Thursday, January 17, 2008

STAGE SET FOR E-GOVERNANCE AT GRASS ROOTS:India

Stage is set for people in the rural areas to look forward to getting services like birth and death certificates, use of tax payments, e-mail etc. in their gram panchayat offices itself through e-governance. The Gram Panchayat President or Sarpanch will soon be able to monitor panchayat centric schemes, do financial accounting and reporting, keep records of gram sabha and panchayat meetings’ on her computer in the panchayat office through the induction of information and communication technologies (ICTs).

The Expert Committee on Information Technology for Panchayati Raj submitted its recommendations to the Minister of Panchayati Raj, Shri Mani Shankar Aiyar today. The report recommends use of information and communication technologies to be an integral part of multi-mode training and capacity building. The Committee has given extensive recommendation on hardware and system software, application software, open standards, connectivity, domain specific Data and Meta Data Standards, capacity building, adoption of national panchayati portals (NPP), and facility management.

With E-governance the grass root organizations will benefit in many way which would lead to decentralized planning, effective monitoring of centrally sponsored schemes (CSSs), transparency of accountability, enhance their ability to generate, manage and collect local revenue, ability to automate their own functioning, e.g; records of the minutes of meetings of the gram sabha etc. - the information made available could reflect governance structure and decisions taken, profiles of elected representatives and the role played by them; details of NGOs present in the village, to provide external visibility for all the above mentioned areas for enhanced public participation such that there is transparency and ability to facilitate social audits strengthening the Panchyati Raj based delivery systems, they can offer the citizen services that have been devolved to them with a provision of additing more services as they get devolved, provide external linkages for speedy and transparent transfer of funds; markets; communication with state and central government departments etc; as a mechanism for capacity building.

Introduction of ICTat Panchayat level will not only allow experimentation with the technology but will also give immense opportunity to the people to handle technology, be it relating to software, hardware, networking, power supply or any other issue due to which such technology has been traditionally denied to them. Such an initiative will create large-scale job opportunities at the grassroots level, as it has done in urban areas, in the form of operational services, maintenance and many other ancillary areas. The initiative would permeate a culture of ICT usage in rural areas to such a magnitude which probably no other initiative would match. The initiative will also throw up totally new challenges to ICT technology developers as they gear up to meet the requirements of technology diffusion in the villages. Finally, it is likely to create an improved cyber space covering the entire government spectrum of the country, where information could flow seamlessly.

Speaking on the occasion the Secretary, Ministry of Panchayati Raj said “computerization of nearly 250,000 Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) is likely to cost 5,400 crore rupees over the next three years. Computerisation of Panchyati Raj Institutions is a mission mode project under the ambitious National e-Governnance Plan (NeGP) of government of India. This amount provisions computers and connectivity for two thirds of the Panchayats since the balance one third are expected to have the infrastructure out of ongoing state initiatives by the time this project is fully rolled out.”

The Expert Committee felt that this could be the biggest connected government project in the world and nearly quarter million gram panchayats in the country are proposed to connect through this project over the next three years.

Source: http://pib.nic.in/release/release.asp?relid=34705

Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

1 comment:

Kris Dev said...

I appreciate this post.

We are an ICT organization specializing in implementing grass root poverty alleviation programmes as a part of our Transparency and Accountability drive for creating Community Centric Sustainable Development.

We were recognized with the prestigious Manthan Award 2006 for our pioneering work in Biometric Tracking of Payments in remote tribal andhra Pradesh, as the best entry out of entries from 25 states in India for the category e-Inclusion and Livelihood creation. (www.manthanaward.org)

We have assisted Government of Bihar in successfully carrying out biometric registration of citizens for e-Muster and tracking payments made to citizens. (http://ll2b.blogspot.com)

We are ready to support MoPR and MoRD, GoI and any other Government / NGO for implementing grass root poverty alleviation initiatives.

Kris Dev kisdev@gmail.com 0 98 408 52132.
Co-Founder, International Transparency and Accountability Network.