properties of land, institutions, businesses, etc.

For implementing the national e-governance programme, the NKC has recommended a nationwide secure broadband infrastructure and associated hardware, software and hosting facilities, with easy access at all levels.

The panel also favoured use of open source for software implementation and standards, wherever possible, keeping in view its advantages such as cost-effective solutions, greater scalability and reduce delays caused by repeat tendering.

Copyright Indo-Asian News Service

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