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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 »

President of India – On the Web

Posted by egovindia on June 21, 2006

President of India – On the Web 
 
 
 
Mohandas VS & Rajesh Sharma, NIC HQ 
 

The might and authority of the people of India, the largest democracy in the world, which pervades this Republic is represented by the President of the country. The official website of the first Citizen of India was recently revamped and transformed into a graphically appealing and completely dynamic website (http://presidentofindia.nic.in).

Hon'ble President with the NIC Team led by Dr. B.K. Gairola, DDG

Though the President’s Office already had a website for the past few years, a need was felt to enhance the content and visual appeal as well as add some dynamic features which facilitate an interaction between the Hon’ble President and the common citizens. The re-designed Website, a joint effort of the President’s Secretariat, the concerned NIC Cell and the Webservices Group at NIC HQ, is an online resource of information about the following: President of India, magnificence and glamour of Rashtrapati Bhavan, presidential retreats, ceremonial functions, Mughal Garden, Herbal Garden, a brief about the former Presidents of the nation, a collection of speeches / lectures / addresses / banquet speeches as well as press releases & recent events in multilingual format using dynamic fonts.

Dr. Kalam showing keen interest in the website being demonstrated by Mr. V Ponraj, Director(TI) (Presidents office) and Ms. Neeta Verma, NIC

In a special ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, The Hon’ble President of India, Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, launched the new website on 25th January 2004. During the event, the President personally appreciated the efforts of the NIC Teams involved in the project.

Salient Features of the Web Site:

A special module called "Children’s Corner" has been incorporated in the website which enables the children to ask questions to the President through a specially designed form.

Lectures and speeches can be downloaded in different formats including Audio/Video. Some of these speeches in languages other than English, such as Hindi and Tamil have also been provided using Dynamic Fonts.

The Recent Event & Press Release Sections on the Home Page list the latest events for easy accessibility.

The website features an attractive Media gallery which displays various sections of the magnificent Rashtrapati Bhawan in the form of still pictures, audio and video clippings.

The Press Coverage section directly links to the online newspaper websites.

User-friendly search helps the viewers to access information based on date, subject, location, title and contents.

Design and Aesthetics

The website has been conceptualized with emphasis on aesthetics blending traditional values and an aristocratic feel. The layout features flexibility for the content managers to add or update new items without disturbing the look and feel of the site. Mellowed user interface design exclusively conceptualized for this site enhances its unique nature. The visual outlook of the site certainly stresses the Indian Identity, which is valued much by an international visitor. The Navigation throughout the site has been designed to keep it simple so that the visitor does not face difficulty in tracking the desired information.

Content Management System
In order to enable the President’s Secretariat to update and maintain the website as often as desired and with total convenience, a browser based user-friendly Content Management System (CMS) has been developed for the Presiden’t Website.

SAN Set up being used to host the website

All the modules in the websites can be easily updated using this Content Management System without the need for any html authoring. CMS provides a web based user interface for updating the contents of this website, by simply copying the text, images, speeches in various formats, at the appropriate input fields, as well as, upload audio & video version of these speeches which in turn are inserted into the database and then retrieved & presented as a Web Page. The beauty of this site lies in the organization and variety of content & information that it provides and also in terms of ease of navigation and accessibility.
For further information, mail to  wsmad@hub.nic.in

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Kalam For National E-Governance Plan

Posted by egovindia on June 21, 2006

  • To: s-asia-it@apnic.net
  • Subject: Kalam For National E-Governance Plan
  • From: "Vivek Gupta" <vgupta@iimahd.ernet.in>
  • Date: Tue, 29 Oct 2002 18:37:18 +0500
  • Sender: owner-s-asia-it@lists.apnic.net
  •  Kalam For National E-Governance Plan

    Our eFE Bureau

    Bangalore:  President APJ Abdul Kalam has called for standardisation
    of e-governance policies and guidelines at the national level and for
    a software across the country for the purpose. Presiding over an e-
    governance session at the Bangalore IT.Com 2002, Dr Kalam said,
    "States should be assigned individual areas to work and each state
    should specialise in a particular field." Since the overall
    administrative system is same across the country it would be better
    to have standardised system instead of each state trying replicate
    the others, he added. 

    Dr Kalam said the stakeholders should prepare a national agenda in
    this regard. He also wanted the software industry to develop a
    domestic market for the IT services. At present the domestic software
    industry is mainly driven by the government spending. The private
    sector should also play a role in this regard, he pointed out. 

    Dr Kalam also called upon the leaders of the national electronic
    industry to form an association with local chip makers to rise to
    challenges of the emerging market. "Protecting the nation is not
    protecting our borders but protecting the bits and bytes," he pointed
    out. Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu unveiled the
    initiatives launched by the state to herald a paperless system of
    administration. 

    Karnataka chief minister SM Krishna said the fruits of technology
    could usher a social transformation only when it reaches out to a
    large population. He highlighted the e-governance initiatives of the
    state government in this regard. 

    Source: Financial Express
    http://www.financialexpress.com/fe_full_story.php?content_id=20655

    *********************************************************
    Vivek Gupta
    Infosys Research Fellow
    Doctoral Candidate, Fellow Programme In Management
    Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad
    Vastrapur, Ahmedabad, Gujarat
    INDIA 380015
    Tel: 91 79 6327903  Fax 91 79 6306896

    ISWORLD India Page- http://stdwww.iimahd.ernet.in/~vgupta
    India Management Research Page-
    http://stdwww.iimahd.ernet.in/~vgupta/conf
    *********************************************************

    Posted in President on eGovernance | Leave a Comment »

    ADDRESS AT THE MICROSOFT SUMMIT 2005

    Posted by egovindia on June 21, 2006

    ADDRESS AT THE MICROSOFT SUMMIT 2005

    Presentation:

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    04-04-2005 : NEW DELHI
     
    Evolution of Knowledge Society: India's Partners

    I am delighted to participate in the Microsoft Summit 2005 organized by the Microsoft Corporation (India) Pvt. Ltd., and deliver the inaugural address. My greetings to organizers, education planners, principals, professors, lecturers, IT professionals, industry partners participating in this summit. Microsoft has done pioneering work in providing a cost effective operating system for the Personal computer segment, which is indeed user friendly. I have selected the topic for discussion, "Evolution of Knowledge Society: India's Partners."

     
       
     

     

     

    Microsoft chief Mr. Bill Gates met me in 2003 and we walked in the Moghal Gardens and discussed various issues with reference to the ICT industries. He was talking about his dream for providing ICT solution for the developing countries. He was also referring to the Indian scientists' and engineers' contribution to Microsoft. At that point of time, I had referred to Bill Gates, three aspects which will be of interest to India.

    1. Any system to reach large portion of Indian people, needs language neutral software. It is vital particularly for the school education system because we have 18 official languages, which are spoken in different parts of the country.

    2. For enabling the visually challenged people, a cost effective technology solution is needed at the operating system level (Voice integrated).

    3. We need virus free operating system; which is also free from the vulnerability of external and internal attack and ensures the security of data, when using internet.

    Microsoft India should give a big push for such a need which is unique to India.

    Smiles of Children

    I would like to share two observations relevant to this audience. When you look at small children, they are always smiling. When they start going to primary school and carry a big bag on their shoulders, the smile reduces. When they reach the secondary school, the smile further reduces. During higher secondary course, the smile virtually vanishes. When they enter college, they become more serious and after completing the college they are in a state of big worry. Simultaneously, during this period, the concerns of what is in store next linking financial situations and the competitiveness involved in entering into the specific field dominates the mind of the children and parents. This is the situation which we all have to overcome. Can we make an education system, which will retain the smile on the faces of our children right through the period of their education till they take up a job as they start attending the school? Is it possible? This can come if we make the education system creative throughout and provide full employment opportunity to all the youth based on their aptitude. This creativity can come by reducing the theoretical burden in the primary level, progressively increasing the theory in the secondary and finally leading to higher level teaching and create self-reliance among individuals to undertake entrepreneurship and be an employment generator rather than employment seeker.

