'Leave Line, Come Online': Gujarat IT Minister

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'Leave Line, Come Online': Gujarat IT Minister

Dataquest has interacted with the IT minister for the State of Gujarat recently and tried to seek information on what all IT related initiatives have been taken to make the life of citizens easy.  The Gujarat Government's IT minister Govind Bhai Patel  shared a lot of interesting things about the Government's IT roadmap. Here are the excerpts: 


 Q1. What efforts have been made by the Department of Science and Technology to develop Gujarat as the sunrise state of India?

Government of Gujarat has been continuously endeavoring to achieve the vision of “Maximum Governance/Minimum Government” by leveraging Information and Communication Technology (ICT). With the advancement of ICT, Government has taken proactive steps in the Government service delivery mechanism from traditional to electronic i.e., from Governance to eGovernance and to mGovernance and simultaneously has created a sturdy infrastructure to support technology initiatives for Statewide implementations.

The State Government has been using ICT as an effective tool towards Good Governance and Gujarat is a frontline State in the Country for implementation of eGovernance projects. Gujarat has been a leader in setting up of core ICT infrastructure like State Wide Area Network (SWAN), State Data Centre (SDC) and eGRAM - Common Service Centers (CSCs) as well for use of advanced technologies like GIS and mobility solutions, to provide smart Governance to its citizens and businesses. The adoption of innovative, constructive and result-oriented policies and the increasing use of ICT as facilitator for Governance have tremendously benefitted the masses, resulting in the institutionalization of Digital Gujarat.


The State Government has given considerable support to build ecosystem for IT, Electronics, Bio-technology, innovations and start-ups.

Q2. How do you view the economic potential and investor-friendly IT policies of Gujarat?

Over the last two decades Information Technology (IT) and Information Technology enabled Services (ITeS) Industry in India has emerged as a strategic sector in India’s competitiveness in global market on both employment as well as economic value creation fronts. IT as a sector has marched ahead at a brisk pace evolving into a key driver to both India’s global trade and to Indian’s mobility


The increasing importance of IT/ITeS industry and its huge scope for encouraging employment has been recognized by all State Governments. The Government recognized the need for a different approach for development of IT/ITeS Industry in Gujarat. Subsequently, looking at the fast paced advancements in the IT/ITeS sector and keep pace with, Government of Gujarat announced new IT/ITeS Policy on 12th Feb 2016.

Acknowledging the potential IT and to encourage Gujarat based entrepreneurs to step into IT Service sector, the policy announced by Government of Gujarat has taken a first step. Now, it’s the Industry to come forward and take the benefits offered under this Policy. Our Policy is at par with IT Policy of any other State in India. It offers very attractive incentives for all players be it MSME or large or Mega IT Projects/Companies. Due care has been taken in designing the benefits tailor-made for IT/ITeS sector. As the focus in IT/ITeS Policy has been towards increasing employment, most of the benefits are linked to the employment generation.

It is indeed very investor-friendly Policy as all the phases of IT/ITeS units have been covered in designing the benefits; right from setting up or expansion to commencement of operations to realisation of sales. Moreover, policy has been released along with its Scheme and Application Form, which means an eligible unit can file its claim from the day the Policy was announced and stake its claim.


Q3. With the Central government’s espousal of ‘Make in India’ and the overall focus on improving economic climate as well as employment opportunities, could you share your views about the areas of importance for the Gujarat IT sector that can help to improve the overall condition of the sector over the next two years?

Make in India’ campaign is more to focus on and to encourage manufacturing in the country, whereas, IT Sector primarily deals with the Services Sector. It has been the ill conceived notion that Gujarat has missed the IT bus. Actually, if you see on ground, traditionally Gujarat has been holding flag position in manufacturing and because of its growth and achievements in manufacturing the growth in services sector looks miniscule. In last decade or so, the number of IT companies in Gujarat has increased multifold and if you see the members of GESIA itself, they have more than 1500 members which shows that IT has grown but not at the same pace as manufacturing.

Gujarat is home to some of the largest and best BPOs and KPOs in the country. Gujarat has excellent IT Infrastructure and IT penetration is much higher as compared to other States in India. Gujarat has large number of IT MSMEs, what is probably missing is IT giants. TCS has been present in Gujarat for more than a decade now, few years back in 2014 they have inaugurated their IT SEZ; Garima Park in Gadhinagar, real estate giant Raheja have developed IT Park in Gandhinagar and recently in GIFT City lots of IT majors like Oracle, Maxim Integrated, Befree, nCode, Infibeam, etc. have made their presence felt.


