Friday, August 28, 2009

E- Governance - Bridging distances—the e-way

Dear All , 

The following article is about E-governance -Shankar Aggarwal, Joint Secretary (e-Governance), Department of Information Technology, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology talked about e-governance initiatives that aim to bring public services closer to the common folk 

The article gives govt's  perspective of how to go about for e-governance Please Prepare Your notes selecting important points from the article.


The Government of India has employed IT on a large scale. Our e-governance initiatives reflect not only a strong commitment to improve operations and scale up the security aspects connected to confidential and sensitive information, but also to e-connect the Center, State and Districts of the country, to facilitate industries and corporate India’s active engagement and participation in the same, to make information readily available to the masses, amongst others.
Towards these objectives, some of the major projects that the Department of Information Technology (DIT), Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, has taken are the implementation of State-Wide Area Networks (SWAN), State Data Centers (SDC), India Portal (, State-and National-Service Delivery Gateways (SSDG and NSDG respectively).

SWAN is one of the three core infrastructure pillars of NeGP, the other two being Common Services Center (CSC) and State Data Centers (SDC). The SWAN scheme aims at interconnecting each State/UT Head Quarters with the District Headquarters, and each District Headquarter with the Block Headquarters with a minimum 2 Mbps leased line. It also aims to create a secure Close User Group (CUG) Government network for the purpose of delivering G2G and G2C services.
SDCs are envisaged as state-level digital nerve systems for the secure round-the-clock access and efficient electronic delivery of G2C, G2G, and G2B services. The services themselves can be rendered by the States through CSC and SWAN, the other two infrastructure pillars of NeGP. An SDC acts as a mediator and convergence point between open unsecured public domain and sensitive government environment. It helps various State departments to host their services and applications on a common infrastructure leading to ease of integration and efficient management, ensuring that computing resources and the support connectivity infrastructure are used adequately and optimally. The SDCs will be equipped to host/co-locate systems to use centralized computing power. The centralized computers/servers will be used to host multiple applications.

SDC will have high availability (HA), centralized authenticating system to authenticate the users to access their respective systems depending on the authentication matrix. The idea behind the India Portal is to provide a single window access to the information and services of the Indian government at all levels, from Central Government to State Government to District Administration and Panchayat, for the citizens, businesses and the NRIs. An attempt has also been made through this portal to provide comprehensive, accurate, and reliable source of information about India and its various facets. The information here has been classified into distinct modules, which are also interlinked at relevant places to provide the visitor with a holistic view.

In order to truly realize the vision of the National e-Governance Plan, it is necessary to co-opt, collaborate and integrate information across different departments at the Center, States, and local levels of government, which are characterized by islands of legacy systems, use heterogeneous platforms and technologies, and have differing levels of automation. The National e-Governance Service Delivery Gateway (NSDG), can simplify this task by acting as a standards-based messaging switch providing seamless interoperability and exchange of data.

National e-governance goal in 2009-10
We are aiming for completing the SSDG/NSDG, SWAN, and SDC implementations. We are also striving to have CSCs start delivering G2C services to truly bring ‘public services closer home’ to Indian residents, wherever they may be located within the country.CSCs scheme provides support for establishing 100,000 CSCs in 600,000 villages of India, as in a CSC for every six villages. The scheme, as approved by the Government of India, envisions CSCs as the front-end delivery points for government, private and social sector services to the rural citizens of India, in an integrated manner. The objective is to develop a platform that can help all these three establishments to align their social and commercial goals for the benefit of the rural population in the remotest corners of the country through a combination of IT-based as well as non-IT-based services.

We prefer packaged software
We prefer off-the-shelf solutions (SAP, Exchange, Notes/Domino etc.) or but are open to building our own (or getting a third-party to build a system for us) that satisfies at least three parameters—availability, interoperability, and cost. Hence, as long as off-the-shelf solutions are easily available, support interoperability, and provide value for money, we prefer them over building our own.

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