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Revolution 2.0 Online social media became the driver of a revolution in Egypt that stunned the conservative Arab world. pg22

education watch

special focus

Urban Governance: Can help?

Municipal Governance through user-friendly technologies p28

Prof V N Rajasekharan Pillai

On telecentre initiative at IGNOU and its potential impact p44


Contents march 2011

second grid grid name issue 03 n  volume 07

Revolution 2.0 22 | cover story

Revolution 2.0 Online social media became the driver of a revolution in Egypt that stunned the conservative Arab world

33 18

in person Agatha Sangma On role of ICT in enhancing MGNREGA

40

in person Sudipta K Sen On future plans of one of the largest software companies

44

education watch Prof V N Rajasekharan Pillai On telecentre initiative at IGNOU and its potential impact

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egov / www.egovonline.net / March 2011

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opinion cloud computing Now the Cloud Draws Governments

opinion Financial inclusion to bank the unbanked

Using the Web to deliver IT services on demand and at a scale needed

Financial inclusion is an emerging priority for banks

36

16

project update CARINGS through Web

Xaas Technology Opportunities Abound! How to harness a powerful technology to cut cost and lift efficiency

CARINGS is a web based management information system

28

specialfocus Urban Governance: Can help? Interactive and use-friendly technologies is the way forward

further reading Editorial india News news world news

05 12 14 26


Technology High on National Agenda

T

he 80th Union Budget for the fiscal year 2011-12 presented by the Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee, has in its fold a number of important policy decisions that have huge implications for furthering development and improving governance in the country. What is heartening to note in this year’s budget is that the government has amplified the flow of resources to rural areas to give more inclusive plunge to the development process. Allocation for Bharat Nirman package programmes has been increased by `10,000 crore. In an effort to bridge the digital divide, the Finance Minister has made announcement to provide Rural Broadband Connectivity to all 2, 50,000 Panchayats in the country in three years. However, it is to be seen how rural broadband connectivity can be extended within this stipulated period. Although, the budget has laid special emphasis on improving governance through Unique ID (UID) number, there are no allocation figures of UID numbers specified by FM in his speech, which is quite unexpected. In the taxation sector, the budget talks of extending the current IT initiatives like e-Filing and e-Payment of taxes. It also lays emphasis on web based facility for tax payers to track the resolution of refunds and credit for pre-paid taxes and augmentation of processing capacity. The National e-Governance Plan has got a boost in the current year’s budget. Under Mission Mode Projects (MMPs), funds would be released to 31 projects received from States/ UTs for computerisation of commercial taxes. For financial inclusion of the economically weaker sections of society, there is a move to set up banks in villages of more than 2000 people. In this direction, the proposed bill to allow RBI to grant more banking licenses and additional support to NABARD is also noteworthy. Celebrations are in the offing when it comes to inclusion of poor in the health insurance sector. Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana is to be extended to cover unorganised sector workers in hazardous mining and associated industries like slate and slate pencil, dolomite, mica and asbestos. All these measures taken by the government is being much appreciated across all quarters. Although, the industry has welcomed this year’s budget, they have found non-extension on STPI benefits as very demoralising. There is also the resentment over the three percent increase in MAT (minimum alternative tax) in the union budget which will result in higher outgo of cash. Hope the government will take a serious look at the concerns expressed by the industry since the absence of incentives for small and medium IT businesses will affect Indian corporates adversely. ravi guptA Ravi.Gupta@egovonline.net

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opinion

financial inclusion

Kiran S R Consultant, finacle infosys technologies ltd

Financial inclusion to bank the unbanked Financial inclusion is not only a social compulsion of governments, but an emerging priority for banks that have nowhere else to go to achieve business growth

S

aturation of prime markets is forcing banks to look elsewhere for growth. Hence, in recent years, the world’s unbanked population has been at the receiving end of much attention from the financial community. Estimated at 2.5 billion adults located mainly in East Asia, South Asia and SubSaharan Africa, the financially excluded significantly outnumber those with banking access and represent a hard to ignore growth opportunity, at least in theory. As nations went down different paths to bring more of their unbanked within the financial net, the reputation of several financial inclusion (FI) programmes exceeded their outreach to spread to other parts of the world. M-PESA’s 10 million customers-strong mobile wallet service inspired many similar offerings outside of Kenya. Bangladesh’s Grameen Village Phone scheme heralded an era of micro-lending to sustain tiny rural businesses. And in South Africa, the partnership between Standard Bank and MTN pioneered the use of the mobile channel to spread outreach banking. However, these stellar initiatives have only met with limited success on account

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egov / www.egovonline.net / March 2011

of various reasons, some beyond the institutions’ control. Suffice to say that FI programs are yet to make serious inroads into the underserved market. Could a more versatile inclusion strategy produce better results? Does the industry need to change its mindset, from one of ‘fulfilling social responsibility’ to that of pursuing a viable business opportunity? Can the pursuit of financial inclusion turn out to be an innovative way of market expansion, customer diversity management and lifestyle enablement for the masses? I share my thoughts in this paper. Before taking a look at the vital components of an effective FI strategy, let us consider the hurdles it must overcome. Elusive business case: The viability of the FI business is under question, because while banks and their delivery partners continue to make investments, they haven’t seen commensurate returns. In markets like India, most programs are focused on customer on-boarding, an expensive process involving the issuance of smart cards. However, large–scale customer acquisition hasn’t translated into largescale business, with many accounts lying dormant and therefore yielding

As nations went down different paths to bring more of their unbanked within the financial net, the reputation of several financial inclusion (FI) programmes exceeded their outreach to spread to other parts of the world

no return on the banks’ investment. For the same reason, Business Correspondent Agents who constitute the primary channel for financial inclusion are unable to pursue this activity as a full-time job. Delayed on-boarding: The customer on-boarding process suffers from latency and could take as long as two weeks from the submission of documents by the applicant, by which time the initial enthusiasm may have waned. Limited offering: Delivery partners lack the knowledge and skill to propose anything other than the most basic financial products to customers, and hence do not serve their banks’ goal of expanding the offering in these markets. On their part, customers see little value in a mere cash-in, cash-out facility. Underleveraged distribution: Although the mobile phone has made its way into the hands of the poorest sections of society, banks have been unable to leverage its distribution to the fullest, with both telecom and financial firms existing on two different planes in the FI ecosystem. For an inclusion strategy to work, it must address the above challenges as far as possible by taking into consideration any or all of the following elements:


Building a world of opportunity

INFORMATION WITHIN REACH

A host of accessibility features integrated in Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 2010 bring Sound to the visually impaired with the Narrator and Text-to-speech (TTS) features that read aloud text written on screen Input through the on-screen keyboard using touch and pointing devices Optimised visibility through features like High Contrast, Magnifier and Personalised Display settings

According to the World Bank, there are about 80 million people with disabilities in India. For them to achieve their ambitions, an ecosystem that understands their special needs is required. Assistive technology can help level this gap and bring equal opportunities within reach. Microsoft focuses on integrating accessibility into product planning, research and development, product development and testing. Further, we work with global organisations like the Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) and its members to make products like Braille keyboards, screen readers and adaptive mice compatible with PCs, which run on the Windows platform. We also partner with firms like BarrierBreak Technologies to train the differently-abled in using everyday applications like Office and Windows. The result – An environment where the ‘enabled’ can pursue their passions and careers, like everybody else.

Synapse|www.informationmatters.in

ENABLING INDIA This is one of the many ways that technology can help enable India. For over 2 decades, software developers and engineers at Microsoft have worked in creating technology that is accessible to everyone - regardless of age or ability. To know more about Microsoft’s initiatives for accessibility, visit www.microsoft.com/india/accessibility


opinion

financial inclusion

Customer segments, needs and behaviour Contrary to perception, the inclusion segment is not a singular impoverished, undifferentiated mass, and it is important to navigate its diversity to identify the right target customers for various programs. Rural markets do have their share of moneyed constituents who do not use banking services simply because they are inconvenient to access or have low perceived value. At the same time, urban markets, despite a high branch density, have multitudes of low wage earners outside the financial net. The underserved market has two broad components – one, those below the poverty line, earning less than US$ 100 per month and two, mass market customers subsisting on a monthly salary between US$ 100 and 350. The former have virtually no access to banking, and even if they did, would not be able to afford even basic banking fees. Mass market customers have limited financial access, and possibly the funds to maintain a bank account, but are deterred by the charges. There are non-financial barriers as well. Branch timings rarely coincide with the off-work hours of the labour class. If their branch is located at a distance, apart from the logistical hassle, they run a security risk in carrying cash to and from the bank. Perhaps most important of all, these people believe in a culture of cash, and are wary of placing their money in a bank. And they see little attraction in cash deposit and withdrawal, which is the basic premise of most inclusion programs. Given that current banking models are set up to serve the high-value, low volume transactions of the middle and higher classes, both inclusion groups are of little interest from a ‘normal banking’ perspective. Where is the common ground which is relevant to both banks and their target customers?

Products which are packaged and priced right A possible solution may be found in the consumer goods industry which changed product packaging and pricing to make erstwhile ‘luxuries’ universally

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egov / www.egovonline.net / March 2011

There are non-financial barriers as well. Branch timings rarely coincide with the off-work hours of the labour class

affordable in sachets. More recently, a telecom firm launched a campaign which talked of how many services they packed into a few cents. Creating affordability through these and other means is crucial to tapping the unbanked market. No doubt pricing is a tool, but banks also need to be innovative in rightsizing their proposition to convince customers that they can derive big value even from small amounts. One way of doing this is to show the target audience that a bank account is actually a lifestyle enabler, a convenient and safe means to send money to family, top-up airtime or make a variety of purchases. Once banks succeed in hooking customers with this value proposition, they must sustain their interest by providing convenience – this presupposes a simple and intuitive user application, ubiquitous access over mobile and other touch points, and a banking mechanism which is not only secure, but reassuring to the customer.

