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G2C services far from viable

- NICT tackles citizen’s issues, education minister assures teleradiology by next year

Guwahati, Oct. 4: The much-talked about G2C (government to citizen) services are still far from becoming popular in the state.

Participating in a discussion during the first session of NICT 2012 on Enabling the Northeast with Electronic Service Delivery, commissioner and secretary department of information technology and power Anurag Goel said there is not enough demand for the services, as the citizens are still not aware of it.

“Delivery of G2C services is the most challenging, as several issues have to be tackled,” Goel said today.

The IT department in 2009 had notified the rates of the user charges, maximum service delivery time lines, documents required and approving authorities for district-level delivery of various G2C services to the citizens. The government had notified 15 G2C services in 2009.

The services are being provided through the common services centres (CSCs) in the state, under the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP).

The official said citizens have to be made aware of the services, as otherwise there is no point in having these.

“People are mainly interested in buying railway and air tickets from these centres, too,” he added.

He said the village level entrepreneurs are unwilling to set up the centres in hilly areas, which are sparsely populated.

On enabling electronic service delivery in Assam, he said the issues to be looked into are policy framework, ICT infrastructure, capacity-building of employees and citizen’s awareness.

On the Assam State Area Wide network, he said only 270 points of presence have been commissioned out of 304 in the state. He asked the BSNL to upgrade its services.

He said the government is looking at cell phones as a platform for service delivery and hosting of all the services in the state portal.

Goel revealed that the rules for IT policy will be declared in three months’ time.

M.K. Yadava, managing director of AMTRON, said service delivery is still a big challenge in the region.

Amit Mukherjee, chief operating officer, Sahaj e-Village Ltd, also underlined the need to leverage G2C services in the Northeast.

In another session, Connectivity — A panacea for Northeast’s Growth, Prabir Kumar Das, jurisdictional director, Eastern India, Software Technology Parks of India, said the government was seriously considering an upgrade of network.

“The Centre has earmarked Rs 20,000 crore for the Bharat Broadband Network Ltd, the apex body that takes fibre network to the panchayat level,” he said.

Das said 70 to 80 per cent policies implemented have been a success.

“However, the worry here is that Northeast does not fall in this 70-80 per cent success bracket,” he added.

He added that village-level entrepreneurs need to step in to improve connectivity.

M.A. Ravinder, head of East and Northeast telecom circle, Power Grid Corporation of India, said steps are being taken to improve connectivity under the NER augmentation scheme. “PowerGrid has laid OPGW (optical fibre ground wire) for grid monitoring in the region,” he said.

Representatives from the industry, government and knowledge leaders from the Centre, state government, Power Grid, AMTRON, SBI, Sahaj eVillage, STPI, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India today spoke in the two sessions.