“We want to link click with brick



Tata Consultancy Services was one of the first companies in India to have
a clear focus on e-governance. The companys major claim to fame was the
successful implementation of the MCA 21 project for the Ministry of Company
Affairs. After that, there has been no looking back, as it continued to earn
laurels. The company was awarded the Best e-Gov Vendor at the Dataquest e-Gov
Summit 2008. Tanmoy Chakrabarty, vice president and head of the Global
Government Industry Group at TCS, spoke to Dataquest about the companys e-gov
roadmap. Excerpts

TCS has been one of the earliest companies doing pioneering work in the
e-governance segment. However, now, as there is no dearth of companies vying for
a presence in this vertical, is TCS looking at a change in strategy?
Presently, the government segment is a very young and small vertical.
Globally, this segment contributes single-digit revenue to the company, but the
goal is to accelerate the growth and contribute double-digit revenue by 2010.
While the IT industry talks about SOA, our strategy is clear; at TCS, in the
government business, we have a Framework Oriented Approach (FOA). We are engaged
in building solutions that address the needs of the government. Once this
framework is built, it can then be replicated later. Our philosophy is that we
dont want to rebuild solutions over and over again.

For instance, if we have built a municipality solution, it can then be taken
to other customers later and, thereafter, minor changes can be made as per the
customers requirements. The idea is to create a robust platform and then
customize it as per requirements, thereby leading to cost reduction. We have
created a digital framework for paperless government offices, FOA for public
service healthcare, public works department, municipality and treasury, and
value added tax FOA was implemented across twelve states via the citizen service
delivery framework.

Whats the update on your flagship MCA 21 project?
Being one of the first companies to enter the e-governance space, TCS was
engaged by the Ministry of Company Affairs (MCA) as its IT partner in 2005. We
delivered the system across India in just seventy-seven weeks and went live in
February 2006. Since then, the MCA 21 project has brought a transformation in
the functioning of the whole business of registration of company offices. The
project has de-layered the government for the common man, who no longer has to
visit the government office for any government-related work; they could just log
on to the Internet and get the work done at the click of a mouse.

Tanmoy Chakrabarty, VP & Head,
Global Government Industry
 Group, TCS

The MCA 21 project is a fine example of how communities should adopt IT
holistically; and as the government has adopted this framework for the
betterment of the community, I believe there is gross underestimation of the
governments capability to adopt IT. During the first year of its launch, the
MCA 21 project saw a 92% adoption rate. This was made possible due to user
acceptance, ease of use, and the benefits to companies. The project has saved
approximately 100 mn pages per cycle and is truly a green project.

During 2007, the emphasis was on stabilizing operations and value addition,
standardization of processes, and testing the system. Implementation of role
check for authorized signatory of a company and professionals was introduced in
order to ensure authenticity of documents and non-repudiation by the signatory.
Internet banking facility from SBI was implemented and the number of authorized
bank branches almost doubled from 200 to 399. Most importantly, the department
also mandated regular DIN for e-filing, and details of directors of a company
can now be viewed on the website, free of charge.

However, I want the government to stop looking at IT as a commodity; instead
the government should avail IT as a service. Usage of IT as a service absolves
the government of obsolescence.

TCS has done a number of pioneering projects in Gujarat, and has had a
long association with Andhra Pradesh that once held a leadership position. How
do you perceive the progress of these two states now, and what are some major
projects here?
Gujarat is an excellent example of a leadership-driven e-governance agenda.
When chief minister Narendra Modi had announced 2004 as the year of
e-governance, there were a lot of doubts simply because India has been a
graveyard of pilot projects. A number of pilot projects were tested but they
never reached the implementation stage. Some e-governance initiatives by the
Gujarat government where we have been involved include secretariat digital
workflow, treasury administration, value added tax, and end-to-end solutions for
the police force.

The end-to-end police force solution is a pioneering initiative, as for the
first time a state government is embarking on an end-to-end, holistic IT
enablement of the police force. The solution will connect the office of the home
secretary to the police post. The solution would also include detailed
information about the criminal records, human resource, finance, inventory
management, traffic management, intelligence and all other aspects of policing.
We will go live with the project in the next five months.

The impact of various e-governance projects was felt by the people of the
state, who, by re-electing him, have reposed their faith. E-governance is just a
milestone for good governance with the state seeing a holistic and
enterprise-wide deployment of e-governance.

On the other hand, in Andhra Pradesh, which was in a leadership position some
years back, we are seeing a definite slowdown with the state becoming a bit
complacent now. Contrary to our expectations that the state would be going to
the next level of maturity, no initiatives have been witnessed of late. Belying
popular perception, Bihar is fast moving ahead on the e-governance track and
currently, there are five major programs like Bihar online, treasury, SWAN, etc,
with leadership driving e-governance here.

How much focus does TCS have on big league government projects like
citizen service centers?
Citizen service centers are a part of the Mission Mode Program under the
National e-Governance Program and are meant to be a brick and mortar interface
for citizens to obtain services. The objective is to address the digital divide,
as CSCs will have operator-based services and the capability to bring governance
right to the doorsteps.

Our interest is not in the physical brick and mortar business, but we are in
the business of citizen service delivery portal. We want the citizen service
delivery services to be made available through these CSCs. We believe that there
is no need to build another portal, we want to link click with brick.

Stuti Das
stutid@cybermedia.co.in

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