Business model alternatives Since these services have to be provided at zero or minimal charge to the customer, the banks need to lower their own cost of customer acquisition and maintenance. Paperwork-heavy brick and mortar branches cost plenty to run, and are obviously unviable in these areas. Which lowcost digital channels can take their place? It is clear from the above argument that financial inclusion calls for a very different business model from normal banking. At razor thin margins, such a model becomes viable only when it achieves massive scale. This demands three-pronged action: tapping unexplored segments to increase the

customer base; leveraging technology and alternate delivery channels to reduce cost of servicing and; offering a wider variety of transactions to increase their volume. Service delivery strategy is a crucial component of this agenda. As in the case of normal banking, many channel choices are open to inclusive banking, including microfinance institution (MFI) networks, mobile, agency and merchant banking. Some of these are innovative concepts - for example, that of MFI banking, which gets a member of a rural supply chain to fund its other parts. In India and Kenya which follow the agency banking model, a network of business correspondents drawn from the local community forms the backbone of most FI initiatives. Merchant banking is a variation of this strategy wherein retail companies with a large presence in outreach markets constitute and facilitate the banking supply chain, offering banking services at each of their outlets. Integrating the supply chain using the banking network could bring many benefits to financially excluded markets, not the least of which is plugging the leakage of funds passing through the hands of multiple intermediaries in a cash and carry system. Moving money through the banking system also ensures that recipients of business income or government payouts get their dues without delay. Another change to the business model could stem from the way banks view competition. Cross-industry players with an established supply chain in far flung areas need not be viewed as rivals but as potential collaboration partners. Although this thinking is yet to gather momentum, the


financial inclusion

likes of Kenya’s Equity Bank have shown the way by joining hands with M-PESA to offer a savings product, replete with bank account and other benefits, over Safaricom’s network.

Promotions which educate and incentivise Today, most of those lacking a bank account believe they can do without one. Therefore, the challenge facing banks is to convince and incentivise these people to adopt their services. This is easier said than done because banks must dismantle several cultural barriers within the target group before they can propagate the benefits of financial access to them. The answer to this lies in the point made earlier about positioning banking services as something that improves the lifestyle of users. It is equally important to educate the constituents of the supply channel including MFI agents, correspondents etc., to spread the good word at the grassroots level, on their banks’ behalf.

through self-help groups and assigning an officer to monitor debts. Another creative practice is to reduce risk by not lending own funds, but rather facilitating social lending ‘auction-style’ by enabling an interested individual lender from the community to quote a desired lending rate of interest against which borrowers can place bids.

Regulatory restrictions and allowances It is a huge challenge for banks to comply with KYC requirements to on-board customers who have no documents to speak of. Although these norms have been relaxed in several markets in the interest of inclusivity, banks need to be proactive and liaise with the authorities on instituting a supportive framework, for instance, ushering in digital documentation or routing all Government subsidies and payments through a formal banking network.

Risks and their mitigation

Technology ‘must-have’ capabilities

Since the FI business yields slim pickings, its survival depends upon eking optimum performance out of the portfolio. Banks resort to several judicious practices such as restricting the size of the loan, inculcating a repayment culture by giving out a fresh loan only when the old one is cleared, exerting peer pressure

Technology is the final element of financial inclusion strategy and an enabler of all the others. Of the various selection criteria of the technology, cost is perhaps the most important. This certainly does not mean buying the cheapest package, but rather choosing that solution which by scaling transactions to huge

opinion

volumes reduces per unit operating cost and renders the business case viable. The platform must be self-sustaining and capable of supporting the necessary functionality on its own; while it must co-exist with other applications, it must not necessitate integration with the core and other systems, nor call for additional infrastructure. Since the FI business works on low margins, an externally hosted cloud-based solution which curtails banks’ initial expenditure is more affordable. Financial inclusion is not only a social compulsion of governments, but an emerging priority for banks that have nowhere else to go to achieve business growth. Although many programs are held up as shining examples, the financial inclusion intentions of most have so far met with limited success. There are several reasons behind this, not the least of which is the fact that current inclusion models are cost intensive and earn precious little by way of returns. Maybe it is time that banks took a comprehensive view of inclusion strategy and all its elements from customers to products to technology, and arrived at an optimal mix to drive their agenda in the future. Implemented right, financial inclusion programs could no doubt offer banks an innovative means of market expansion, customer diversity management and mass-market lifestyle enablement.

THE PREMIER GLOBAL PLATFORM FOR E-DEVELOPMENT

2-3 AUGUST, 2011, New Delhi, India

Bridging the Knowledge Divide March 2011 / www.egovonline.net / egov

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news I-T Department Goes Hi -Tech for Watching Criminals To conduct focused investigations and take matters handled by criminal intelligence wing to their logical conclusion, Income Tax (I-T ) Department vetted blue print. I-T Department is under discussion to have central facility distributed architecture for phone

taping, latest forensic hardware and software for cyber snooping, all India data mining for money tracking, plugging into overseas server to obtain data to track money trails, tax evasion and fraud. Under the Blue Print, the directorate will house a centralised repository of data gathered from

telephone and Internet intercepts, banking and market transactions, cross border deals and ATMs. To analyse this data and suspicious activities, the department will also attain state-of-art forensic tools, including software to follow cash trains, track money laundering, conduct forensic audits, mine books and other texts, as well as plug into overseas servers and social networking sites. Scope and structure of proposed directorate is yet not finalised and is under discussion and expected to monitor real time information and gather intelligence from various sources to help develop cases for action leading to search and prosecution, maintain record of financial activities, as well as coordinate and share information with other intelligence agencies.

projects people policy events products state wide area network

Assam Gears up with IT for a Transparent and Efficient Governance For a horizontal connectivity under NEGAP, Assam’s Hon’ble chief minister Tarun Gogoi has launched Assam state wide Area Network (ASWAN) and Assam online portal (AOP). Major highlights of the launch is AOP designed for common delivery services for G2C, G2B, G2G and G2E, common window for various departments for information dissemination, centralized modular applications for departments, status tracking of citizen’s application, integration of e-mail with AOP; Secretariat Less Paper Office (SLPO) broadly for implementing less paper

office for efficient and time bound decision making, automated uploading of notifications, orders for public viewing Secretariat computerisation under AOP project deploys 2000 thin client, Gigabit network with adequate redundancy for failsafe connectivity, FOSS, integrated training facility of employees, a collabora-

tive portal, repository of government notifications, and document repository. The Project ‘State Wide Area Network for the State of Assam’ is implemented by the State designated SWAN Implementing Agency i.e., M/s. AMTRON Ltd., Guwahati. Under the ASWAN horizontal connectivity plan the Assam Secretariat is to be linked with other Directorates, Staff College, Senior Officers Colony and the MLA hostel, Residence of Hon’ble Chief Minister of Assam.

policy

IT Policy for Bihar Coming Up Bihar Information Technology minister Shahid Ali Khan recently announced that the state will soon have its own IT policy. Inaugurating the UGC sponsored “INFLIBNET: awareness workshop for colleges of Bihar”, jointly organised

by the Department of Computer Science, Patna Women’s College, in collaboration with A N College, the minister said, “We have already linked 1,000 schools through the Internet and going to connect more institutions, hospitals and offices.” 

He added that e-Governance is necessary for better development of a state. The government is also all set to implement the Centre’s National Mission in education in ICT for connecting educational institutions through broadband.

e-Governance department.  According to the state’s e-Governance Principal Secretary MN Vidashankar, citizens above 15 years of age have to furnish documentary evidence prescribed by the authority as proof of identity, home

address and date of birth under ‘know your resident information’.  “Biometric details such as photograph, fingerprints and iris (prints) will be taken during registration for preparing the UID number card,” Vidyashankar said.

Karnataka To Get UID In All Districts The Karnataka government has now extended the Unique Identification (UID) number project Aadhaar to the remaining 28 districts of the state following its successful implementation in Tumkur and Mysore districts.  “The cabinet has decided

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to implement Aadhaar in all districts to ensure every citizen residing across the state has a UID number, which will be helpful in establishing one’s identity for several benefits,” the state’s Higher Education Minister V.S. Acharya informed. 

egov / www.egovonline.net / March 2011

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), set up by the central government under the chairmanship of Nandan N. Nilekani, co-founder of Infosys Technologies, is the implementing agency in coordination with the state’s


news

Rural Edition of SWAGAT Initiated In Gujarat government has initiated rural edition of its highly acclaimed Swagat Online Grievance Redressal Program, called ‘Gram SWAGAT’ in villages from February 1, 2011.  Swagat Online programme going rural will help the rural people living

even in remotest corner of the state in getting their problems solved. State government has introduced the programme on the village level considering the success of its version on taluka level.  Now, every villager can go to e-Gram centre of his village and register his

complaint. Senior officials in districts have been asked to take proactive approach and make the base of Swagat Online programme even wider. Officials, now, will make a list of problems pertaining to villages and educate villagers on various issues.

EVENT

CONFLUENCE 2011:  Amity University hosts IT Summit 2011 From January 27-29th 2011 Amity University hosted an IT Summit focusing on Information Storage, Security & Compliance for Business Excellence. The main idea behind was to bring together the accomplished leaders and consultants of IT industry, the research scientists and the immature academicians and students at a common platform. egov magazine was a media partner to the event. The entire event was partitioned into three sessions which included four tracks based on the four core areas that this summit sheds light on. The tracks were Cloud computing and its Impact, Business

Intelligence, Analytics and Enterprise Performance Management, Information Security and Management and Web Security and Compliance. Apart from these topics, there were sectoral case studies. The sectoral case study involved some industries such as Telecom, Banking, Aviation, Government, Healthcare, Tourism, Education, Research, Automobiles and Media. The event was inaugurated by Amity School of Engineering and Technology (ASET) Director-General Dr. Balvinder Shukla shedding light on IT and the importance on the protection and security of information. This was followed by a keynote speech

by President of EMC (India and SAARC) Manoj Chugh on the significant changes in IT industry, the importance of ever expanding IT industry and factors that trigger it, and on the “F-generation- the Facebook generation” of IT. Guest of Honor Dr. M. Moni emphasised on the development of technology and algorithms for the growth of “F-generation” and on information as the basic building block of IT industry.   Dr. B.B. Bhattacharya Vice Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University touched upon the importance of IT in day-to-day life. He also stated the significance of software industry in India.

