The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Political will key to e-governance boom

New Delhi, Jan 16: Political will could result in electronic governance spreading in a bigger way in India leading to revenues increasing by as much as Rs 10,000 crore, according to a study by Nasscom released today.

Nasscom, the apex industry association of software and service companies in India, listed the priorities for the government to enhance the use of e-governance. The e-governance market grew by 18 per cent last year and is the highest growing segment in the domestic IT market.

It has asked the government to identify project champions who can push e-governance in government departments at the central and state levels. They should also rewrite tendering and bid evaluation procedures to encourage private participation. The study asks the government to clearly define an e-Governance strategy and a roadmap, which are currently not present.

According to Nasscom, e-governance implementation undertaken in 10 key states revealed that Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu are leading in terms of project implementation at different citizen-government interface points. While West Bengal, Kerala, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan, are catching up fast.

West Bengal has been categorised, as one of the nascent adopters of e-governance and its major initiatives has been computerisation of the departments of finance, labour and transport. While Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka maintain the leadership position in e-governance initiative as they have brought in power reforms which was reflected in the recent report card prepared by Crisil.

“But, despite the islands of excellence, e-governance has not been able to make rapid progress due to several operational, economic, personnel, planning and implementation issues. E-governance in India has also focused heavily towards investing in hardware and very little on developing software and services, which could maximise hardware investments, said Nasscom president Kiran Karnik.

In addition to macro issues, the study has identified industry-level issues which are inhibiting private participation in e-governance projects. This includes absence of a clear revenue stream offered by the government to the private sector. There is also inadequate awareness among the government officials at all levels with respect to appropriate tendering, raising RFPs, software pricing, bid assessment and IPR.

The study has also stressed that the government should first focus on bringing efficiency in governance through better use of technology.

Some key imperatives for the government identified by the study include ensuring that 3 per cent of the budget is committed towards e-governance which will be spent in the ratio of 40:30:30 on hardware, software and services, respectively.

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