One more notion people carry about Gujarat is that we do not have requisite manpower for the IT Sector. This is a myth, as Gujarat produces more than 45000 engineers every year and many of these move to Pune or Bangalore or Hyderabad to look for better opportunity. It is probably due to lack IT giants that the young engineers migrate to other States and Cities in the lure of better career prospects. We have to break this notion by getting some of the leading IT companies to start their operations in Gujarat. Our IT/ITeS Policy is aimed towards this.

Q4 Mobile technology is moving ahead in terms of penetration and now it much easier to reach out to any stakeholders of a government scheme. Various social media tools like Facebook and Twitter, which the Prime Minister also uses frequently, have been deployed to keep citizens informed and updated. In this context, please tell us about the key ICT initiatives of your department that you have implemented/plan to implement, in order to smoothen workflow processes and improve targeting of project beneficiaries

With an objective of delivering the Government services at the doorsteps of citizens, Government of Gujarat is using mobile technology for informing about service status and delivery channel, which is at the fingertips of citizens. Mobile Governance has been one of the focused areas under Gatisheel Gujarat programme of the State Government. Government of Gujarat is using mGovernance in most of the sectors Agriculture (iKhedut), Health (eMamta, Community Health Organizations), Urban (Municipal Corporations), General Administration (Saathi), Public Safety (Help Emergency Alert), Youth (Results, Online Jon Applications, Khel Mahakumbh, Recruitment Calendar), Tourism and Vibrant Gujarat.


Mobile apps deployed by Municipal Corporations helps the citizens to avail Municipal services and information for property tax, user charges, water meter details, timely and authentic information about the Ukai Dam water level, inflow/outflow and complaints registration regarding various services of Municipal Corporation.

Mobile App (iKhedut) is an initiative of Agriculture & Co-operation Department towards empowerment of farmers of state using ICT. iKhedut is a set of more than 100 Mobile apps which provide detailed information with photographs on various topics related to Agriculture, Veterinary, Dairy, Agriculture Education etc.

The Government is set to provide single mobile app for Digital Gujarat for availing services at anytime from anywhere as part of Common Services Portal (CSP)


Q5 What is your vision on cloud for Government?

The privacy and security of Citizens’ Data is one of the primary consideration and thus Government of Gujarat will build cloud functionality with the State Data Centre(SDC).

Q6 Share with us some of the recent initiatives undertaken by your department that was a big success?

Recently, Government of Gujarat has started merging operations and management contract of Gujarat State Data Centre (GSDC) and Gujarat State Wide Area Network (GSWAN) for better coordination and improved efficiency with increase service levels. It is also pertinent to mention that the scale of new upgraded infrastructure will be 10 times faster in terms of data transfer including enhancing security and state owned messaging infrastructure (unlimited email box and Internet for all Govt employees).

The State Government has carried out substantial transformation in the services delivery with launch of Common Services Portal (CSP) with initial 28 services and has planned to ramp-up services in a big way. The citizen friendly features of the portal are - Single URL for accessing e-Services (, Accessible through all service channels (eGram, ATVT, Internet and mobile), Single Sign-on for citizens to access all e-Services, One time citizen registration and authentication through Aadhaar/Mobile Number, Facility to upload documents in Digital Locker, Use of existing digitized databases like EPIC, Ration Card to be made for online verification instead of document copy, Optimized forms, Simplified delivery mechanism, Online payment option through Payment Gateway or e-Wallet, Application Tracking & Status update on Mobile and e-mail, .Citizen will be empowered with facility to raise grievance through the Common Services Portal in case he/she is not satisfied with the service delivery output.

Q7 What are your adoption plans for ICTs in key initiatives and focus areas. Can you share an aggregate budgetary outlay for the it for FY 2014-15 and FY 2015-16 in terms of procuring hardware, software licenses, IT solutions or outsourced services?

The Department is promoting State-of-the-art Center of Excellence to impart high end world class training and skilling to the students and researchers in emerging areas of sciences and technologies like Internet of Things, Big Data Analysis, Cyber Security, VLSI Designing, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Nanotechnology etc.

The Department has made adequate budgetary provisions for rolling out a state wide Wi-fi connectivity across various public places like colleges/universities, civil hospitals, bus stations, religious places, tourism places and is in the process of Connecting 6000 villages and Ashramshalas for bridging Digital Divide and mainstreaming the marginalised.

The Government has made adequate provisions in the budgetary heads of respective Government Departments for giving impetus to IT and e-Governance initiatives.

Q8 Anything more that you would like to share with our readers?

I would like to appeal to the citizens that “Leave line, Come Online”

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