UIDAI UPDATE

Nandan Nilekani Releases TAGUP Report

Nandan Nilekani, Chairman, UIDAI and Technology Advisory Group for Unique Projects (TAGUP) handed over the TAGUP Report to the Union Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee on 4th Feburary, 2011. According to Mukherjee, this report has been submitted at a right time and would help in various IT projects like Tax Information Network (TIN), New Pension Scheme (NPS), National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA), Expenditure Information Network (EIN), Goods and Service Tax (GST). He said that an effective tax administration and financial governance system calls for creation of IT projects which are reliable, secure and efficient.  

Some key recommendations of TAGUP Report are: The Group recommends that for complex IT intensive projects (especially for those referred to in the Terms of Reference and generally to IT mission critical projects in government) National Information Utilities (NIUs) working in the spirit of partnership with government be put in place to handle all aspects of IT systems. While strategic control is retained by government at all times, NIUs should be set-up as private companies with a public purpose.  They should be financially independent and empowered to take quick and efficient business decisions.

Orissa May Get Smart Multi Purpose RSBY Card Soon Under Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) smart cards are distributed to over twenty million BPL citizens in Orissa for offering better health care. Now these cards are to become multi-purpose to be utilized in Orissa to buy subsidies food grain like

wheat and rice. Orissa Government has got approval of Union labour ministry, the nodal ministry for RSBY to use its cards initially as an identification card number under its public distribution system. It has also sought World Bank assistance to

upgrade RSBY cards for supplying food grains under PDS. In 32 KB storage chip RSYB card only 17KB is being used for medical insurance. Therefore there is a space to accommodate other services as well in the same chip also space can

be raised. The planning commission had set up a task force on smart cards and their multiple used in the 11th Five year plan but the panel over looked the possibilities for other uses. It instead talked of creating a new

smart card altogether but recently, the Rangarajan Committee suggested the use of smart card for the delivery of Food once the food security Bill comes into effect. The committee had pitched it as a means to plug PDS leakage.

March 2011 / www.egovonline.net / egov

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news

world

First census to allow participation via the Internet For the first time, residents will be able to participate electronically in the Lithuanian general population and housing census, which takes place during March-May 2011. The e-Census will last

two weeks, from 1 to 14 March. Participation via the Internet is secure and convenient. It is easier to fill out the questionnaire because some information on housing and population will be

provided by administrative sources, such as the population, real estate and address registers, and the State Social Insurance Fund Board of databases. e-Census participants can supplement or adjust

relevant data during the period of the e-Census. The census system enables participation to be made using the www.esurasymas. lt website (which is accessible only during 1-14 March). Personal

collobaration

e-services

The Indian government wants to construct an information technology centre for Bahamians. This was confirmed by India’s High Commissioner to The Bahamas and Jamaica, Mohinder S. Grover. He was in Nassau for the signing of a Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) between The Bahamas and India. Grover was accompanied by State Bank of India CEO Vikas Chandra and Manager, Vijay Panda. Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Zhivargo Laing, who signed on behalf of the Bahamas, lauded India’s contribution to

Romania’s Minister for Communications and Information Society, Valerian Vreme, signed a contract for the financing from structural funds of the ‘Development of electronic services for citizens and businesses in the county of Tulcea’ project recently. The project aims to develop and increase the efficiency of public services for citizens and businesses in Tulcea. For this purpose, an integrated information management system and internal flows of resources were implemented to meet citizens’ and business

Indian IT centre for Bahamas

the Bahamian society. Grover said the project will begin when a formal agreement is in place. A memorandum of understanding is being worked on. The centre will utilise Indian hardware

identification will take place through e-Government portals. The census must be completed for all housing residents, and aims to show demographic changes since the last census in 2001.

Tulcea County To Get e-Services

and software, “To train hundreds of Bahamian students so that they can get skills in information technology and contribute to the development of their country,” Grover said.

requirements. The aim of the project is to provide citizens with fast and efficient access to electronic services of online local government, by using the facilities offered by the portal or call centre; promote the use of the Internet and call centre technology in local government institutions; Increase the transparency of the use and management of public funds; minimise direct contact between officials and citizens at the counter or the operator along with redefining the relationship between citizens and local government through IT.

digital learning

Info system for civil service employment under creation in Azerbaijan Creation of an information system on employment for civil service is to be created in Azerbaijan until 2012. The Civil Service Commission under the President of Azerbaijan has reported that the project is implemented within the State ICT Development Programme of Azerbaijan for 2010-12.

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The aim of the project is to simplify the process of receiving documents of citizens for participation in competitions and interviews, provide interactivity in period test examinations and manage reserve personnel and their appointment to certain positions. The program also envisages measures

egov / www.egovonline.net / March 2011

aimed at developing the register of public servants. At present, a plan of action was prepared and submitted to the Azerbai-

jani Ministry of Finance for budgetary allocations for implementation of the above-listed projects. Establishment of teaching and educational center “e-Government” is expected as well with the purpose to organise

courses to improve the skills of civil servants in the ICT field and professional training of information security specialists. The Coordinating Council founded in August 2010 in the Ministry of Communications & Information Technologies supervises realisation of these projects.


project update grid name

CARINGS through Web By Pragya Gupta, eGov Bureau

K

arishma, a girl born on dirty roadside saved by a women vendor Fredrick from pouncing dogs and took the baby under her care. Later, her mother died, asking Fredrick to care for baby. But legally caring for a baby is not easy in our country and involves trouble. When police came to remove mother’s body, officers took Karishma to a foster home. Though Fredrick did not want to give up caring but being single, she was apprehensive as she might not get custody. So, she convinced her brother and sister-in-law to adopt Karishma. But, she complains, the orphanage authorities on being uncooperative. It was just one case came into highlight but in our country every day many women give birth to infants and died leaving child alone. There are many parents who look out for child adoption but due to complex legal process and lack of information available, children remain orphan. Child Adoption has always been a complex procedure in India therefore to resolve those complexities associated with child adoption, Central Adoption of Resource Authority (CARA), Ministry of Women and child Development Government of India is now utilizing web interface to make the process speedy and transparent. CARA, an autonomous body under the Ministry of Women and Child Development is mandated to facilitate the adoption of Indian children, maintain database of adoptable children, create awareness on adoption, monitor and regulate in country and inter country adoption. Web interface has brought transparency to many of government-citizen interface

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eSERVICE NAME: CARINGS- an e-Governance Initiative on Adoption INITIATIVE OF: CARA (Central Adoption Resource Authority), Ministry of Women & Child Development Government of India KEY PROBLEMS AND CHALLENGES: Complex procedure, low rate of adoption, unclear guideline, monitoring adoption, children, increasing accountability, maintaining national database to enable effective policy making and research

related works. It made work speedy and brought transparency to it and received really good response at least from the urban areas where the world is on web. Taking step towards this side Krishna Tirath, Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ministry of Women and Child Development launched Child Adoption Resource Information and Guidance System (CARINGS). CARINGS is a web based management information system, Government’s dynamic e-Governance response for a benign, benevolent, transparent and friendly adoption process. CARINGS offers a more child centric approach based on the principles of care, convenience and comfort for the child, parents and agencies. Presently adoptions in India are not commensurate with the number of children in need of care and protection. As per information available the adoptions have shown an upward trend in 2010 with the figures raising to 6286 in comparison to 2518 in 2009. CARINGS is an online platform, building bridges and creating links, through a robust web-based management system. Developed by Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) with the support of NIC, CARINGS facilitates expeditious and smooth adoption, ensures transparency in the adoption process, increases accon, Child Welfare Committee says on

CARINGS initiative, “There were problem of transparency. There are thousands of parents want to adopt children but lack of information and formalities created problems for them. Though the web interface will not simplify legal formalities as they are there to ensure child protection care and avoid trafficking. But the web interface will simplify and streamline the process of adoption.” He further added, “So far things were only in registers with adoption agencies but now it will be centrally registered in a database. It will help in vanishing malpractices by some adoption like illegal money, variety of excuses, favour to those paying more.” Accountability of implementing agencies, creates a network of stakeholders towards improved synergy and maintains a National Database to enable effective policy making and research. It will also be helpful in child protection and child care. Thru Web tracking system child trafficking can be controlled and lost and found can be tracked. CARINGS will provide comprehensive online information on adoptable children and prospective adoptive parents and is a repository of information on adoption agencies. The system will also enable the Government to monitor the adoption and post adoption process, thereby ensuring transparency and early rehabilitation of the child.


in person

The Rural Housing Division has recently launched IAY Management Information System (IAY-MIS) software ‘AWAASSoft’

Photo Jaydeep Saha

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in person

Agatha Sangma

Union Minister of State for Rural Development, Government of India

“Use of ICT

and biometrics will

bring transparency in MGNREGA”

W

hat steps are being taken to strengthen Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Gurantee Act (MGNERGA) through ICT?

Successful implementation of MGNREGA critically depends on the establishment and operationalisation of a proper computer based Management Information System through an ICT network interconnecting all the gram panchayat (GPs), blocks, districts, states and the Union Ministry. The Ministry of Rural Development has taken numerous steps for MGNREGA. Bharat Nirman Rajeev Gandhi Sewa Kendra (BNRGSK) is notified under permissible works, for providing infrastructure for citizen centering of MGNREGA processes to strengthen the ICT at GP level Ministry has permitted States to make onetime expenses over and above 6 percent on augmentation of computational facilities and to strengthen the level staffing a GRS and Technical Unit of 2-4 core professionals in management, engineering, accounts and ICT will be deployed at each GP. Towards this end, MGNREGA has in recent years been most proactive in promoting ICT innovations including biometrics and low cost hand-held devices.

Agatha Sangma, Hon’ble Union Minister of States for Rural Development, is the youngest minister in the council of ministers of 15th Lok Sabha. A lawyer, an environmentalist, an amateur photographer, Agatha Sangma in an interview with Prachi Shirur of eGov, she talks about the role of ICT in enhancing MGNREGA and what to look forward as far as new technologies are concerned in the role they play in rural development.

