Calcutta, Feb. 27: From accessing land records and obtaining a birth certificate to paying bills online, G2C (government to citizen) services are set to get a fillip in Bengal with World Bank promising help.
The state figures among three selected by the Centre for a pilot project on e-governance under the national e-governance action plan, which will be funded by the bank.
'The World Bank wants to strengthen e-governance in our state. The Centre's decision to include Bengal is an implicit recognition of our efforts in the field of information technology,' said a senior government official.
Apart from Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Punjab are part of the project. The Centre has appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers to facilitate preparation of project proposals in the three states.
'The firm is currently interacting with various departments to gauge their requirements and formulating and fine-tuning the proposals. The IT department is facilitating the process,' said Bengal infotech secretary G.D. Gautama.
R. Chandrashekhar, the joint secretary of the Union information technology ministry, told The Telegraph: 'This is the first time World Bank is considering funding e-governance as a national programme. We'll start a composite dialogue with the bank in mid-March and hope to finalise the programme this year. The consultant has been asked to work out the cost of the project.'
On the choice of Bengal, he said: 'We thought it best to start with states from different regions that have done significant work in this field. Bengal has done reasonably good work in computerising land records, transport registration, panchayats and natural resource planning. It would be a good representative of the parameters to be set for other states.'
The departments of transport, agriculture and police, the property registration and commercial offices, treasuries, municipalities and panchayats would be part of the drive that would help in capacity building, training staff and making project assessments.