The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Lessons in e-bliss for Buddha

Calcutta, Dec. 3: Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and N. Chandrababu Naidu can compete for investments in information technology. So can they share their experience in electronic governance, without one coming into conflict with the other.

At Infocom 2002, the conference and exhibition on information technology organised by industry association Nasscom and Ananda Bazar group publication Businessworld, sharing of information and experience by state governments and a public-private partnership emerged as key elements in sustaining e-governance initiatives.

“The importance of information technology can hardly be overemphasised today. We must understand that to provide good governance, there is no alternative to electronic governance,” said Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi in his keynote address.

D.P. Patra, the Bengal IT secretary, emphasised the importance of collaboration among states to arrive at a flawless system. “To put in place an efficient citizen-government interface in the state, we closely studied the experience in Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh. This has immensely benefited us in designing the info-kiosk project.”

Jointly executed by TCS and Webel, the Bengal government’s nodal IT agency, the project aims to set up information kiosks at 22 locations to facilitate citizen-government interface.

Rajiv Chawla, additional secretary in the Karnataka government, narrated how the Bhoomi project has become both successful and viable. Under it, the Karnataka government has collected and digitised land records of over 7 million farmers. “Everything ranging from ownership of land to its fertility is digitised. This has helped in accessing information, and reduced ownership disputes. The government had spent over Rs 18 crore on the project. We have recovered Rs 9.5 crore through user charges and alliances with private parties.”

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