What are the implementing challenges and how are these being overcome by the Ministry? Some implementation challenges include widespread existence of ghost workers, discrimination in awarding work, delays in the preparations of muster rolls, delays in measurement resulting in delayed payments. The Ministry has initiated use of biometric and ICT to check corruption and delays under MGNERGA which will bring in transparency in implementation March 2011 / www.egovonline.net / egov

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IN PERSON

An online monitoring mechanism has been put in place which is web enabled. All District Rural Development Agencies (DRDAs) are expected to give their monthly progress reports in a specified format directly into the website. Ministry has also introduced monitoring format for convergence of Indira Aawas Yojana (IAY) with other centrally sponsored schemes. All the financial sanctions issued by this division are also put on the Ministry’s website. The relevant information containing the implementation and progress is also available for public on Ministry’s website: www.rural.nic.in with a view to generate awareness among the masses.

stakeholders and empowering people. The MIS will be accessible not only to all the stake holders including beneficiaries but also citizens at large. Training programmes to update the above mentioned software have also been chalked out to train the officials at district and block/gram panchayat level who are required to operate the software.

What are some of the challenges of implementing ICT in National Social Assistance Programme? (NSAP)? For National Social Assistance Programme, challenges are weak infrastruc-

“For National Social

Assistance Programme, challenges are Weak infrastructure

at field level restricts

speedy application of ICT activities” The objective of the proposed system is to capture and use biometric information through appropriate ICT devices for identification of the workers at the work sites and to improve the overall delivery system in the implementation of the scheme by capturing all the processes right from registration, demand of work, issue of dated receipt, allocation of work, attendance at worksite with GPS Coordinates (Latitude and longitude), measurement of work and wage payments. The biometric data will be UIDAI and core banking compliant which may be used by UIDAI to issue A ‘ dhaar’ number or by financial institutions for the wage payment in a more transparent manner.

How can use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) accelerate the rural development and bring in transparency in implementing the various development schemes for rural India?

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getting personal Date of Birth 24th July, 1980 Education LLB degree from Pune University Masters in environmental Management from Nottingham University Recognition Agatha K Sangma is a Member of Parliament of India (MP), and part of the 15th Lok Sabha. She represents the Tura constituency of Meghalaya state, and won the Indian parliamentary elections as a candidate of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). Presently she is youngest Minister of State in the current Cabinet

Release of funds is also monitored by the Controller General of Account (CGA) through its website. All the sanctions for release of funds under IAY are put on CGA’s website before sending the hard copy of the sanction orders to the Pay & Accounts Office. Funds to the District Rural Development Agencies (DRDAS) are released electronically by click of mouse. Beneficiaries for IAY are selected by the Gram Sabha out of the permanent IAY waitlists approved by it. The Rural Housing Division has recently launched IAY Management Information System (IAY-MIS) software A ‘ WAASSoft’. AWAASSoft is a local language enabled workflow based transaction level Management Information System to facilitate e-Governance in the system. AWAASSoft starts with setting of targets by Ministry of Rural Development for a financial year and provides for tracking release of funds to each beneficiary along with status of house construction. The objectives of AWAASSoft are work flow automation, transparency in the system, information exchange among

ture and lack of human resources at field level restricts the speedy application of ICT activities of NSAP-MIS. National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP), at present, comprises Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS), Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme (IGNWPS), Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme (IGNDPS), National Family Benefit Scheme (NFBS) and Annapurna Scheme. In order to increase the transparency, accountability and monitoring of implementation of NSAP schemes, it had been decided to computerise the data base of the beneficiaries under various schemes of NSAP. NIC has developed the complete software for the purpose. The information can be accessed on http://nsap.nic. in. The software captures all the essential processes and includes modules on identification, disbursement of pension, release of funds, verification, sanction of pension, ground for refusal etc. Presently work is underway to integrate the State Pension Scheme to the NSAP-MIS to make it more effective.


cover story

Revolution 2.0 Online social media became the driver of a revolution in Egypt that stunned the conservative Arab world

By Dhirendra Pratap Singh, eGov Bureau

A

few days after the fall of Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, a Jordanian newspaper printed a joke apparently doing the rounds in Egypt: “Why do the Tunisian youth ‘demonstrate’ in the streets, don’t they have Facebook?” Only six days later, protests across Egypt co-ordinated by a loose coalition of opposition groups - many of which were organised through Facebook - proved this cynicism wrong. Hosni Mubarak has stepped down as President of Egypt, after weeks of protests by anti-government demonstrators in Cairo and other cities. If unemployment and poverty were the causes of the mass uprising in the North African states of Tunisia and Egypt, it was Twitter and Facebook - the two pillars of online social media - that became the drivers of a revolution that shook the conservative Arab world. Social media has played a crucial role in the unrest in Egypt with many of the protests organised through Facebook. The Egyptian government reacted quickly by blocking social media sites

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but this act of censorship was spectacularly unsuccessful. Egypt, a low Internet-penetration country, saw only 1.22 lakh tweets uploaded between January 16 and January 23 this year. From January 24 (the uprising began on January 25), the number of tweets went up nearly 11 times more to 1.35 million. Given that only 14,642 Twitter users identified their location as Egypt, it was a figure that had the power to change the course of a failed regime.  Every mass movement needs spaces where political alternatives can be debated and organi-


cover story

sation can take place. In the 1940s, the last time that Egypt saw mass protests on a similar scale, radical bookshops, underground newspapers and illegal trade union meetings played this role. For the current generation, some of these spaces have been Facebook and Twitter. Google’s Middle East and North Africa Marketing Head Wael Ghonim was held in captivity by Egyptian police for 11 days before he emerged free. After release he told the world: “We will not abandon our demand and that is the departure of the regime.” He soon became the face of the uprising. Meanwhile, Google helped the Internet deprived Egyptians by starting a telephoneto-twitter service. This new service helped Egyptians transmit Twitter messages by using a phone. This was made possible after Google’s acquisition of a company called SayNow which enabled conversion of telephone messages to a real time tweets. This helped Egyptians to turn into citizen journalists and gave them the kind of access to the world that even the Iranians during their 2009 uprising could not have experience. In fact, the mass revolt itself began because of a video posted by Asma Mahfouz, an ordinary citizen who urged her countrymen to rise up against the state’s police following the self-immolation of four Egyptians to “protest humiliation and hunger, poverty and degradation they had to live with for 30 years.” In the video that became a YouTube and Facebook sensation within hours of posting, Mahfouz told Egyptians, “I am making this video to give you one simple message. We

The Facebook group set up to protest at Khaled Said’s death

Technology Shaping the New Arab World

l Google offered a new service to help Egyptians transmit Twitter messages by using a phone. The offering rests in part on engineering talent Google acquired when it bought a company called SayNow. When a message left on the service, called Speak To Tweet, it instantly tweeted the message using the #egypt hashtag. l Anyone could tweet by simply leaving a voicemail

on one of these international phone numbers (+16504194196 or +390662207294 or +97316199855) and the service would instantly tweet the message using the hashtag #egypt. No Internet connection required for this service. People could listen to the messages by dialing the same phone numbers or going to twitter. com/speak2tweet. l ‘We are all Khaled Said’

want to go down to Tahrir Square on January 25, we will go down and demand our rights, our fundamental human rights, the entire government is corrupt - a corrupt President and a corrupt security force if you think Google’s Wael Ghonim (left) was held captive for 11 days.” Online networks are only relatively “safer” from repression: Khaled Said, a 28-year-old Egyptian from the coastal city of Alexandria, Egypt, was dragged out of an Internet cafe and beaten to death by policemen last summer. The Egyptian security forces set up a special unit to monitor activists. However, in Egypt of today, there are vast numbers of people online, that made it far more difficult for the state to track them. Even in poor urban and rural areas people

website became a rallying point for a campaign against police brutality. For many Egyptians, it revealed details of the extent of torture in their country. l LibyanYouth Movement are a group of Libyan Youth both in and out of Libya. They can be followed on Twitter @ ShababLibya. Libyan Youth Movement is also present on Facebook.

accessed the Internet through shared connections. The Facebook group set up to protest at Khaled Said’s death is ‘liked’ by nearly 6,00,000 people and was a key organising centre for the current protests.

Tunisia Turmoil As mentioned, the catalyst in Egypt’s revolution was fellow Arabs in Tunisia successfully overthrowing their autocratic ruler, Zine alAbidine Ben Ali, with a popular uprising on 14 January. Internet users in Tunisia and neighbouring countries hailed the sudden departure of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali following widespread street protests. Tunisians used Facebook and YouTube to keep each other abreast of developments. The popular Facebook page ‘’We Are All Khalid Said’’ (named after the Egyptian allegedly beaten to death by police) created an online, Tunisia-related event, which was attended by 7,000 people by early. Until recently, Tunisia a popular tourist destination - had been seen as a haven of stability and relative prosperity, albeit one ruled with an iron first. In Tunisia, too, the revolution was sparked by the self immolation of a vegetable vendor named Mohammed Bouazizi whose cart was confiscated by a corrupt police force. When the message was put on Facebook, it took less than a month for the country to rise as one and for the Tunisian leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to flee the country and seek asylum in Saudi Arabia. Says Rafat Ali, founder of paidcontent.org, “Facebook helps organise people, such as detailMarch 2011 / www.egovonline.net / egov

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cover story

ing how and where to gather physically, while Twitter is for ‘amplification,’ enabling people in real time to share news and comment.” In Egypt, mobile phone use has grown exponentially in the past few years, reaching around 80 percent of the population according to recent figures. Social media also became a substitute for traditional media, much of which in Egypt is state-controlled. Even though Ghonim operated the Facebook page anonymously as an administrator, Egyptian authorities seemed to have tracked his role. A few days after the protests began, Ghonim was detained, blindfolded, for 10 days. Authorities interrogated him about how the protests had been organised, with the focus on foreign involvement. After release, Ghonim posted on Twitter: “Freedom is a bless that deserves fighting for it.” Another Facebook page appeared, with hundreds of thousands of people backing him as the spokesman for the revolt. “This is an Internet revolution,” he says. “I’ll call it Revolution 2.0.” His employer also played a role. After the Internet was cut off, Google created Speak2Tweet, allowing Egyptians to leave voice messages that were posted to Twitter. The events in Egypt reflect different roles for different kinds of social media. Pro-democracy leader Mohamed ElBaradei said on his Twitter page: “My dream has come true. Egypt has been going down the drain for the last few weeks and we need to get it back to where it

Wael Ghonim’s Twitter Page

should be… We need a democratic country based on social justice.”