    Recently I heard from my friend, young father about his son Master Praveen Kumar studying in seventh class in one of the city schools. Few days ago, he came back from school and told his father that there is a sprain in his right shoulder. His father applied some balm and gave a small massage to remove the sprain and asked Praveen how did this happen? Did he fall down anywhere in the school? Or did it happen while playing some games? The boy replied that nothing like that had happened but he said that he only carried the school bag containing lot of books on his shoulder. I am sure many of you may be a witness to such scenes in different parts of the country. It can be true in many parts of the world also. Can ICT find a solution to this through a cost effective hand held computer which can be loaded with all the books as e-books, workbooks and also become a self learning tool for our children? This will enable the school children to carry just the hand held computer rather than a heavy bag for reading and doing class work. Once bought, this computer should be useful for the rest of the educational career. I realize this need is indeed a technological challenge. Can you take up the challenge?

    Now I would like to discuss the evolution of an enriched society.

    Evolution of enriched societies

    We have multiple societies in every nation starting from agricultural society, industrial society, and information society leading to knowledge society. During the 20th century, societies underwent a change from the agricultural society, where manual labour was the critical factor to the industrial society, where the management of technology, capital, and labour provided the competitive advantage. The information era was born in the last decade. Networking within the country and with the other nations and the software products drove the economies. Some of the nations including India utilized this opportunity. In this decade we are just entering into knowledge society era.

    The uniqueness of knowledge society is enriching the information society with innovation and value addition of products. The knowledge also enables value addition to the other three societies. In knowledge society, knowledge is the primary production resource instead of capital or labour. In India, I chaired a task team constituted by the Government of India sometime back for evolving a road map for transforming the Indian society into a knowledge society. I would like to discuss with you how we can work together to make our societies enriched by knowledge and transforming them into knowledge society.

    Knowledge can create a comprehensive wealth for the nation and also improve the quality of life, in the form of better health, education, infrastructure, and other societal needs. The ability to create and maintain a knowledge society infrastructure, develop the knowledge workers, and enhance their productivity through the creation, growth, and utilization of new knowledge, will be the key factor in deciding the prosperity of this knowledge society. Whether or not a nation has developed into a knowledge society is judged by the way, it creates and deploys knowledge in the sectors like ICT, Manufacturing, Agriculture, and Healthcare and so on.

    Dimensions of Knowledge Society

    I was studying the dimensions of knowledge society and how will it be different from the industrial economy. In the knowledge economy the objective of a society changes from fulfilling the basic needs of all round development to empowerment. The education system instead of going by text book, teaching will be promoted by creative, interactive self learning ? formal and informal with focus on values, merit and quality. The workers instead of being skilled or semi-skilled will be knowledgeable, self-empowered and flexibly skilled and would adapt to newer technologies seamlessly. The type of work instead of being structured and hardware driven will be less structured and software driven. Management style will emphasize more on delegation rather than giving command. Impact on environment and ecology will be strikingly less compared to the industrial economy.

    Hence the economy will be knowledge driven and not industry driven for which special capacities need to be built in education and nurtured among the students. The specific areas needing attention in improving the primary to secondary and university education are discussed.

    Focus on Education System

    Primary and Secondary: The conventional teaching coupled with distance education through state-of-the art connectivity can be a cost effective solution particularly in view of shortage of trained teachers. Tele-education system can speed up our country towards near 100% literacy and improve the quality of education. Methods of teachers training, infrastructure provision and school construction needs new technologies. Blackboard teaching with the teachers, is the primary mode of teaching at the primary level. Spontaneity and emotion will significantly enhance the learning. For effectiveness, education must become entertainment and engage the multimode senses of the children. The mission mode programme such as Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan for universalizing elementary education has to reach all the 600,000 villages in the country and similar system has to be evolved for secondary education. ICT can be an important tool in this regard.

    Under Graduate and Post-graduate Education: Existing post-graduate institutions should also have undergraduate programmes. It is a good effort that the RECs have already been converted as NITs and of course they have to be provided adequate autonomy in line with IITs. Private sector initiative in education needs to be encouraged. Bringing down the higher education cost through competition is vital. Existing universities even UGC supported ones should be permitted to set their own levels of teaching keeping in view, the quality of education imparted. The open universities such as IGNOU should modernise their distance education system through a comprehensive, two way interactive tele-education delivery system and enlarge the scope to remote areas in the nation. The banking system must provide educational loans to all courses to encourage students to undertake any graduate courses and enable prevention of drop outs at the plus two level. For meritorious candidates of economically weaker sections of the society there must be special scholarships provided by the government, non-government and private enterprises. Large number of graduates will be needed for working in the IT enabled services and BPO. Now I would like to discuss how to reduce the drop out rates occurring in different stages of our education, how to reach the rural areas where 70% of our population live, how do we add value to education and how do we create life long learners.

    M.R. Raju Model

    A few months back, I talked to my friend Prof. M.R. Raju of Peddamiram, a village close to Bheemavaram, Andhra Pradesh. The life of Prof. Raju is indeed a great example, how a famous nuclear scientist working in Los Alamos Laboratory, USA decided to transform his native village Peddamiram and its surroundings, with the support of his family members. With his assets he started the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Medical Trust in that village. In a decade, he and his team supported by volunteers from various institutions from India and abroad, have brought great change to the people in the village. He started an education system for children between the age group of 3-5 years for promoting creativity, learning through use of mechanical and electrical gadgets, imparting of hygiene training and periodic meeting with the parents to emphasize the need for educating their children continuously. Particularly he targeted character building and upliftment of the economically weaker sections of the children. This has totally transformed the village atmosphere and the drop out rate of the children in schools has come down from 70% to less than 30%. They are receiving creative learning in a harmonious atmosphere. A confident young population is emerging in the village. In addition, two hospitals, one for cancer diagnosis and treatment particularly cervical cancer among tribals and the second one for treatment of eye diseases have been commissioned in the village. I had visited Peddamiram on 2nd October 1996 and seen the development progress myself. I would like to mention that Prof. Raju and his team are doing such an important noble mission silently in Peddamiram with the participation of State government officials. I am sure his tribe will multiply.

    Azim Premji Model

    I understand, in an effort to improve the overall quality of school learning for children, the Azim Premji Foundation in collaboration with state governments and multilateral agencies has started a child friendly school initiative. The principal aim of this programme is to ensure that all children come to school, learn during school time and complete five years of schooling. In this model, literacy improvement is achieved through accelerated learning with the help of computer-based creative content for 1st to 8th standard. Children learn by themselves using computers with the assistance of teachers. Parents, School Committee members become partners for ensuring reduction of dropouts. I am informed that the scheme is effective because of the commitment of the teachers, village elders and the members of the school committee and that the success rate of the programme is high because there is a committed Head teacher. The programme, it is said, encompasses a series of interventions that strengthens practices in the classroom and provides support to educational administration and community empowerment to manage the educational process. The initiative includes setting standards regarding facilities like classrooms, water, sanitation and services like safety, physical and psycho-social health. I had an occasion to visit the Government Higher Primary School Nagasandra village in Karnataka where the programme is functional. I found the students learning the topics with active interest using the computers.

    The focus will also be on gender sensitive curricula and materials for literacy, numeric ability, knowledge, attitudes, skills for life and learning processes. The initiative also addresses the issue of effective home school relations and quality assessment methods. The programme is either output driven or input driven based on the region of experimentation and goes beyond cognizant learning and memory test. It emphasizes on intellectual, technical, physical, creative and spiritual learning. This holistic phenomenon of learning once ingrained in the primary stage where there is a happy learning process and a non-threatening evaluation, has led to voluntary learning by the participants. Azim Premji Foundation and the partners like state government are becoming a major child centric content developer in multiple local languages. Currently they are working with 4,000 teachers, principals and parents from 200 schools across 14 centres in the country.

