Place: Gandhinagar, Date: 14-12-2011
India, which was once known as the land of snake charmers is now known for its mouse charmers. India might have missed out on the gains of Industrial Revolution as it was under foreign rule, but with a progressive attitude we have risen to adapt Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Our youth have led the field and compelled the world to take note of our growth.
To me, e-Governance is nothing but easy, economic and effective governance. e-Governance is a key component of good governance, which is the key to sustainable development. The state has been constantly innovating, aiming at excellence in governance. The opportuneunderstanding of the importance of technology in effective and efficient delivery of services has enabled the state to take up many innovative steps for empowering people. Gujarat has made long strides in the field of IT during the last decade, especially in adoption of modern technology for governance. We celebrated the year 2004 as the ‘Year of e-Governance’, emphasizing upon the important role technology can play in providing good governance.
The Gujarat Government’s major e-Governance initiatives include e-Dhara forcomputerization of land records, broadband connectivity in all the 18,000-odd villagePanchayats of the state, Citizens’ Charter providing information about 100 public services at 300 Janseva Kendras, e-Gram programme, SWAGAT to redress online peoples’ grievances, e-Mamta, use of technology in distance learning and so on.
The state government has also initiated online recruitment process, bar coding ofration cards and computerization of all the check posts on highways through e-Governance. All check-posts have been computerized and every commercial vehicle going from the state to theneighboring state is accounted for. The sales tax collection has been computerized, resulting in additional revenues for the state government. Computerization of check posts has facilitated the process of verification of documents, estimation of penalty amount and its collection.
To arrest the dropout rates of school children, a district-level officer in the stateadministration has developed in-house software to keep a tab on dropouts. If a student is absent continuously for a period longer than 7 days, the system will automatically send a report to the Taluka level educational officer and in case of absence for over 15 days, it will be reported to the district-level officer. This can help in reducing the dropout rate in the state.
To encourage innovations in primary education, an attempt has been made by the Gujarat Educational Innovations Commission to recognize innovators who silently work at thegrassroots level. One way through which this has been achieved is in the form of a book that showcases 25 teachers who have redefined primary education through their innovations.
The state has received a full-fledged transponder of 36 MHz Q-band from Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The transponder will enable the state in implementing long distance education system across the state as it has fully developed the capacity. We will use the transponder in bringing about a qualitative change in the primary education bydelivering education programmes to the schools, colleges, universities and for imparting the medical education, technical education and skill development knowledge. Besides, the educational programmes for farmers would be transmitted to the interior villages of the state.
Our cities are also emerging as IT hubs. According to recent NASSCOM reports, cities likeSurat and Ahmedabad have managed to position themselves on the top list that are attracting people with IT background.
I am very enthusiastic about the potential of Mobile Governance (m-Governance) as a tool for providing good governance. The common man is now using mobiles with ease and Gujarat has been among the early adopters of m-Governance. We are working on a m-Governance policy and will soon come out with a detailed policy for use of mobilecommunication devices for government.
Gujarat had ushered in transparency and accountability in governance through use of Information Technology. When technology becomes a part of your life, it starts driving you. The person, who understands this, can bring change. I wish that Indians use IT with as much ease as mobile.
I believe that IT+IT=IT i.e. Indian talent + Information technology = India Tomorrow. It is my firm belief that our talent will build the future of India with the help of IT.