Libya Revolt In Libya, an Iranian Twitter activist called Arasmus has created a map of the few unconfirmed Internet reports that were coming out of Libya. Violent protests surged throughout the North African country of Libya, as protesters clashed with security forces in an attempt to end Moammar Gadhafi’s 42-year rule. Media sources have tallied more than one thousand protester deaths from regime security forces so far. Like similar uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt — which are said to have inspired the people

Who is Ghonim? Wael Ghonim is an Internet activist and the Head of Marketing of Google Middle East. Ghonim had been running a Facebook fanpage about Mohamed ElBaradei, which was being used to promote democracy in Egypt. This young Google marketing executive turned hero of Egypt’s anti-Mubarak street movement. was held in captivity by Egyptian police for 11 days before he emerged free and told the world: “We will

24

not abandon our demand and that is the departure of the regime.” He quickly became the face of the uprising. More than 150,000 people have joined a Facebook page titled “I delegate Wael Ghonim to speak in the name of Egypt’s revolutionaries” after his interview on one of Egypt’s

egov / www.egovonline.net / March 2011

most watched talk shows, on the Dream 2 television channel. At Twitter he can be followed @ Ghonim.

of Libya — the Internet and social media have played their roles in the unrest. Websites like Facebook, Twitter and news provider Al Jazeera have been intermittently blocked, and on February 18 internet access in the country was blocked entirely. Six hours later, the web was mostly back. Protesters in the country are now taking full advantage of their restored connectivity by posting reports and accounts on Twitter. Arasmus takes the most pertinent, and trustworthy, reports and places them on a Google Map on the country. Actually, none of the reports and accounts can be verified because Libya has a stringent lockdown on independent reporters in the country. As a result, observers have to rely even more closely on firsthand reports and social media accounts than any of the other recent Middle East revolutions. Revolutions have always been social and involved media. In the American Revolution, Thomas Paine’s pamphlet “Common Sense,” published in 1776, galvanised the colonists and became the most-read publication after the Bible. John Adams later said: “Without the pen of the author of ‘Common Sense,’ the sword of Washington would have been raised in vain.” Social media via the Web is unprecedented and unpredictable. The current Arab revolutions reveal that, for authoritarian leaders used to controlling media and events, time and technology are not on their side. Web revolutions cannot just be pushed aside in today’s world, they are deemed to bring in the desired change in the social order.


ORGANISERS

knowledge for change

ov


news

Delivering e-Services in Rural Areas

This year’s National Conference on e-Governance was based on the theme ‘Rural e-Service Delivery: Status and Challenges’ By eGov Bureau

T

he 14th National Conference on e-Governance was organised on 10th11th February, 2011, in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, under the joint auspices of the Department of Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances, Government of India, Department of Information Technology, Government of India and Directorate of Information Technology, Government of Maharashtra. eGov magazine was the official media partner of the conference.

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Governor of Maharahstra, K Sankaranarayanan, inaugurated the two-day annual event. Other dignitaries present during the inaugural session include: Chief Minister of Maharashtra Prithviraj Chavan; Minister of State in PMO and Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions V Narayanasamy; Maharashtra Minister of State Prof Fauzia T Khan; Secretary DARPG, Government of India, R C Misra and the IT Secretary of Maharashtra, Dr Nitin Kareer. Senior officers of the Central Government, as well as the State Government; District Magistrates, policy

makers, representatives from the academia, technical experts, NGOs and representatives from the private sector participated in the event. This year’s conference – the 14th National Conference on e-Governance was based on the theme “Rural e-Service Delivery: Status and Challenges,” which aimed at understanding the introduction and penetration of e-Governance in rural India and providing significant ICT solutions to improve the delivery and accessibility of e-Services. The Conference also acted as a reality check to ascertain the outcome of the services rendered in order to achieve the intended objectives of transparent, effective, responsive and accountable system of governance. The eminent panelists also discussed on the sub-themes: Enabling Business Environment for Small and Medium Entrepreneurs; e-Governance in promoting Rural Entrepreneurship;   Enabling e-Panchayats; and ICT in Agriculture (Focus Sector). In the inaugural session, National Awards for e-Governance 2010-11 - in seven categories were given away to the winners. The awards in Gold, Silver and Bronze were given to different organisations to recognise and promote excellence in implementation of e-Governance initiatives. These initiatives pertained to Government to Government (G2G), Government to Citizen (G2C) or Government to Business (G2B). An exhibition showcasing the capacities, products and e-Governance initiatives of the Government and private sector was also inaugurated by the Governor of Maharashtra. His Excellency K Sankaranarayanan, Governor, Maharashtra and Prithviraj Chavan gave away the awards for the year felicitating the best use of ICTs in the field of Governance. Below is the category-wise listing of winners: 

Category 1: Excellence in Government Process Re-engineering Gold: Processing of Income Tax Returns at Centralised Processing Centre, Bangalore Directorate of Income Tax (Systems), Income Tax Department, Government of India. Silver: e-Stamping for MCA Services, Ministry of Corporate Affairs,  Government of India. Bronze: Aasthi (GIS-based Property Tax Information System), Directorate of Municipal Administration, Urban Development Department, Government of Karnataka.


news

Category 2: Exemplary Re-use of ICT-based Solutions Gold: Panch Tantra – Gram Panchayatha Online System, Rural Development and Panchayatha Raj Department, Government of Karnataka and NIC Silver: Geoinformatics in Implementationof Forest Rights Act, 2006 in Maharashtra, Tribal Research and Training Institute, Tribal Development Department, Government of Maharashtra. Bronze: e-grantz, Centre for Development of Imaging Technology (C-DIT), Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribes Development Department,  Government of Kerala. Category3: Outstanding Performance in Citizen-centric Service Delivery Gold: SWAGAT–State-wide Attention on Grievances by Application of Technology, Chief Minister’s Office, Gujarat. Silver: Aarogyam, District Health Society, Bagpat & J.P. Nagar, Government of Uttar Pradesh. Bronze: Tele Samadhan– Call Centre for Citizen Facilitation and Grievances Redressal, Madhya Pradesh State Electronic Development Corporation, Department of  T, Government of Madhya Pradesh.

Category 4: Innovative Use of Technology in e-Governance Gold: BTRAC 2010, Bangalore Traffic Police, Government of Karnataka. Silver: Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP), Gujarat State Watershed Management Agency, Department of Rural Development, Government of Gujarat. Bronze: e-Disaster Management Cell, Collector Office, Gadchiroli, Government of Maharashtra. Bronze: e-Governance, Computer Depart-

ment, Rajkot Municipal Corporation, Government of Gujarat.

Category 5: Innovative Use of ICT by PSUs for Customer’s Benefits Gold: Financial Inclusion, Punjab National Bank, New Delhi. Silver: Enhanced National Train Enquiry System (ENTES), Centre for Railway Information Systems, Indian Railways, Government of India. Bronze: Electronic Fund Transferring System, Rajiv Gandhi Rural Housing Corporation Limited, Housing Department, Government of Karnataka.

Category 6: Best Government Portal Gold: Indian Customs EDI Gateway Project  (ICEGATE), Directorate General of Systems & Data Management, Central Board of Excise and Customs, Government of India. Silver: Portal Project of Geological Survey of India, Geological Survey of India, Government of India.

Bronze: National Data Warehouse of Official Statistics, Computer Centre,  Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Government of India.

Category 7: Specific Sectoral Award- Focus Sector–Agriculture Gold: AGRISNET – Agriculture Information Service Network,Agriculture Department, Government of Tamil Nadu. Silver: e-Krishi, Kerala State IT Mission, Department of IT, Government of Kerala. Bronze: e-Auction,Tea Board of India, Government of India. Over the years, the National Conferences on e-Governance aims to raise awareness of the opportunities offered by ICT for economic and social development. The Conference provides a national forum for leaders and representatives of government, civil society, industry and academicians to exchange ideas, experiences and best practices in implementation of e-Governance projects.

Your daily cup of hot tea with hot e-Governance news! Log on to www.egovonl in e.net March 2011 / www.egovonline.net / egov

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special focus

municipal e-governance

Urban Governance:

Can help? Municipal e-Governance through advanced, interactive and user-friendly technologies is the way forward. The agenda is to minimise personal visits to a government office and ensure speedy delivery of G2C services By Sonam Gulati, eGov Bureau

M

eena works as a cook in a North Delhi posh residence. Her native place is a small village in Jharkhand. She is not educated enough to read or write properly, yet when she wants to visit her village all she has to do is organise some clicks on the internet. That is the power e-Ticketing of Indian Railways gave us. No more long queues, no more tiring trips to the stations and then realising the ticket you are getting is waitlisted, no more inaccessible phone conversations to get to know the status of your waitlisted seat in the train. e-Ticketing was one of the pioneer e-Services projects of the country and till date the most successful. Mohit Bhatia on the other hand is a busy IT professional who doesn’t have time to file his income tax. Manually doing it is further a step backwards to filing it altogether. But again e-governance has changed that. Now, all you need is a well-functioning computer and internet and you can file your income tax online without going anywhere. You don’t even need to own the PC, you can go to a cyber café. Such is the power of technology that it can transform life. e-Services provided by various municipal corporations across the country have been changing the way we live. Basic tasks such as paying property tax, getting birth and death certificates, land records and even checking availability of beds in government hospitals has made the former mundane and tedious tasks to convenient and quick. The thrust now is to ensure minimal personal contact in the government offices, with the government officials and more on how to make available services and their delivery to the citizens on their PCs. It reduces corruption, increases transparency and also saves time and hassle to both the customer and the government. “Our basic vision was that people need not go to the government offices. They get the services on their PCs and the delivery happens at their doorsteps,” said Shankar Aggarwal, Additional Secretary, Department of Information Technology (DIT), Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Government of India. Municipal services are a major project under the NeGP to offer Government to Citizens (G2C)

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services to the urban population. The various services offered render a picture of a mature, tech-savvy India where technology is paving way for development.