    Tele-education Delivery System

    I would like to narrate my experience in the development of a Tele-education delivery system. I had a dream; a good mathematics teacher teaching mathematics in a remote village like Chandipur school in Orissa, should be able to teach number of schools located in different parts of the country including Konkan villages in Maharashtra, interact with the students in sequence and be able to clarify the doubts. Also the teacher must be able to draw the knowledge from various sources on the fly, such as internet, digital library, generated creative content and the lectures given by various experts in the same field and deliver to all the students as if they are in the same simulated class room in a cost effective manner.

    This universal tele-education delivery system works via heterogeneous network platform through IP protocol. It provides virtual classrooms in a multi class and studio environment with seamless two-way interaction between the teachers and students in a collaborative framework. It provides seamless, one-to-one, one-to-many connectivity, through the broadcasting network in a multicasting mode of delivery. It seamlessly enables a remote teacher to become a teacher to all the students in a session. Unlike the other video conferencing systems and multimedia tools currently in use for tele-education purposes, this Interactive Universal Tele-education delivery system creates a virtual classroom. It enables the teacher to take the student to a live virtual tour of the subject. This provides a cost effective solution for interactive content delivery. In a comparative basis we can create 250 nodes tele-education system for interactive delivery at a cost of establishing 4 multi-station video conferencing systems. Recently I addressed five colleges in different parts of Punjab as a part of Distance Education Programme. I referred in my classroom the subject what I was teaching, relevant Digital Library reference, a page from book reference and my talk on delivered during an international conference on e-governance through my website. I could see all the class students from various locations. They can also see me and interact with me. The IGNOU has undertaken to establish connectivity through EDUSAT for hundred centres across the country.

    I am going to take three classes to the IGNOU students on different subjects. The delivery of my online interaction to hundred centres will take place through the universal tele-education model which I have described to you just now.

    Quality Content Generation

    We have now the EDUSAT, we have the tele-education delivery system, but development of content for the schools, colleges and universities is a major challenge. There are three components for education: lectures, practicals or laboratory and library. The content includes all the above three. Content can be generated in many ways. The first one is the assimilation of the subject by an expert teacher through research study of many books and articles leading to the generation of quality and creative content in a presentable format. The teacher presents in a unique and innovative way to make the content appealing and easily understandable to the students. The second form of content could be on a self-learning method by breaking down the content into a series of question answer models. Third may be from various books, which can be extracted through a digital library and presented just-in time to all the students in remote classrooms. Fourth may be from Internet, where wealth of information is available. Teacher may search the information in the Internet and push the content live through the tele-education system as normally I do.

    The content should have supportive animations, which may even bring virtual laboratories and virtual immersion effects to the remote students. When the content is generated, it should be a sharable learning object across the nation and across all platforms. The content can be further improved by making use of the student?s creative and innovative thoughts under the guidance of the expert teachers as a group activity as well as by sharing experiences. The participants of this programme and Microsoft can contribute towards the content generation effort.

    Adding value to education through Entrepreneurship

    There has been substantial growth in our higher educational system and we are generating over 3 million graduates every year. However our employment generation system is not in a position to absorb the graduates passing out from the universities leading to increase in educated unemployed, year after year. This situation will lead to instability in the social structure. We need higher education backed by employment opportunities. A multi pronged strategy is needed to make education more attractive and simultaneously create employment potential – how do we do that?

    Firstly, the educational system should highlight the importance of entrepreneurship and prepare the students right from the college education to get oriented towards setting up of the enterprises which will provide them creativity, freedom and ability to generate wealth. Apart from entrepreneurship, the youth should have the spirit that ?we can do it?. Secondly, the banking system should provide venture capital right from every village level to the prospective entrepreneurs for undertaking new enterprises. Banks have to be proactive to support the innovative products for enabling wealth generation by young entrepreneurs. Thirdly, there is a need to identify marketable products and enhancement of purchasing power among the people. This can come through the implementation of mega programmes such as PURA, Interlinking of Rivers, Infrastructural missions, Power missions and Tourism. The universities should become a facilitator for creating this entrepreneurship scheme through the support of the banking system and the marketing system. This will enhance value to the education and create the motivation for the students.

    Life Long Learning

    For India to become knowledge society, it has to be a learning society. From this, it is important that continuous opportunity for improving individual knowledge, skills and competence are provided so that individuals continue to remain relevant and productive in the changed settings of his office, factory, farm or society. For life long learning apart from formal education we have to change the settings at the home, work place, community and the society at large. For enabling this to happen we should provide broad range of learning opportunities, recognize and reward learning regardless of where and how it takes place. We should also provide, economic and easy access to opportunities and create several incentives so that the individuals will find it worthwhile to participate in the learning process.

    Training of teachers

    The delivery of quality education is possible only through quality teachers. The teacher has to be a committed teacher who loves teaching and children. And also the teacher has to be equipped with all the knowledge required for effective teaching. The self-esteem of the teacher, must be high and the teacher must have the quality to become a role model for the children. Some element of competitive rewarding is to be done based on performance. This competency has to be built up throughout the country through a massive teachers education programme delivered through a tele-education system and continuously updated. This can be funded and implemented by a consortium of Government, educational institutions with the corporate sectors providing value added services.

    Conclusion

    I have the following five suggestions for organizers and the other participants of this summit.

    1. India has got 600,000 villages and 70% of the people live in these villages. Just like Raju?s model is being in place in AP villages, the Azim Premji model using computers as one of the learning tool is being used as an accelerated learning programme in three states, also a Tele-education model is being implemented in the country through EDUSAT, Broadband and wireless connectivity, Microsoft and other IT industries in partnership with Government can participate and promote one of the three models or create a unique model for improving the quality of education and implement it especially in rural sector with annual targets.

    2. The language neutral software and content can be generated initially in three languages and can be reached to states with large population in the country, for example UP, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and other states.

    3. Microsoft and other IT industries can become partners to the Teachers training programmes and inculcate the capacities such as research and inquiry, creativity, use of high technology tools for learning, entrepreneurship, moral leadership among the teachers so that they can in turn build these qualities among the youth of the nation.

    4. We need to promote education inbuilt with entrepreneurial training among the higher secondary and university students. Microsoft with its experience in the academic area in USA, can evolve an educational package and put forth to Indian school and colleges. Such a package can be presented to institutions like NCERT in respect of secondary schools and UGC in respect of university education. A mission mode task can be undertaken.

    5. Microsoft may use innovative methods for reaching out to rural schools instead of just concentrating on urban areas.

    My best wishes to Microsoft team and the participants of this Summit for participating in the national mission of transforming India into a knowledge society within the next decade.

    May God bless you.

    Question and Answer Session

    1. What are your perspectives on how India can create more institutions like the IITs? Is it better to upgrade an existing University or start from scratch?

    – Vibhu Sharma, Student, IIT Kanpur.

    Ans. India can go up to twelve IITs in the next one decade.

    2.How can we provide equal access to technology and current curricula across urban, suburban and rural areas?

    – Manish Srivastava, Student, IIT Bombay

    Ans. The powerful tele-education delivery system, which I have discussed during my address, will help in ensuring equal access and current curricula across urban, suburban and rural areas.

    3. Today a technology institute or engineering college does not have any other discipline on campus and hence it is difficult to ensure cross-disciplinary work. Is there any initiative to ensure cross-disciplinary programs like biomedical engineering and computational neuroscience coming into existence?

    – Vijaya Saradhi, Student, IIT Kanpur

    Ans. Nano science and technology programme has been approved by the Government. Nano Science for health and nano-electronics will bring large amount cross disciplinary work. In addition, I am suggesting inclusion of humanity such as poetry, painting and fine arts as part of the curriculum.

    4. The existing culture in institutes in India does not create enough incentives for new faculty to join or for existing faculty to increase their qualitative performance. Our education system needs to be upgraded to create checks and balances to improve research and relevant skills among faculty. How can we make this happen?

    – Saket Saurabh, Student, Institute of Mathematical Sciences

    Ans. In the universities, it is essential that the renewal of teaching faculty must take place periodically. Young teachers much continuously join the stream. At any time large number of research students must be around good faculty members. I have discussed this aspect with the educational authorities. A situation has come in both the R&D Institution and industry that they seek newer results from the S&T research. It is possible that ISRO, DRDO can provide every year a number of teachers from their institutions to the University.

