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DQI Bureau
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Bihar Chalks Out e-Panchayat Plan

The Bihar government has approved a proposal to introduce e-Governance in

all its 8,479 panchayats at a cost of Rs 252 million. According to available

information, the State government plans to link eight government departments,

including the chief minister secretariat to the State-Wide Area Network (SWAN).

The project aims at establishing direct contact with villagers and making the

functioning of the government more transparent. The project would be jointly

handled by TCS and Bihar State Electronics Development Corporation, while

Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS) would monitor the



DQ Views: The initiative taken up by Bihar government is indeed

a welcome step. However, it's strange that the State government has entrusted

the job of implementing the project to Bihar State Electronics Development

Corporation (Beltron), which does not have any expertise in the domain. It may

be recalled that nearly six months back the Bureaucracy in the State had

attempted to pass on the implement of SWAN to Beltron, in order to bring it out

of red.

Goa Wants Single Portal

Goa's Department of

Information Technology is in the process of drawing up a proposal to

launch a single web portal for all Government departments. The portal is

aimed to serve as a virtual link for the public to carry out transactions

such as payment of bills, applications or issue of certificates from

government departments among other services. According to reports, while

the state government has already identified 617 services that would be put

on the portal, only 20 services with high volume of transaction would go

online at the initial phase. The state expects to roll out the Phase 1 of

the project by December this year.

DQ Views: It's strange that nearly two

years after the state's decision to consolidate various government

department portals, Goa is yet to make any headway in the direction. It

may be recalled that the State has been advocating integrated service

offerings through community-wide information architecture since 2004,

which warranted that all government portals in Goa be integrated.

Unfortunately, not much seems to have changed in the state over the last

two years. Worse, Goa has not even submitted the proposal for the SWAN so

far. Hope the state mandarins understand that e-Governance cannot be

delivered by merely creating a single government portal. The front end has

to be backed up by actions at the back-end as well.

While the presence of TCS and IL&FS does assures one that

the State would be able to pull through the project, its important that Bihar

realizes that e-Governance has no scope of compromise and the fact that means

are important as the end result. The state also needs to pull up its socks on

the SWAN front, an area where Jharkhand has moved ahead even from the most IT

savvy Indian states.


KMC Adopts e-Governance

Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) has decided to move on to the

e-Governance platform in 16 months time. According to reports, the entire

e-Governance platform would be implemented in a phased manner, with the online

information system up and running in a year's time. The e-payment gateway for

KMC would, however, need 16 months to roll out.

KMC has already short listed BSNL as the network service provider for the
project that would be implemented through a grant-in fund of Rs 200 crore from

the UK government's Department for International Development (DFID). The

entire gamut of civic processes will be available online and though dedicated

kiosks set up for this purpose.

DQ Views: e-Governance at municipal level would certainly make a

difference and KMC must be congratulated for taking the first step forward.

However, there is a lesson to be learnt from the various other municipal-level

e-Gov projects. KMC should not address the issue from service delivery point of

view, which is like putting the horse before the cart. As in any 'good

governance' initiative, the KMC project should attempt to improve the internal

processes and automating the back-end process environment rather than creating

kiosks for the purpose. With the number of Internet subscribers and Cyber Cafes

fast moving north, KMC can focus more on GPR and leave the kiosks for the second

phase. A good idea would be to rope in Cyber Cafes, post offices and banks as

the service delivery centers.

Shubhendu Parth