Municipalities as a Mission Mode Project Mission mode projects (MMP) have been designed at the centre, state and integrated levels by the government under the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) in 2006. NeGP is a plan of Government of India to make available all government services to the citizens via electronic medium. It comprises 27 Mission Mode Projects (MMPs) and 8 components to give a boost to e-Governance initiatives in India. Mission Mode Projects are a key part of the NeGP. There are in all 10 Central MMPs, 10 State MMPs and 7 Integrated MMPs spanning multiple Ministries/ Departments. Municipalities are one such MMP under the state government and thus its status and progress differs from state to state. The general concept is to provide all municipal services such as land records, water bills, property tax, etc online so


municipal e-governance

that the citizens don’t have to go physically to the office. The uniqueness in the project is that it works on a Private-Public Partnership, which the private vendors provide technological infrastructure for the delivery of the services. The advantages of the model are that these provide the best available technologies combined with the reliability of a government interface.

Dilip Mahajan Deputy Municipal Commissioner, Ahmadabad Municipal Corporation (AMC)

“The primary objective of AMC’s e-Services’ project was to eliminate discretionary human interface in the decision making processes”

Been There, Done That A number of municipal corporations are alredy providing several G2C services online to citizens. Some such examples of municipalities doing good work in this arena are as follows: l Pune Municipal Corporation offers a range of electronic services to the citizens and has come a long way. “It’s been 8 years since our premiere services started, we give online birth/ death certificates, e-Tenders, properties’ database and there also a public grievances system wherein citizens can log in their complaints,” states Jayant Bhosekar, Head-IT Department, Pune Municipal Corporation. “Our online property tax facility is the most popular. It is in place for the last 7-8 years and has garnered tremendous popularity amongst the citizens,” Bhosekar said. l Ahmadabad Municipal Corporation was the first in country to cover the solution of municipal activity and services like birth and death registration, building plan, primary health and education, city cleanliness, water supply, sewage, road, street-lights, parks and garden through e-governance to the 55 lakh citizens of the city. “Every citizen has a right to know about

the functioning of Municipal Corporation as the functions are directly related to them. At present almost all the department activities are computerised,” said, Dilip Mahajan, Deputy Municipal Commissioner, Ahmadabad Municipal Corporation. On talking about the most successful services he said, “All the services are critical for the citizens, but from revenue point of view property tax system is a very successful and popular service. Our per day collection on an average is almost INR 1.25 crore. l Log on to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) website (www.mcdonline.gov.in) and a range of offerings spring up in front of you. Booking of parks and community halls, filing property tax online, online factory licensing, registration of birth/death certificates and many more services which we usually avoid due to the long process are now available online at a click. One can even file an RTI application on the MCD website. The main problem of going physically to the government offices and then rounds of visits to

New Delhi Municipal Corporation e-Services available online • Availability of all the forms pertaining to all departments of NDMC for download form NDMC web portal • Accounts and Finance • Property Tax • Birth & Death Registration • Online Status of Barat Ghar for Citizens • Electricity & water billing services such as duplicate Electricity & water bills printing, online applications for Connection & Disconnection and Payment via credit card & Cash Card etc. • Customer Care & Billing application Software

special focus

get the application ‘moved’ has been taken care of in certain cases and thus it’s a citizen-friendly and easy process which encourages transparency and participation.

Vendors’ Speak The unique aspect of the project, it being a public-private partnership, has made it a successful model of e-Governance wherein latest technologies from private vendors coupled with reliability of government infrastructure is presented to the citizens for use. “Municipality Mission Mode Project (MMMP) is designed quite well to address most of the usual concerns in implementation of e-gov project leading to mere electronic duplication or mere digitisation of records. It has full potential to transform the municipal functioning. It needs to be seen how well the different stakeholders, including IT industry and eGov champions from government departments, adopt the essence of the programme and deliver desired result,” states Prakash Rane, Managing Director, ABM Technologies. ABM is the designated software implementation partner for the state-wide rollout of KDMC’s eGovernance solution; MAINet. This IT project will help automate access to more than 100 citizen services in Maharashtra including payment of taxes, property related queries for telephone or internet connections, application for new water connection, and simple registration of any civic complaint. The solution will be deployed in all the local bodies by 2012. “Our experiences have taught us that the challenge of making an e-Governance initiative successful always starts once the software solution (IT project) goes live. Various parameters like change management, resistance management, refining the project’s functionality, data accuracy and organisational behaviuor play a crucial role in ensuring that the initiative subMarch 2011 / www.egovonline.net / egov

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municipal e-governance

Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation

e-Services available online

• Registration of Complaints • Payments of All Municipal Dues: Property Tax, Professional Tax, TDO fees etc • Issuance of Birth and Death Certificate, Licenses of Shops and Establishments, Health Licenses, Hawkers’ licenses • Property Tax Application • Right to Information Application Module • Issuance of Building Plan Permissions

stance over a period of time. Thus, guarantees the return on investment to the municipal bodies,” Prakash Rane concluded. The big private players are all very positive about the scope of e-Governance in India and hopeful that it will soon be at par with other nations. “We are seeing considerable momentum in IT adoption at the municipal, city and state levels. Factors such as increasing broadband penetration and implementation of UID, will also boost the adoption of IT in the government sector,” Shrikant Shitole, Vice President, Transformational Business, Cisco- India and SAARC.

Technology Trends Geographic Information System is the new technology to look out for since most of the government offices are now looking to incorporate GIS in their e-Governance projects. Pune Municipal Corporation is on the way to use GIS platform to integrate all services by next year. Another current hot trend is cloud computing wherein the of use of cloud computing for availing IT Infrastructure as a Service (IAAS) is expected to be the next big thing in the roll out of various e-Governance initiatives. Unique Identification (UID) and use of biometrics for identification of citizens is heating up as an option as it could solve all problems of carrying various identification documents. UID initiative, Aadhar has already been rolled out in several states and biometric identification for workers under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) scheme is the next step forward. These are the few of the many technologies that are gaining popularity and usage in the

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various e-Governance initiatives and are been looked at as game changers.

Speed Breakers In a demographically vibrant and varied country anything new is a challenge in itself. Incorporating new technologies to such a large area and ensuring it reaches maximum population is a task. The road to an IT-driven country is lit with various types of challenges that oftenb acts as speed breakers. e-Governance has come to be an important aspect of India’s development and a key to a less corrupt and more transparent society. As of now the municipal e-Services are more concentrated towards the urban population but the ultimate goal is to provide each and every citizen the access to be able to avail everyday services without going to a government office. Urban areas are currently the focus because

they still have a basic infrastructural setup and resources. Rural areas too have been somewhat touched through the Common Service Centres being built under the NeGP but still leave a lot to be desired. “Private vendors don’t want to foray into the rural areas yet as they don’t earn that much from those areas. The return of their investments is less and the earning is slow and very less as compared to the urban projects. For this purpose government has evolved a new transparent bidding process for the rural e-Governance projects. In this new approach the government will make up for the private sector’s losses for a period of initial 4 years of the poject on the basis of bidding. This is our new method to ensure installation of similar systems in rural areas too,” says Shankar Aggarwal of Department of IT, GoI. That is just one part of the story, private vendors have their own challenges to work with the public sector. “Some of the top challenges when it comes to implementation of IT services are bureaucracy, cost and lack of sufficient broadband penetration. Often, for IT to be effective, it requires certain process changes as well as extensive training of personnel, which may be time consuming and costly. This often acts as an inhibiting factor although the long-term benefits definitely justify the cost and time investments,” informs Shrikant Shitole of Cisco. “IT capacity of the municipalities, resources’ limitations and the monitoring mechanism of the projects roll out are the major challenges being faced in this domain,” according to Vibha Agrawal Senior Director, CA Technologies. Challenges included the journey is progressing in a commendable way with some very innovative e-Governance as well as m-Governance

Municipal Corporation of Delhi e-Services available online • Booking of parks and community halls • Filing property tax online • Online factory licensing • Registration of birth/death certificates • Online RTI • Press Releases • e-Tenders


special focus

municipal e-governance

projects being introduced in the country. A good example here could be the initiative of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation’s new mobile-based IT initiative Off-Site RealTime Monitoring (OSRT) system which enables managing of civic amenities in a transparent and efficient manner. It uses a combination of Global Positioning System and General Packet Radio Services technologies through cellphones. With the combined knowledge, effort and competence of public as well as private enterprises our nation is soaring to become an IT nation.

Social media & urban governance It is not news anymore how social networking sites like twitter and facebook are changing the way we do well almost everything. The latest being the Egyptian revolution wherein twitter updates revolutionized the whole struggle. Facebook has become a medium to not only discuss but put pressure publically on authorities to be accountable and it can be a great tool in urban governance wherein everyone is online 24*7. Social Media is a resource lying untapped and its potential is tremendous. It is the answer to our woes when it comes to making governance interactive. If just a simple page on Facebook can make Delhi Police so popular and efficient, it can do the same with other departments as well. It is the ‘in’ thing today and thus should be tapped as soon as possible. Its another technology lying to be utilised for better governance, reduction of human interface and more transparency. It is no coincidence that the planning commission (12th plan), Municipal Corporation of Delhi, The Commonwealth Express, National Population Register, National Highways Authority of

India, Tihar Jail, National Knowledge Commission, Jaipur Municipal Corporations are a few organisations which have made their presence felt on social media (Facebook). Leaders like Shashi Tharoor, Omar Abdullah, Sushma Swaraj are pro-active on Twitter. The awareness division of national e-Governance plan is hosts a YouTube channel. It is definitely a good sign that the government is realising the importance of social media and is trying to reach out to the citizens.