    5.There is significant focus today on research and education on computing today due to the IT technology boom in India. However, research on the basic sciences is not idealized as much. What incentives need to be created for institutions to encourage such research?

    – Alpana Dubey, Student, IIT Kanpur

    Ans. (a) We must build laboratories around young scientist.

    (b) As done Dr. Norman E. Borlaug there must be a systematic effort to recognize and appreciate the work done by team members.

    (c) Young Scientists must be encouraged to write high quality research papers and present in national and international seminar guided by experienced scientists.

    6. What can today?s graduating students do to improve standard of living in India?

    – Manimeghalai, Student, IIT Madras

    Ans. We will normally find two types of students. One will go for teaching and research. Second will go for employment. The second category must be equipped with entrepreneurship training. They should concentrate on becoming entrepreneurs and employment generators rather than becoming an employment seekers.

    7. What can we do to improve the University System which is pressured by a large number of students? Should there be a priority to set up additional IIT?s or IIMs?

    – Dr. M R Rao, Indian School of Business

    Ans.All the Universities must be equipped with good laboratory and good teachers. A movement has started, as part of the International Year of Physics. I have addressed this problem during my address to the Parliament on 25th February 2005. Our Government celebrate Einstein?s anniversary by paying special attention to basic sciences in our schools and colleges, modernizing and reforming our institutions of science and, above all, rededicating itself to the spread of scientific temper.

    8. What can we do to encourage students to go into careers other than IT?

    – Dr. M R Rao, Indian School of Business

    Ans.PURA and networking of rivers programmes needs millions of specialists and it will encourage students to undertake careers other than ITs.

    9. There are many IT tools available, which could be used to enhance the effectiveness of teaching, particularly in the primary section. What is your opinion on modernizing the Indian education system using such IT tools?

    – Dr. Babu Sundar, Cochin University of Science and Technology

    Ans. The whole of my talk is on this issue. You may go to my website http://www.presidentofindia.nic.in.

    10. If the digital divide between urban and rural India is not addressed it can only widen the gap between rich and poor. How do you think it can be bridged?

    – Dr. Bindu Hari, TISB Banglore

    Ans. PURA and tele-education will help in addressing in bridging the gap between the rural and urban divide.

    11. India produces many engineering graduates every year, but only a small fraction is of good quality. What are we doing to improve the quality of graduating students?

    – Dr. Natarajan, PSG Tech, Coimbatore

    Ans. 300, 000 engineers are being produced every year. Every one has their own capability. Education should bring out the best in them. He should have entrepreneurial training and become an employment generator rather than becoming employment seeker. Very rarely I have seen the success of the individual comes only from the educational institution. Many become very successful after taking up employment. Education does not decide everything.

    12. India has made progress with e-Learning systems, but there are practical problems with bandwidth. What can be done to address bandwidth issues? ERNET has listed only few states for building broadband infrastructure. What about the other states?

    – Elizabeth Sherley, IITM Kerala

    Ans. Broadband has reached up to the taluk level, only last mile connectivity using WiMAX will further reach out to the villages with in the range of 30 kms.

    13. There is a lack of human resources in teaching CS and IT, how is the government addressing this HR issue?

    – Divya Bhansal, Punjab University

    Ans. We should encourage certain number of students to undertake MS and Phd. Programme in Computer Science and Information Technology. They should also have passion for teaching. This will provide the necessary human resource for our educational institutions.

    14. How do we go about bridging digital divide at an institute level?

    – Divya Bhansal, Punjab University

    Ans. All departments should have a connectivity. Nowadays the departments cannot survive on single subject. Multi-disciplinary areas have to be encouraged. There is a convergence of technology. Biotechnology combined with Information Technology has become Bio-informatics. Bio-technology, Information technology and nano-technology will combine to form a triad. Thus, you can see no technology can remain as a single subject. Also, you will find application of IT in agriculture, fishing and civil engineering.

    15. How do we introduce and make IT education compulsory in secondary schools?

    – Sanjeev Sofat ? Punjab Engg of College

    Ans. It is not required.

    16. Is there a National policy on IT education? If yes, is there any component specifically for primary and secondary schools?

    – Dr. M.P.S. Bhatia, Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology, Delhi

    Ans. Yes. There is an IT policy which includes education but we are not looking for the information society. We should become a knowledge society. That is what is our goal.

    17. In really backward places (tribal) as well as where people don?t know English, what is the government doing to promote IT education?

    – Dr. M.P.S. Bhatia, Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology, Delhi

    Ans. I have visited all the north eastern states. They know better English. That is not our concern. Be rest assured that they can absorb any education. They have a beautiful village council. Non-tribal people must visit and follow their examples.

    18. What should be done to ensure that the govt gets more returns from its budget allocation for science and technology?

    – Dr. Deepak Khemani ? IIT Madras

    Ans. We should invest in mission mode projects such as nano- technology for health and development of knowledge products. This type of demand will enhance the return from the allocation for S&T.

    Posted in President on eGovernance | Leave a Comment »

    INDIA: What the President Told Bill Gates (long)

    Posted by egovindia on June 21, 2006

    INDIA: What the President Told Bill Gates (long)

    What the President Told Bill Gates

    By Keya Acharya

    BANGALORE, INDIA (PANOS) – In November 2002, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates
    called on India's nuclear scientist-turned President, APJ Abdul Kalam, at
    the grand presidential palace in New Delhi. But what was billed as a
    salubrious meeting of minds – the head of the world's largest software
    company meeting a visionary 'techie' President – apparently turned into a
    "difficult" occasion.

    In a stunning speech delivered to software engineers in May, Kalam disclosed
    that in his conversation with Gates, the President pitched for open-source
    software codes – which are available for alteration so anyone with the
    technical knowledge can change the programme to suit their needs.

    "Our discussion became difficult since our views were different," Kalam
    added in an allusion to Microsoft's reported reservation to such
    'non-proprietary' software.

    Much more was in store for Kalam's audience – typical of the breed of bright
    young engineers who have turned India into a leading Information Technology
    nation.

    "The most unfortunate thing is that India still seems to believe in
    proprietary solutions," the President lectured. "Further spread of IT which
    is influencing the daily life of individuals would have a devastating effect
    on the lives of society due to any small shift in the business practice
    involving these proprietary solutions. It is precisely for these reasons
    open-source software needs to be built which would be cost effective for the
    entire society. In India open-source-code software will have to come and
    stay in a big way for the benefit of our billion people."

    The remarks by Kalam, who believes in linking human and economic development
    with science and technology, address an important issue in the development
    of information technologies, particularly in poor countries. The issue is
    whether countries such as India, which are pluralistic and have large poor
    populations, should opt for expensive proprietary software such as Microsoft
    (which cannot be altered) or go for cheap or free non-proprietary software
    that can be changed around to suit the needs of a diverse multi-lingual
    nation.

    Of equal concern is the loss of choice, or freedom, that proprietary
    technology imposes on democratic governments by controlling the programming
    codes of, and being privy to, official government projects. Open-source
    programming would remedy this, as well as allow local adaptations. Globally,
    open-source software has not caught on in a big way, but it has notched up
    some successes. Countries in which legislation has been passed urging
    open-source use include Brazil, France, Italy and Spain. Countries in which
    non-legislative actions have been taken include China, Germany and South
    Korea. And among other countries where open source solutions are being
    proposed are Argentina, Belgium, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, South Africa and
    Venezuela.

    Abhas Abhinav, a young IT entrepreneur in India's technology capital of
    Bangalore, explains the features of an open-source software package called
    Knoppix: "It's very simple. You have the same features as in a Microsoft
    Windows application; you get secure, virus-free, regional-language options
    in inexpensively-priced systems."

    Abhinav runs DeepRoot Linux, a software company that developed Knoppix for a
    radically different computer operating system: GNU/Linux.

