More Ground For Proliferation

govt.jpg (18317 bytes)The government
segment’s IT spending dur-ing the year exceeded Rs 600 crore. This includes the spending
by the central government departments, ministries, directorates, and state governments.
The government sector has been an active buyer of IT but is not yet anywhere near maturity
level in most cases. The segment presents tremendous potential for more IT consumption in
the coming years. The National Informatics Center (NIC) under the Planning Commission has
been the government sector’s pathfinder in IT. It has been consistently handholding
various departments in its computerization efforts. Over the years some of them have
achieved self-sufficiency in IT requirements and are now on their own. Some of
these-Industry Ministry, Rural Development Ministry, Commerce Ministry, state governments
of Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra and the like-are examples where IT is now advancing
further into the departments’ functioning.

Maharashtra: Going The IT Way
The Government of Maharashtra has decided to computerize the entire working of the State
Government within a period of two years through a comprehensive policy framework and
program. An amount of Rs 50 crore is provided in the current year’s budget. A Directorate
of Information Technology has been established in the State for this purpose. A series of
initiatives are being taken to promote computer literacy amongst the government employees.
Five training centers will become operational for training of staff at all levels.
Government has decided to prescribe computer literacy as necessary qualification for
recruitment and promotions. The minimum level of computer literacy should be the DOEACC
‘O’ Level Examination or Diploma in Information Technology awarded by C-DAC. The
government has also decided to source its requirements of expertise in the field of
application software and project implementation from private sector. For this purpose
turnkey solution providers are being impanelled.

NIC Initiatives
In 1997 videoconferencing came of age. Videoconferencing facility in NIC was formally
inaugurated by Cabinet Secretary TSR Subramaniam on August 22, 1997. NIC set up 14
videoconferencing centers all over the country. Videoconferencing facilities were made
available to the Government.

And it was not only in communication and networking that
NIC broke new grounds in 1997. NIC teamed up with the Department of Administrative Reforms
and Public Grievances to set up Information and Facilitation Counters in 40 departments of
the Central Government. The setting up of these counters was meant to allow the public
fast and easy access to government information as part of the basic right to information
of every individual.

Successful completion of many important projects such as
the development of the External Assistance Monitoring Information System to closely
monitor projects aided by external agencies has pushed the overall computerization level
to a new plane. At the same time, NIC state and district centers continued their yeoman
service at the state and district levels. They continued providing the whole range of IT
services including software development, office automation, computerized monitoring of
various projects, and networking, in a determined bid to enable the country to hold its
place in a fast-paced world of technology.

The Utility Mapping Project for Delhi was conceptualized in
co-operation with various departments of the Delhi Administration including the Delhi
Development Authority (DDA), Delhi Water Supply and Sewage Undertaking, Delhi Fire
Service, Delhi Traffic Police, Public Works Department, and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd.

Other notable projects include computerization of pre-paid
taxi service for Delhi Traffic Police and Railway Route Alignment of the Udhampur-Katra
section. Some of the projects in the pipeline are Utility Mapping Project for Delhi,
Digital Basemap for Okhla Extension, House Registry Application, Utility Mapping System
for the Chandigarh Electricity Department, Utility Mapping System for Tamil Nadu
Electricity Board (TNEB), Chennai, and Preparation of Digital Basemaps for the state of
Sikkim.

NIC is in the process of putting up a widespread LAN in
Udyog Bhavan and Krishi Bhavan. It has also started a number of projects in the area of
sustainable development like agriculture, crop management, waste land development, water
and irrigation, and rural development. It is preparing five-year IT plans for all the
central government departments and sectors and some state governments. On the training
front, NIC delivered 25,000 manweeks of training last year. This will be increased even
further to 35,000 manweeks this year.

UP Govt Revenue Deptt: An Example
Modernization of the Revenue Sector has always been a top priority for state governments.
Responding to this important requirement, the NIC Uttar Pradesh State Unit took up the
challenge, and has successfully computerized the UP Budget Directorate and the treasuries
of all districts in the State.

govt-1.jpg (15486 bytes)The Budget
Directorate and the District Treasury Offices have been adequately equipped with the
latest in information technology tools. Appropriate application software packages have
been developed and implemented. One of the major achievements of the project has been the
preparation of the Budget for the year 1997-98. The Budget Document which consists of six
khands-17 books of around 4,500 pages-was completed within a record time of 25 days
against the scheduled time of 90 days-thanks to the use of computers! The Document covers
the complete spectrum of the finances of the state.

The project has computerized the monitoring of the Rs 600
crore in the annual Contingency Fund of the state government. This fund is used for
emergency expenditures and the spent amount is recouped in the annual budget.

BUDGET RELEASE AND EXPENDITURE
MONITORING
: After the budget is approved, the amount sanctioned is released to the
individual heads of the departments concerned. NIC has developed a software to monitor the
budget released and the monthly expenditure of each head of department.

MONITORING OF LOANS AND GUARANTEES:
State and Central Government loans to different corporations, boards etc. are monitored
with the objective of reducing state liabilities on loans and guarantees.

TREASURY INFORMATION SYSTEM OF NIC:
This user-friendly information system takes care of two important aspects. It prepares
accounts up to the standard object level and helps in management by providing all reports
required by the Accountant General, Allahabad, and the state Government for monitoring and
analysis of expenditures.

Judgment Day
Implementation of JUDIS (Judgment Information System), a nationwide case-law information
system, is a high-water mark in NIC’s novel project-COURTIS (Court Information System).
COURTIS is to culminate in the provision of highly organized computer support to the
judiciary of the country. NIC had taken up COURTIS in 1992; and there has been no looking
back since then.

Today all high courts are interconnected through NIC’s
satellite-based computer-communication network, NICNET, and most of them are taking out
automated daily Case Lists on computers, thanks to COURTNIC and NICNET, information on
cases pending in the Supreme Court is available from any high court in the country. Some
of the high courts have also been provided with terminals for recording daily orders,
day-to-day judgments. The first of its kind in India, JUDIS will be accessible from any of
the 750 nodes of NICNET.

Traditionally, legal research has been carried out through
use of case citators and index of the sort used in text books. Its disadvantage lies in
its inherent dependence on the views of the person who develops it. A case may have many
legal issues and is best left to the user to derive his own inference. To sort this out,
JUDIS provides one free text-base retrieval system. By providing only the actual text part
it is ensured that the user will not miss his own viewpoint.

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