Future map New technologies such as Geographic Information System (GIS), Biometrics, UID or SOA are the next big things in e-Governance initiatives. Government is already starting on them and will soon be rolling out new projects. “The new age technologies will prove to be instrumental in delivering better eGovernance solution only if the decision makers make provision to

Pune Municipal Corporation e-Services available online • Online Water Meter Bill • License System • Zone Certificate • File Tracking System • Property Tax

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accommodate information security, data privacy, affordable technology and framework for capacity building. Another important aspect that needs to be considered by both the government and eGSPs is selecting the right new-age technology considering the diversity offered by Indian population in terms of literacy, computer-literacy, and regional languages; else the acceptance of the initiative will tread hay-way,” comments Prakash Rane of ABM Technologies. Another important aspect which needs proper lookout is a clear marketing and promotion of e-Services by municipalities as there is still a section of society in urban areas that doesn’t know about the range of e-services offered. “We have funds to use for marketing and creating awareness but it presents a key challenge in a vast nation like ours. Everyone doesn’t read papers, everyone doesn’t own a television. There have to be specialised marketing initiatives that engage people from all stratas of society,” Shankar Aggarwal of DIT. Municipal e-Governance through advanced, interactive and use-friendly technologies is the way forward for our country. The agenda which is to minimise personal visits to a government office and ensure speedy delivery of G2C services by means of interconnected networks and single-point delivery is the main focus for al e-Governance initiatives. As the first phase of Municipalities as a MMP comes to an end in 2012 there still is scope for improvisation and enhancement. The future looks to endorse the services in various other cities as well as rural areas and truly embark on the making of a well-connected, technology-driven and bettergoverned country..


cloud computing

opinion

G Joslin Vethakumar

Head - Bid Management (South-East Asia), BT

Now the Cloud Draws Governments Innovation has now hit the sky as public and private sector entities have begun to embrace cloud-based service models with fervour

S

o much has been written about the “cloud” that the expression, not the paradigm, has now almost become a cliché. This does not, however, mean that it is all-pervasive. While it has begun to make inroads into even verticals that are traditionally cautious (finance, for example), the concept remains nascent when it comes to acceptance by governments around the world. That is set to change now with the Barack Obama administration having recently mandated that all U.S. government agencies should default to secure, reliable and cost-effective cloud-based solutions, thereby moving away from the earlier practice of building their own technologies in-house. Two key factors may have resulted in the directive: l The successes realized by those governmental institutions that were quick to adopt the cloud l The fact that there are more than 2000 ederal data centres that are operating well below their peak capacity. Clearly, this is not efficient use of cash resources

The current cloud burst involves using the Web to deliver IT services on demand and at a scale needed

When secure, cost-effective, usagebased options are available, why spend big on infrastructure that will remain underutilised? No wonder then that the Federal Government also plans to reduce the number of its data centres by 40 per cent by 2015 and realize instant cost savings. This is the advantage of going virtual with data centres. An acceleration in cloud adoption by public sector entities in the U.S. can thus be anticipated. It is not just the U.S. that is going the cloud way, governments worldwide have already begun to see merit in it as well. Canada also announced recently that the government planned to create a private cloud for its IT infrastructure and for information sharing. Singapore, a Trailblazer: Within the Asia-Pacific region, the Singapore government is already a trailblazer, having been operating its own private cloud for the last few years to fuel its ICT infrastructure and services. Moreover, its Ministry of Education adopted an open standard cloud platform in September 2009, thus becoming the first government in Asia to equip all its teachers with Web 2.0 communication and collaboration tools. Also, the Youth Olympic Games

(YOG) held in August 2010 in Singapore showed how cloud computing could be leveraged for even major events. Instead of buying the tools needed, the YOG organisers used cloud services to realise cost savings of around 80 percent. Another Outsourcing Wave that India can Tap: Interestingly, India too is well poised to take advantage of the cloud in a big way with its sound IT ecosystem though it must vigorously pursue a highbandwidth environment. The cloud can fall within the ambit of Outsourcing 2.0 given the nature of the services offered. India has been the frontrunner in Outsourcing 1.0, with the low-cost phenomenon involving moving services across countries to be served by people – through Business Process Outsourcing, Offshoring, Call Centres, etc. The current cloud burst involves using the Web to deliver IT services on demand and at a scale needed. It is a service-based model, with the Web as the delivery mechanism, taking businesses and governments into a virtualised world where all data reside within a network cloud, not on a server within their establishment or on a local computer. It gives them the option to have a third March 2011 / www.egovonline.net / egov

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opinion

cloud computing

party run their infrastructure. A recent Ernst & Young survey showed that more than 70 percent of India’s IT infrastructure companies will go big on the cloud in the next two or three years. The Indian government can also be expected to draw on the potential of the cloud. Recessionary Trends and Outsourced Service Offerings: But just what is cloud computing all about and what are its key benefits for pubic and private sector entities? It is an OpExbased business model that was born when organisations began to feel that they did not need expensive infrastructure, only the services they deliver. This makes economic sense now more than ever with recessionary trends having become increasingly cyclical and making even large organisations revisit their strategies as the benefits of renting, not owning, services/infrastructure outweigh the risks. The result is a wave of outsourced service offerings such as Communication as a Service (telephony, email), Infrastructure as a Service and Software as a Service. As the haze over this new-generation evolution has begun to clear, you can now get Anything as a Service ((AaaS). Benefits for Governments and Businesses: The game-changing cloud features location-independence and gives governments and businesses many benefits. They include reduced financial risk (as the cloud eliminates big upfront investments) and lower costs as the multi-tenanted approach (sharing of infrastructure) enables economies of scale. The pay-per-use model makes it even more appealing. They no longer need to have a big inventory of different types of servers and expensive equipment (as well as applications) to run their operations through their own dedicated IT infrastructure. Then there is a need to have a big number of specialist staff to maintain the infrastructure round the clock, adding to their costs. The cloud changes it all by equipping governments and businesses with greater efficiency by helping them scale quickly as their requirements evolve. Storage capacity can be increased as soon as a need for it arises. For instance, if they have a need for new server capac-

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Life-Saving Services Through

the Cloud There is hardly any infrastructural service that the cloud cannot deliver. Even life-saving services can be offered over the cloud. This will

The cloud changes it all by equipping governments and businesses with greater efficiency by helping them scale quickly as their requirements evolve. Storage capacity can be increased as soon as a need for it arises

make critical medical records easily and securely accessible across borders when there is no time to waste for a patient who needs immediate attention in a country not his own.

ity they do not have to spend big on a new system and wait weeks to beef up their infrastructure. By getting on the cloud, governments will also have the ability to speed up the rollout of e-services. With evolving technological changes, governments can reach out better to citizens and businesses. Citizens are already feeling empowered with disruptive technologies such as the social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc). They can be served better by governments that harness the cloud to deliver efficient services. Game-Changing Transformation: As can be seen, it is a lot more than the cost factor that is driving cloud adoption. It is in fact a game-changer with the cloud being a part of the transformation the communications industry is pitching itself on to cope with the explosion in content spawned by the video revolution that is gaining ubiquity. Interestingly, video is expected to account for more than 65% of all mobile data traffic by 2013. Cloud computing is thus viewed as necessary next step for transforming the way data centre resources are deployed, configured and managed so as to make the “Everything as as Service” delivery model effective, classic, scalable and sustainable”. Significantly, Cloud services help businesses conserve energy through environment-friendly use of data centres. Governments keen to go green in an effort to lower their carbon footprint will thus find it compelling. It is no surprise then that research firm Gartner projects revenue from cloud services to grow from $56 billion in 2009 to $150 billion in 2013. Gartner also says the cloud is one of the top three priorities of CIOs, the other two being

Service providers can help make this happen and governments can tap the potential to deliver enhanced health care for their people.

virtualisation and Web 2.0, all of which are interlinked. While APAC revenues from cloud are still small, IDC estimates the market will expand at a rate of about 40% a year until 2014. Security: A multi-layered security mechanism helps address concerns over data integrity and protection. Also, with a private cloud, organisations get the ability to deliver on-demand services without having to compromise on the security and stability offered by a traditional data centre. The virtual data centre yields real benefits. The strength of transport intelligence at the network, service and application layers coupled with a next-generation, virtual data centre and a private cloud framework should help allay any security fears. Service providers who help businesses with the cloud will manage their risks. Government environments are complex where processes hold sway, compounded by an IT infrastructure that gives them little room for upgrades without massive investments. The cloud will allow them to cash in on the latest in innovation and enhance productivity without having to fork out big bucks. Significantly, governments and businesses alike will not be left behind technology trends as service providers delivering cloud services will address all upgrade requirements. End-to-end service management is critical for increasing availability, managing complexity and contributing to efficient services and enhanced profitability. The cloud can enable that, delivering innovative services that are more than a pie in the sky and keeping both the corporate sector and governments future-ready.


egov knowledge Series

Government Virtualisation Summit, February 25, 2011, Jaipur

(From left to right) Dr Ravi Gupta, Chief Editor, eGov; Sharat Kaviraj, SP, Crime Branch (Investigation), Rajasthan; Sanjay Malhotra, Secretary to Government, Department, Government of Rajasthan; Ashok Sain, Chief Electoral Officer, and Ex-Officio Prl Secretary, Election Departmernt, Government of Rajasthan; Prashant Chaudhary, Manager, Technical Sales, CA Technologies

Cloud Computing Adoption in Government, February 18, 2011, New Delhi

(From left to right) Baljit Singh Bedi, Advisor, Health Informatics, CDAC; Dr R Siva Kumar, CEO NSDI & Head NRDMS Division, Department of Science & Technology, Government of India; Dr N Vijayaditya, Controller of Certifying Authority - Information Technology, MoC&IT, GOI; Neeta Verma, Sr Technical Director, NIC, MoC&IT, Government of India; Prof K R Srivathsan, Pro Vice Chancellor, Indira Gandhi National Open University; Maj Gen RC Padhi, MOGSGS, Indian Army; Bhupesh Chauhan, Business Director- Government/Public sector, EMC

Government Virtualisation Summit, December 15, 2010, Chandigarh

(From left to right) Ashwani Kumar Gaur; Dy. Director, Food & supplies Deptt., Govt. of Haryana; Col. D S Randhwa, DGM, Punjab Infotech; Ganesh Dutt, DGM, NICSI; Dr Rajneesh Arora, VC, Punjab Technical University; Prashant Chaudhary, Manager Technical Sales, CA Technologies

March 2011 / www.egovonline.net / egov

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technology

Xaas

Opportunities Abound!