    It is the result of a dedicated group of computer programmers who set out to
    create an open-source, free-software alternative to industry giants like
    Microsoft and Macintosh. Members of India's open-source movement take time
    off to visit your office or home and demonstrate GNU/Linux – for free.

    India, with its IT sector employing half a million people and generating an
    annual income of $10 billion, represents a huge growth market in software.
    Nevertheless, commercial for-profit software – or 'proprietary' software –
    still rules in India, especially within government departments. According to
    Bob Hayward, Vice President (Asia-Pacific) of Gartner Research Services, the
    Indian government spent $1 billion on IT in 2002.

    "Microsoft now controls the database of various government servers," says
    Abhinav. "Apart from losing intellectual property rights, proprietary
    domination restricts technology-dissemination." Abhinav touches on the
    concern that government departments will become 'locked in' to a system of
    unalterable software with source-codes that are untouchable. Not having
    access to the source-code means that not only do you never completely
    understand the system, but also that you may end up being controlled by the
    software itself – and, by extension, the software manufacturers.

    Not only that, but proprietary systems cost money. In India, as in all
    developing countries, most people cannot afford commercial systems and the
    software that goes with them. So, with a proprietary setting in a poor
    country, the number of people who can afford to be IT-connected will remain
    small, with implications for economic growth and development.

    But such concerns are rarely articulated by Indian leaders, Kalam being a
    notable exception. In the south, where India's IT initiatives were
    pioneered, the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh state – the media-savvy,
    laptop-toting Chandrababu Naidu – invited Bill Gates to set up his India
    office in the IT corridor of the capital Hyderabad.

    Among many members of India's ruling elite, Gates is seen as the most
    important international personality after the President of the United
    States. Gates has returned the complement. He has visited India thrice – in
    1997, 2000 and 2002 – each time making significant donations to charities
    and meeting with high-level authorities. Every visit has received saturation
    media coverage.

    In September 2000, 10 Indian chief ministers fell over themselves to heap
    praises on Gates after a luncheon meeting with him in New Delhi. During the
    2002 visit, at four days the longest so far, Gates donated $100 million to
    the fight against AIDS, although Gates has said there is no connection
    between his business and charity work.

    Microsoft's India office in New Delhi did not answer queries from Panos
    Features on whether its business strategy for India complies with the
    anti-predatory and anti-monopolistic business practices being imposed on it
    in various states in the United States. But the company did issue this
    official statement from its headquarters in Redmond, US:

    "Microsoft is committed to helping governments develop strong, sustainable
    IT infrastructures that deliver ease of use, value through innovative
    technology, a clear roadmap for future development, and access to
    source-code to improve security and implementation. At the end of the day,
    we believe Microsoft offers the best overall option of value, integration,
    interoperability and support, without complexity or added dependency on
    services."

    An overwhelming 91% of government departments in New Delhi use Microsoft's
    Windows 98 software; nearly 67% use Windows XP; with a mere 16% using
    GNU/Linux according to a report in the Economic Times newspaper in India in
    April.

    Some thinkers view the issue of 'software localization' in political terms.
    In many nations, says Prof. Kenneth Keniston of the Massachusetts Institute
    of Technology in the US, the dominant positions in society are held by
    cosmopolitan, internationally-oriented business, professional and
    intellectual elites. "For them, 'localization' to vernacular languages and
    local cultures may be unnecessary and/or even undesirable, since English (or
    French, or Spanish, or another European language) may provide the best
    possible access to the rest of the world."

    In Karnataka state, with Bangalore as its capital, officials pass the buck
    as to why proprietary software rules its roost. "Our Technical Advisory
    Panel selected the best available options during the time," says the state
    government's IT Secretary Vivek Kulkarni.

    Yet sources within the Panel – a mix of scientists, management and technical
    experts – speak of being presented with no alternatives. The e-networking
    tender for the state government's secretariat, for instance, insisted it use
    only Microsoft Windows, while Panel members preferred Sun Microsystems'
    Lotus Notes or Star Office.

    The costs are telling: Star Office 5.2 is free, while 6.0 costs about $45
    per license (or computer) without an expiry date. Microsoft 2000 costs the
    government approximately $375 per license, after a discount of roughly $100.
    The license expires after three years, at which point the government has to
    buy anew.

    Rajeev Chawla, Karnataka's newly-designated 'E-Secretary' (head of an
    E-Governance department that is independent of the IT department), is
    dismissive of the costs of proprietary software. "Don't tell me to constrain
    myself when my software costs are just 5% of my total finances," he said.
    The costs involved may be a small part of government budgets, but activists
    say using only proprietary software at government departments restricts
    choice and sends the wrong signals to ordinary people.

    There are other costs. One IT official told Panos Features on condition of
    anonymity that the Karnataka government's decision to pay Microsoft Rs. 3.3
    million (approx. $700,000) to have some of its software declared
    'non-pirated', has caused debate within its Technical Advisory Panel.

    Sunil Abraham, whose Bangalore-based firm Mahiti customises open-source
    products for non-governmental organisations, believes there must be greater
    transparency and civil society participation on IT issues in India.  "We
    need independent audits set up to monitor e-governance because civil society
    has no information on what is going on," says Abraham./PANOS

    June, 2003 * 1,470 words
    Keya Acharya is a Bangalore-based Indian journalist specialising in
    development and environmental issues.

    The Panos Institute * Visit our website at http://www.panos.org.uk
    9 White Lion Street * London N1 9PD * UK * Phone: + (44) 207-239 7609

    Posted in President on eGovernance | Leave a Comment »

    President for `extremely fast’ implementation of e-governance

    Posted by egovindia on June 21, 2006

    President for `extremely fast' implementation of e-governance

    Staff Reporter

    http://www.hindu.com/2005/10/14/stories/2005101421980300.htm

    `A powerful tool for governance initiatives'

    NEW DELHI: Stating that the big challenge before India was to implement an e-governance system for a billion people, President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam on Thursday urged the Government to implement the e-governance process "extremely fast".

    E-governance would enable seamless access to information and seamless flow of information across the Union Government and the States in a federal set-up, particularly in a democratic nation of billion people like India, he pointed out.

    Speaking after inaugurating a new e-governance portal at Rashtrapati Bhavan here, Dr. Kalam said: "The Internet revolution has proved to be a powerful tool for good governance initiatives. An important dimension of the Internet potential is the possibility of providing services any time, anywhere. Along with this there is a conscious effort to put the citizen at the centre of the focus of governance. Citizens are being perceived as customers and clients. E-governance has to be citizen friendly. Delivery of services to citizens is considered a primary function of the government."

    Emphasising the need for e-governance in the country, the President remarked: "I have always in my life been an advocate for using technology for the betterment of our society. E-governance is one such opportunity. I want all of you to remember that technology is a double-edged sword. If we don't have an implementation plan from concept to completion in less than one or two years, technology will become expensive and we will not be able to reap the benefits."

    However, it was important to keep a "quantitative measure" on the impact that e-governance would have on society, he said. "Every year, you must be able to produce a number, which states the number of people who have been touched by the benefits of e-governance."

    With India having core competence in Information Technology and communication, the possibility of success to bring in transparency in administration and management through e-commerce and e-business leading to e-governance was a definite possibility, he pointed out. "Actions have to be initiated in a mission mode. Appropriate legal instrument to provide government power to such mode of interactions should also be done simultaneously."

    Claiming that the primary data requirement for effective e-governance was a national citizen ID card, the President said that there was an urgent need to prepare the card and issue it online.

    "This challenge must be taken up by the consortium of public and private industries, academic institutions with the government. Presently the Government is considering the discussion of a Bill for introducing multipurpose citizen ID card," he said.

    Posted in President on eGovernance | Leave a Comment »

    ADDRESS TO THE NATION BY THE PRESIDENT OF INDIA, DR. A.P.J. ABDUL KALAM ON THE EVE OF INDEPENDENCE DAY

    Posted by egovindia on June 21, 2006

    ADDRESS TO THE NATION BY THE PRESIDENT OF INDIA, DR. A.P.J. ABDUL KALAM ON THE EVE OF INDEPENDENCE DAY

    Thursday, August 14, 2003

    What should we be remembered for?

