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e-district to be launched in India

16 September 2009

Moumita Bakshi Chatterjee

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A new e-governance programme that aims to automate citizen services at the district level will be launched early next year in India. Enabling better state governance by efficient delivery of services, the project is expected to provide lucrative opportunities to key IT players.

New Delhi: After e-passport and e-biz, another e-governance project may set the cash registers ringing for tech companies.

Image credits: Flickr/ e-district enabling delivery of citizen-centric services

e-district, which is part of the State mission mode projects under the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP), could fetch IT players nearly Rs 2,000 crore by way of contracts spanning hardware, software and systems integration.

The project is aimed at e-enabling the delivery of high-volume citizen-centric services such as issue of certificates, pension and ration card related services, at the district level.

It is being piloted in 37 districts, and the national rollout for the project is likely to kick off by March-April 2010.

It is scheduled to be completed by December 2011.

Piloting better governance

A source said that the pilot stage — across 14 States — entails an expenditure of about Rs 4 crore each in 37 districts. “The national rollout would involve 600 districts.

“We are hopeful that the pilot will be completed by February 2010,” the source said.

"It will automate the back-end of district level offices"

The modalities of the national implementation are yet to be finalised but broadly it would entail the entire IT hardware infrastructure, besides application development and middleware, system software, consultancy, programme management and support.

“It will automate the back-end of district level offices… District Collector’s office, revenue court among others,” a person with the knowledge of the project said.

In the pilot phase, the scheme involves 6-10 categories of services.

A core list of six categories of services has been drawn up at the national level, for implementation by various States.

These include issue of certificates (employment, nationality, marriage, income), social welfare pensions, revenue court (case listing, stay orders, case adjournment, orders), Government dues and recovery as part of land revenue (issue of notices, recording payments, tracking of default processes) and Right to Information Services (application, tracking, monitoring and redressal).

"The program aims to take IT in Governance to another level, the impact of which will be felt on the delivery of citizen services"

All these services would be delivered though the Common Service Centres and ride on the State Wide Area Network and State Data Centre infrastructure that are envisaged under the NeGP.

IT in governance

NIC has been nominated for the pilot phase of the project in Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala while TCS – it is learnt - is the frontrunner for Jharkhand and West Bengal. The bidding for Maharashtra is currently on.

When contacted, Tanmoy Chakrabarty, Vice-President and Head — Government Industry Solutions Unit, TCS, said, “Overall the program aims to take IT in Governance to another level, the impact of which will be felt on the delivery of citizen services”. He declined to comment on the specifics.

Certain states had approached the IT Department suggesting development of a core application that then can be customised by individual States.

Another suggestion is empanelment of implementing agencies at the national level; the States could then choose from among this list.

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