    My dear citizens of India,

    On the eve of the 57th Independence Day, I extend to you my best wishes for your happiness and prosperity. My salutations to all of you at home and abroad. Let us on this occasion remember with gratitude the selfless service rendered by the personnel of the armed forces and also those of the para-military forces, who guard our frontiers on the land, at the sea and in the air.

    Let me dedicate this Independence Day broadcast to those great souls who pioneered the Independence movement. We remember them with reverence and gratitude, not for their religious, political, language, caste and creed affiliations, but for the 90-year saga of sacrifices to realise the singular and noble vision of heralding an independent India.

    What should we be remembered for?

    Let us for a moment pause to reflect what it is that for which we would like to be remembered by the future generations. Will we be remembered for how many churches our generation has added, will we be remembered for how many mosques our generation has added, will we be remembered for how many temples our generation has added or will we be remembered for how many gurudwaras our generation has added? No, not at all. We will be remembered only if we give to our younger generation a prosperous and safe India resulting out of economic prosperity coupled with our civilizational heritage.

    At this point of time I would like to share with you an experience which I had at Raj Bhavan, Srinagar during my recent visit to the three regions of Jammu & Kashmir. A number of children from different schools of the city and neighborhood interacted with me and sang with me the national anthem. At the end of our interaction, three students approached me and introduced themselves. One was a Hindu girl, second was a Muslim boy, and third was a Sikh boy. They asked me – "Mr. President, please tell us now when will we become prosperous, free from poverty and fear of terrorist attack? Allow us to go on a mission to penetrate the minds of the extremists and bring about unity of minds." These children represent the 300 million strong youth of the nation. The questions of the students engulfed me, resulting into a poetic verse:

    "Oh Almighty, create thoughts and actions in the minds of the people of my nation, so that they live united.

    Light the minds of the religious leaders of my country to evolve a bridge among religions with compassion and love.

    Embed the thought 'Nation is bigger than the individual or party' in the minds of the leaders.

    May God, bless my people to work and transform the country into a prosperous nation in a decade."

    Aspirations of people

    In one year's time I visited 23 States and three Union Territories. I interacted with various cross sections of people; and exclusive dialogue with Members of Parliament and legislators of certain states and also presented the developed India plan to the joint session of the Parliament in Feb 2003.

    The dialogue with the people, and written responses from many citizens gave me an insight into the aspirations of the people to get into action of transforming India into a developed nation, in less than two decades. Whether it was a remote village in Kerala, or a far away rural set up in Nagaland or Uri in J&K the area close to Line of Control, I would like to emphatically state that the feelings and aspirations for prosperous India are the same.

    Our Strengths

    For India to become a developed nation, we must give thrust to the Nation's core competencies. The GDP has to grow annually by 8 to 10% with consistency over years instead of the current 5%. This year, it is reassuring that our economy in three sectors – agriculture, manufacturing and service are in the ascent phase. If we put united efforts to keep up the momentum we can reach 8% growth rate in about a year. We should ensure that the benefits of this growth should reach the economically weaker sections of the society.

    We should reinforce our gains in the agriculture, power, ICT, industrial and education sectors, space, nuclear, and defence technologies, chemical, pharmaceutical and infrastructural industries, oil exploration and refining, and more importantly on the critical technologies.

    When we are consolidating our strengths, we should develop increased safety consciousness to prevent loss of valuable human and material resources in road, rail, air, power, industrial and other accidents. The relief mechanisms have to reach the accident sites at right time.

    The core competencies, resources and safety consciousness should be the basis on which the country can embark on a national mission for transformation.

    Vision to Mission

    We need to evolve and develop specific integrated missions sector-wise to take the country forward on the path to self-sustaining development. These missions will provide the thrust for the realization of developed India in a time bound manner. They will also provide large scale employment opportunity for the youth through creation of various types of industries and enhancement of the national infrastructure. I would like to discuss five specific missions.

    Networking of Rivers

    First mission on the Networking of Rivers is under active consideration of my Government and from the task team evolving the plan of action; we must move on to a mission mode programme including the ecological enhancement plan for executing the project. This mission will eliminate the periodical problem of drought and floods experienced in a number of river basin states and provide both water and power security. In addition nation has to embark on water harvesting and desalination of sea water as national missions.

    Quality Power

    Availability of high quality uninterrupted power should be ensured at an affordable price, which is key to economic growth. This is our second mission. The existing capacity of about 100 thousand Megawatts would need tripling by the year 2020. To achieve it, apart from hydel, thermal and nuclear power systems, we need to give thrust on sustainable energy resources like biomass, wind and solar farms of 800 to 1000 MW capacity and efficient transmission and distribution.

    Providing Urban amenities in Rural Area (PURA)

    Providing urban facilities to rural areas is another important mission about which I have talked to you earlier. In the long term interest, it is necessary for us to make the living in the villages attractive proposition for our people by reinforcing the rural habitat and providing modern economic linkages. To achieve this, economically viable cluster of villages have to be created through a mission mode programme into physical, electronic, and knowledge connectivities, leading to the self sustained economic prosperity for the groups of villages. It is essential that PURA has to become a business proposition to be run by small scale industrialists, entrepreneurs, and societal establishments.

    Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

    Mission of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and related services is one of the wealth generators for the nation. We should aspire to increase the business volume by 15-20 times in ten years duration. The benefit of ICT must reach all parts of the country through telemedicine, tele-education and e-governance. We have to embark on creating ICT infrastructure and developing knowledge products to promote selective self reliance in the ICT Sector and thus achieving a competitive edge globally.

    Tourism

    With vast civilisational heritage of the country, from the Himalayas to Kanyakumari, J&K, Central India, North Eastern states, Bihar, Western States, the large coastal line, Andaman Nicobar and Lakshadeep Islands have a lot to attract the tourists. After my visit to almost all the regions of the country, I have realised that the tourism industry has a tremendous potential for wealth generation and should operate as our fifth mission with higher targets. To succeed in this mission the infrastructural requirements are very essential and are to be improved. Thrust is required to be given for the inland water navigation, hotels, communication and tourist promotion. If we promote sustainable tourism, it will become India's core competence.

    These mission areas need action and will provide the multiplier effect and give the necessary momentum to all sectors of the economy.

    Enriching the village life

    During my visit to rural areas in certain States, I realized that hard earned money of the rural people, instead of being deployed for the education of the children and environmental improvements including their habitat, was being wasted in undesirable practices like alcoholism and other addictions. In certain States I realized that the ratio of male and female was not proportionate. These prompted me to evolve a declaration in consultation with the rural population for administering it to the village citizens. They participated in it with enthusiasm. The oath for enriching the village life is as follows:

    · Children are our precious wealth

    · We will give equal importance for male and female children in providing education and rights for growth of our society.

    · Earnings come out of hard work. We will not waste it in gambling and liquor. We will become the role models for our children.

    · We need to tell our children about the importance of education as learning gives knowledge and knowledge makes the children succeed.

    · We need to jointly protect our forest and prevent pollution.

    · We will plant at least five trees/saplings.

    It is essential that, the reputed leaders and social workers while visiting the rural areas can administer this oath in a similar way. Social workers, women self-help groups and non-governmental organisations have to take up this task as a mission. For India to develop we need vibrant villages.

    Challenges

    Divisive forces use terrorism as a tool in the name of ethnic groupism, religious fundamentalism and sometimes political ambitions as a rationale for terrorism leading to conflicts among the nations. People are used as war tools. Within the next two decades, we will encounter a totally new situation of acute shortages of water, energy and minerals. No single nation will be able to handle the situation by itself. Humanity will require mega missions for harnessing solar energy, drinking water from sea water through desalination process and bringing minerals from other planets. In such a situation, the present reasons for conflict will become insignificant and unwarranted. I call upon the neighbouring countries to see this perspective and have a bigger vision. India has definitely taken a significant peace initiative with all its neighbours. The recent visit of Prime Minister to China definitely paves the way for resolving certain outstanding issues.

    Recent terrorist attack in J & K through suicide bombing resulting in number of casualties, of both service and civilian personnel, is a cause for serious concern. No religion had mandated killing others as a requirement for its sustenance or promotion. These cowardly acts borne out of utter frustration deserve severe condemnation and actions for preventing recurrence of such events.

    Tasks before us

    I am convinced that developed India 2020 vision transforming into a mission is a national challenge and requires nationwide participation. While my government is committed for such missions, every citizen of India should ask in what way he or she can contribute to these missions directly or indirectly. It is difficult to spell out all specific possibilities of tangible contribution by our citizens. I would like to mention a few here as examples:

    Educationists should build the capacities of spirit of inquiry, creativity, entrepreneurial and moral leadership among the students and become their role model. Today the professional education is becoming a commercial venture. It is not affordable for even middle class people, what to talk of people below poverty line. The State governments, universities and the management of educational institutions should review, streamline the admission process and bring down the cost of education without sacrificing the quality. Education is enlightenment; it is not trade.

    In the health sector, the major challenge is to develop Anti-HIV/AIDS vaccine to prevent further spread of the disease. Another humane issue is to ensure that HIV affected children are not discriminated in schools and hospitals. It is essential that voluntary organizations and religious leaders of the locality provide a humane touch to these members of the society by removing the fear from the minds of the people. Can we dream and act for a HIV free India?

    The farming community needs to increase their productivity through the mission Second Green revolution using technological advances. Also dry land cultivation needs a thrust. The large-scale industries have to increase their productivity and quality so that the market share can be increased for economic growth and GDP. They should aim to become multinational companies and global leaders.

    Judiciary is a prime pillar in our democratic set up and should be able to administer natural justice with speed and nobility.

    Media has to become a partner and positive critic in national development and celebrate the individual successes and the collective efforts of rural India.

    Governmental tasks

    The Government, with the support of R&D labs, can provide technological upgradation to small-scale industries and remove procedural and systemic bottlenecks in executing missions. Actions emanating from the Government in all their public dealings should become fully transparent through E-Governance.

    Parliamentarians and Legislators belonging to each constituency should become mission facilitators for their constituency and also resolve inter/intra – constituency conflicts. I am reminded of a Tamil epic which provides the code of conduct for the people in high and responsible positions:

    It means, people who are in high and responsible positions, if they go against righteousness, the righteousness itself will get transformed into a destroyer. Whoever deviates from righteousness, whether they are individual or states they are responsible for their own actions.

    If a country is to be corruption free and become a nation of beautiful minds, I strongly feel that there are three key societal members who can make a difference. They are father, mother and the teacher. Let us join together and launch this movement from home and school to eradicate corruption.

    Conclusion

    We are a large country; we are also blessed with natural resources and highly motivated young human resource. We have to prioritize our thoughts on national development and make all other issues as "non-issues". This will ensure focus and thrust for the development process. And it will prevent dissipation of energy and resources on the non productive issues.

    I appeal to the political leaders, religious leaders, opinion makers, media personnel and all Indian citizens to place a moratorium on all issues which are impediments to the development of the nation, from now and pledge ourselves to make the missions of Developed India a reality.

    This will be the greatest legacy that we can proudly leave behind for our next generation. Let us sacrifice our today so that our children can have a better tomorrow. I pray to the Almighty to provide us the wisdom, knowledge, physical resources and ability to work hard to succeed in our missions. Allow me again, my dear citizens to wish you a very purposeful and happy Independence Day tomorrow.

    'Jai Hind'

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    Dr.A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, President of India, Speaks on Open Source Code Software

    Posted by egovindia on June 21, 2006

    "In India, open source code software will have to come and stay in a big way for the benefit of our billion people."
    — Dr.A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, President of India, May 28, 2003
    President ADDRESS AT THE JUDICIAL COLLOQUIUM ON SCIENCE, LAW AND ETHICS AT NATIONAL JUDICIAL ACADEMY, BHOPAL
    19-02-2005 : (Through Video Conference) From New Delhi

    Q.2 Computers and information technology have an important role in reducing the arrears in the courts as well as in helping in other areas. Broadly there are two kinds of software’s to do that. Proprietary and Open Source. Which one is better?

    – Justice Yathindra Singh, Justice Allahabad High Court

    PRESIDENT Answer:

    First of all, I would like to clarify that the choice of proprietary vs. open software is driven by the usage and requirements of the user at the operating system level.

    Since, proprietary software is predominantly used at the client level; many users are familiar and comfortable with this.

    However, at the server level mature users choose the software as per their requirement.

    Open source operating system enables the development of language independent software’s and also building one’s own security algorithms to suit his requirement.

    Indian IT industry is capable of providing a solution for the justice delivery system and its e Governance to the justice administration on top of any proprietary or open source systems.

    What is important here is justice delivery system should be inter-operable system built on top of open standards such as web services.

    Q.3 In case in your opinion open source software is more secure, cheaper and better option or is as good as proprietary software, then

    a. Why all courses in computer science at school level teach only proprietary software?

    b. Why should almost all Govt office continue to have proprietary software

    c. Why should govt. despite saying that they do not have any preference continue to favour proprietary software?

    – Justice Yathindra Singh, Justice Allahabad High Court

    PRESIDENT Answer:

    This has already been answered above.

    Posted in OPEN SOURCE FOSS, OPEN SOURCE Linux, President on eGovernance | Leave a Comment »

    Use e-governance to fight corruption: Kalam

    Posted by egovindia on June 21, 2006

    Use e-governance to fight corruption: Kalam

    Staff Correspondent

    http://www.hindu.com/2006/05/10/stories/2006051003201300.htm

    "All courts should follow Supreme Court and make judgments available online"

    Photo: Sandeep Saxena 

    President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam interacting with Justice A.S. Anand, chairman, NHRC at a conference in New Delhi on Tuesday.

    NEW DELHI: E-governance is strong tool for ensuring corruption-free administration, President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam said here on Tuesday. He was delivering the inaugural address at a conference on `Effects of Good Governance and Human Rights,' organised by the National Human Rights Commission.

    Mr. Kalam cited the Delhi metro rail system and online railway reservation system as examples of good governance. He lauded the Karnataka Lok Ayukta's work in fighting corruption. All courts should follow the example of the Supreme Court and high courts and make their judgments available online. "This should be facilitated by the Law Ministry and the higher judiciary." Home Minister Shivraj Patil said the Right to Information Act could be used to ensure transparency. "However, this law has to be used carefully, and not for ulterior purposes," he warned.

    NHRC Chairperson Justice A.S. Anand said the Commission believed that corruption was a potent violator of human rights, particularly the economic and social rights of individuals. He urged the Government to ratify the United Nations Convention against Corruption that came into force in December 2005.

    "The Convention deals with crucial aspects of corruption. It is a significant step towards meeting the challenge of corruption. Let not India delay in joining the global war (against corruption)," he said.

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    President of India e-Governance (ICEG 2003) IIT, Delhi, 18 December 2003

    Posted by egovindia on June 21, 2006

    President of India

    Inaugural address at the International Conference on

    e-Governance (ICEG 2003)

    IIT, Delhi, 18 December 2003


    Citizen centric e-Governance: Technology and Management policy

    I am delighted to inaugurate the International conference on e-Governance at Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi. I am happy to see that 126 papers are being published in two volumes entitled "Towards E-Government – Management Challenges" and "Promise of E-Governance – Operational Challenges" from the international and national contributions. I had an opportunity to go through some of the interesting papers. I greet all the national and international delegates, who are contributing substantially to bring the change and innovation in the form of governance electronically. I was thinking what topic I can share with you. I would like to discuss about "Citizen Centric e-Governance: Technology and Management Policy".

    Good governance is being recognised as an important goal by many countries across the world. They have taken up specific initiatives for open government. Freedom of information is being redefined and supported by detailed guidelines. The internet revolution has proved to be a powerful tool for good governance initiatives. An important dimension of the internet potential is the possibility of providing services any time anywhere. Along with this there is a conscious effort to put the citizen as the centre of focus of the governance. Citizens are being perceived as customers and clients. E-governance has to be citizen friendly. Delivery of services to citizens is considered as a primary function of the government. Particularly the democratic nation of the billion people like India, e-Governance should enable seamless access to information and seamless flow of information across the state and central government in the federal setup.

    No country has so far implemented an e-governance system for one billion people. It is big challenge before us.

    Typical scenario

    I visualize an election scenario, where a candidate files his nomination from a particular constituency. Immediately the election officer verifies his/her authenticity from the national citizen ID database through multifactor authentication, through a multipurpose Citizen ID card. His/her civic consciousness and citizenship behaviour comes from the police crime record. His property record comes from the registration of land authority across the country. His income and wealth resources come from the income-tax department, and other sources. His education credentials come from the university records. His track record of employment comes from various employers with whom he had worked. His credit history comes form various credit institutions like banks. His legal track records come from the judicial system.

    All the details arrive at the computer terminal of the election officer within few minutes automatically by the act of egovernance software agents which crawls across the various state and central government web services directories through the network and collects the information automatically and presents the facts in real-time with out any bias. Artificial intelligence software analyses his credentials and gives a rating on how successful he will be as a politician. Election officer sitting at the remote block of the country decides on the spot and the election process starts. All the voters vote from their home through virtual polling booths. Is it a dream? Is it possible? If possible, when shall we have it? Can we provide good governance to our one billion people? Can the governance speed up the delivery system? Can the governance differentiate between genuine transactions and spurious transaction? Can the governance ensure immediate action for the genuine cases which satisfies the check list for a particular service and pend the action on spurious transactions? Can this be done by e-governance at a cost affordable by our nation? If we have this system implemented then I call this as a true e-Governance system for the citizen.

    Challenges in e-Governance

    I am trying to seek an answer for these questions by asking another set of questions? Do we have a required e-Governance framework? Do we have a National Citizen database which will be the primary unit of data for all governance vertical and horizontal applications across the state and central governments? Do we have standards for the exchange of secure information with non-repudiation, across the state and central government departments seamlessly? Do we have a secure delivery framework by means of virtual private network connecting across the state and central government departments? Do we have datacentres in centre and states to handle the departmental workflow automation, collaboration, interaction, exchange of information with authentication? We should have our administrative systems empowered and reformed which accelerate the decision making? When will the entire administrative bodies be able to contribute more for the national development rather than being entangled in the files? I have just visualized the scenario? Let us try to find an answer to each of the above questions towards providing good and smart governance to our one billion people.

    Concept of e-Governance

    In summary, I visualize e-Governance as defined below:

    "A transparent smart e-governance with seamless access, secure and authentic flow of information crossing the inter-departmental barrier and providing a fair and unbiased service to the citizen."

    I have always been in my life an advocate of using technology for the betterment of our society. E-Governance is one such opportunity. I want all of you to remember, the technology is a double edged sword. If we don't have an implementation plan from concept to completion, in less than one or two years, technology will become expensive and we will not be able to reap the benefits. Hence I urge you to implement the e-governance process extremely fast. While you are doing this, you must also have a quantitative measure on the impact of e-governance measure on the society. Every year, you must be able to produce a number, which states the number of people who have been touched by the benefits of e-governance.

    Transparency in e-Governance

    India is transforming into a transparent society. It is essential that government functions which have interfaces or interactions with public especially where the state and central functionaries have to serve or support even correct the citizens, such functions have to be done through the tools of information technology and communication. This means, software have to be written to codify the rules, procedures and other related government functions and public access should be through IT. Then the government functions can provide equal access to all based on predetermined rules and even with rules to govern exception being done in a transparent manner. Since India has the core competence in information technology and communication, the possibility of success to bringing in transparency in administration and management through e-commerce and e-business leading to e-governance, is definitely possible. Actions have to be initiated in a mission mode. Appropriate legal instrument to provide government power to such mode of interactions should also be done simultaneously.

    National ID

    The primary data requirement for the effective e-Governance is the National Citizen ID Card. It should be a multipurpose secured and authentic ID card. This card should be akin to the Xerox copy of the individual with the multifactor authentication such as photograph, biometrics – finger print, iris-based systems and digital signature. India with a population of one billion people should be concerned about providing this card to the citizens at a cost effective basis. Hence there is a need to select the right technology for the preparation of the card and online issue of the card also needs to be determined urgently. This challenge must be taken up by the consortium of public and private industries, academic institutions with the Government. Presently the government is considering the discussion of a bill for introducing multipurpose Citizen ID card.

    E-Governance Initiatives

    Several state governments made significant use of IT in government, integration of IT government services and their electronic delivery, some of the examples are Gyandoot in Madhyapradesh, e-Seva in Andrapradesh, Friends in Kerala. In Andra Pradesh, Kerala, Maharastra, Rajastan and Tamilnadu now provide on line registration of property transaction. The NCT of Delhi has recently started electronic delivery of registration of birth and death. Karnataka has fully deployed a computer application for the issue of land records under the bhoomi project, Tamilnadu has implemented e-Rasi project. In Karnataka computer application captures every single transaction at all districts and Taluk treasuries. Some of the states have developed application for Chief Minister Information System for monitoring activities covering developmental programme, redressing public grievances and disaster management systems. India's first VSAT based communication network VIDYUDNET, supports real-time data applications for power generation and distribution. Some of these systems can be replicated and used by other states to avoid the duplication of efforts and to speed up the implementation process.

    India has already established successful networks like NICNET for connecting state and central government offices, ERNET to connect Educational and Research institutions, RAILNET to connect Railway networks, Airline network which connects the air ticket reservation and its services, using the minimum network bandwidth and provides minimum services to the government units for the last 10 to 15 years. And also has a multitude of private entrepreneurs providing services. For example, these networks are established for the specific purposes and address the vertical domains like government, education and research institutions, railways; these modes are working satisfactorily and serve the purpose to those domain requirements. Railway network and its Railway portal which provides the reservation, cancellations and other services is the good and big working model in the country. Time has come to integrate the functions of all the networks in a seamless way and provide an internet exchange in the country much the same way our telephone networks of multiple service providers have been integrated. The inter-departmental communication is required to provide citizen centric services such as interaction, collaboration and transaction with workflow.

    These are the islands of successes. There are paths, but they are disjointed. Everywhere there is a computerization but they are not interoperable. There are web based services but again coupled with manual processes which leads to delay.

    Conclusion

    A comprehensive e-Governance framework needs to be evolved. This frame work encompasses the following:

    1. Establishment of e-Governance Commission or empowered Board

    2. Establishment of e-Governance GRID across the state and centre. Setting up of the Horizontal GRID across the state governments and interconnecting the Horizontal GRIDS to the Vertical Central GRID.

    3. Setting up of e-Governance DATA Centre at the Centre and State Level and real time updation of data from various units of the government.

    4. Setting up a Multipurpose, secure, authentic national citizen-ID database as the primary data for all the e-governance services and online issue of Citizen ID card seamlessly.

    5. Electronic connectivity through dedicated Broadband, Virtual Private Network (VPN) based connectivity from the Centre to State, State to District and District to Block level and Block to village level through the options like wireless, microwave and VSAT. PURA scheme provides an impetus to electronic and knowledge connectivity.

    6. Create a language independent operating systems, databases, application servers, mail servers etc., in the Indian languages.

    7. Ninety percent of work concerning e-governance should be outsourced and government should only manage the Data Centre and maintain it for on-line application.

    These are the challenges that are before us; the conference can discuss and bring out a comprehensive set of recommendations for the effective implementation across the states and central government.

    Today's technology in computers and communication has made the death of time and distance, because the computer is extremely fast and the technology is further improving everything that can be solved with in the time you have. The network is extremely fast there is no need to worry about the distance. There is a new paradigm in the Democratized information system "anytime anywhere the information can be accessed".

    I wish the conference a success.

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