XaaS is less pure technology and more about how companies can harness a powerful technology to cut cost and lift efficiency By Dhirendra Pratap Singh, eGov Bureau

C

loud computing is a general term for anything that involves delivering hosted services over the Internet. These services can be divided into Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). As these services are created and offered by the cloud service provider, you need not purchase additional infrastructure for use at your own premises (servers, application programmes, operating systems). Says Asheesh Raina, principal research analyst, Gartner, “Xaas i.e. any thing as a service is a delivery model. It is a way how the services or any software will be consumed in future. Some parts of that are already in the process like what here is software as a service. They are services that are consumed through different delivery models, which is through a internet in which data, storage, maintenance and everything is done by a third party. As a user I can use only as a consumer over an Internet and I will call that software as a service..”

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With IaaS, customers get on-demand computing and storage to host, scale, and manage applications and services through cloud vendors’ data centres. This allows customers to scale with ease and quickly meet the infrastructure needs of an entire organisation or an individual department, either globally or locally. EMC, HP, CRM, Google, Verizon are examples of IaaS providers. For the customer, say a government or a private enterprise, there is no need to buy and maintain servers, data centres, or to build backup and redundancy infrastructure.


Xaas

“Software as a Service is very promising field which really brings a lot of things” happening very well. Software as a Service is very premising field which really bring a lot of things. But the problem is people who are delivering software. They are not changing their model. I am quite hopeful that would happen. It has a lot of potential specially Software as a service. On the other hand, I feel that platform as a service and infrastructure as a service are very routine.

According to you, what is the advantage of Cloud Computing?

Nita Verma, Sr Technical Director, National Informatics Centre, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Government of India

How do you see the scope of XaaS i.e. anything as a service? As for as three aspects of cloud-Software as a Service, Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a Service are concerned-they are already been initiated. Especially if you look at Infrastructure as a Service, it is very much available; you want virtual machines with this configuration. It’s

XaaS has all the inherent advantages for virtualisation. It has a lot of promises for private and government. Whether in terms of time to deploy any application and you don’t have all the tender processes, technical process, scalability becomes much faster. As an organisation your agility goes very high. In terms of cost, it gives a lot of positives. Initially, with very small piece of infrastructure, you can increase it as the load increase. So, it is very useful.

Is security an issue in Xaas? Security is a big point. If we see informations in public domain then security is not as much important. If go towards citizens’ data, today we are more ready for private kind of clouds. But the major concern is need to have a control an policy for government data that lie in the cloud.

Dr N Vijayaditya Controller of Certifying Authority, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology

“Each technology has its own pros and cons. With the cloud computing, issue of security is yet not solved. The complex of security in the government is very complicated”

technology

PaaS customers get the operating system, a fully relational database, and consumable Web-based services that provide securityenhanced connectivity and federated access control for applications. IBM, CSCO, VMW and Oracle are examples of PaaS providers. For the customer, there is no need to buy operating systems, database or Web service licenses. SaaS online services are subscription-based, on-demand applications and hosted services, providing end users with a consistent experience across various client devices. Microsoft SharePoint Online is an example of such a service. Google, Amazon, SalesForce.com, IBM, Zoho and CRM are examples of SaaS cloud providers. Says Asheesh, “Today I can only have application access but I also want to create those kind of application, for which I get platform, that is called as platform as a service. So, these vendors will give me a platform to create SaaS enabled application, also through the internet in a different delivery models. There are some situations where these delivery models may not be useful for everyone, so hybrid model will continue to sustain and will continue to work. No single organization will completely depend upon these kinds of services. ”

Benefits XaaS offers a new approach that will transform the delivery and consumption of IT services of a company in future. This is, however, possible only when a company goes through the complete cycle of virtualisation. There are millions of people around the world today who use virtualisation to save time, money and energy while achieving more with the computer hardware they already own. It enables organisations consolidate and get more from existing or new servers, help save more on power, ensure high availability and business continuity at much lower cost besides helping organisations save more on operational expenses. Cloud computing will be the next logical stage in adopting of virtualisation and transforming IT. Governments in developing countries’ can benefit from the latest and best services available, and need not reinvent the wheel. They can use ICT to reform public sector services and provide online services. It will also allow them to cut spending on IT infrastructure, manage IT and labour resources more efficiently. In India Port community system provides a single interface for members of the port comMarch 2011 / www.egovonline.net / egov

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technology

Xaas

munity across 37 ports in India to access critical information readily and securely. In Gujarat, computer based security solution is in use to stamp documents digitally, to safeguard against duplication and fraud. Says Dr R Siva Kumar, CEO Natural Data Management System (NSDI) & Head Natural Resources data Management System (NRDMS) Division, Department of Science & Technology, Government of India, “The market trend and opportunities in anything as a service is tremendous. In India it is happening slowly and steadily, not the way it should have happened. In GeoSpatial data, people having a lot of data, but they have not capability to provide services as such.” He adds, “Clouds computing to succeed you need collaboration and sharing. In government and private sector, the important thing is to share-sharing of data or resources . If people have no consciousness of sharing; they won’t have the knowledge about resources. Unless you locate the data, you can’t discover the data; unless you discover it you can’t explore it.”

Market Trend and Potential The cloud computing market in India is expected to grow at a CAGR of 40 per cent by 2014, from an estimated $66.7 million in 2009, driven by cost and performance efficiencies, says IT research firm IDC. Gartner estimates that, over the course of the next five years, enterprises will spend $ 112 billion cumulatively on SaaS, PaaS and IaaS put together. North American and European markets represent the largest markets from a geographic perspective. Software as a service (SaaS) is being used to deliver a variety of e-Government cloud services such as Singapore’s Trade Net-a Single electronic window platform that enables important stakeholders within the supply chain to reduce the

time needed to facilitate the trade process. Says Nitin Mishra, VP, Product Management, Netmagic Solutions Pvt. Ltd, “In 2009, SaaS had a worldwide market share of USD 9.6 billion while IaaS had a worldwide market share of USD 1.3 billion. By 2013, the SaaS market will grow to USD 17 billion while in the same time frame IaaS will have an almost six-fold growth to USD 7.6 billion. IaaS will be on a high growth trajectory given that it provides options for customisation and standardisation which is what customers will need for retaining business agility.”

Challenges Organisations have to understand that cloud computing is not for every one. Safety and security levels are concerns that how secure would be the platform and how easy or difficult it would be to recover that data. Dr N Vijayaditya, Controller of Certifying Authority - Information Technology, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Government of India, says “Each technology has its own pros and cons. With the cloud computing, issue of security is yet not solved. The complex of security in the government is very complicated.” He adds, “Make sure what type of security you are looking for. Security is important for certain applications. With cloud computing you have certain solution but not all the solutions. It helps the government but at the end of the day your data is very-very important and it needs to be protected. There are many areas where it helps government but issue of security must be looked deeper. In its adoption a careful step must be taken.” There are concerns for some other manufacturing industries special in rural areas in India where the internet connectivity could be a challenge in itself. If the internet connectivity is not 24x7 then it will hamper your work.

Dr R Siva Kumar CEO, NSDI & NRDMS Division, Department of Science & Technology

“Clouds computing to succeed, you need collaboration and sharing. In government and private sector, the important thing is sharing of data or resources” 38

egov / www.egovonline.net / March 2011

Asheesh Raina Principal Research Analyst, Gartner

“Leveraging a hybrid model accomplishes several benefits. Specific aspects of existing IT infrastructure (say, storage and compute) occur in public cloud environments, and the remainder of the IT infrastructure stays on premise” Future Hybrid is a future. Asheesh Raina, “Leveraging a hybrid model accomplishes several benefits. Specific aspects of existing IT infrastructure occurs in public cloud environments, and the remainder of the IT infrastructure stays on premise. The use of hybrid computing acknowledges and validates the fact that not all IT resources should exist in public clouds today -- and some may never exist in public clouds.” While Indian universities have been very slow in adopting cloud computing technologies to virtualise learning and to encourage greater collaboration, the potential is huge. For example, IBM’s Academic Skills Cloud offers free cloud space to a number of U.S. Universities through which the course curriculum is made available for free, to be accessed anywhere and at any time on students’ laptops. The IDC study says that since cloud computing is at a nascent stage, there is an issue of lack of awareness, which affects the overall adoption of cloud computing in India.


in person

Sudipta K Sen

Regional Director South-East Asia, CEO & MD, SAS India

“We are today

well-positioned to help

enterprises in India in their quest to spur growth”

Leading the India arm of the largest privately held software company with leadership in Business Analytics & Business Intelligence. Sudipta K Sen is all optimistic about the role of SAS technologies. Sudipta is an industry veteran with more than 3 decades of working life in IT and technology domain. Sudipta Sen has held Senior Executive positions in many Indian and Multi National Companies. With an illustrious career in the IT industry spanning more than 25 years he is a regular panelist and a renowned speaker at several Indian and International forums and is acknowledged as a thought leader in IT and Infocom space. In a tete-a-tete with Prachi Shirur of e-Gov, he talks about recent projects, associations and future plans of one of the largest software companies.

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w

hat is the role of business intelligence and analytics in government organisations in solving issues and for better outcomes?

Governments deal with humongous amount of data, in various sectors such as health, education, Frost & Sullivan. Business Intelligence and analytics help government agencies to better understand, use and protect their data. Governments also gain in terms of increased efficiencies in tax collection, combat fraud and maximise public services for their citizens. By way of an example, the UID project of the Government of India is in the process of creating large amount of data. Once the data is created, there will be the need of analysis of the data. Here, business intelligence and analytics has a major role. Similarly, Department of Taxation, which has data feeding in from multiple sources, the challenge is finding one who is not paying tax, since the information is not in the standardised format. Across all levels of government, the ‘tax gap’ represents billions of dollars of uncollected revenue that could support vital public services and help reduce budget deficits. Business Intelligence and analytics solutions for the tax and revenue departments help in identifying where to focus resources and how to take the appropriate action to produce desired results. In this regard, I take the example of the Philippines Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) which reduced federal deficit, and improved tax collection processes (30 percent increase) with SAS Business Intelligence.

What is unique about SAS Business Intelligent solutions as compared to other market players in this domain? SAS Business Intelligence integrates data from across the enterprise and provides self-service reporting and analysis at everyone’s fingertips, so decision makers


in person

“SAS is supporting the Department of Planning and Statistics, Government of Maharashtra, in its endeavour to do the right planning. Using the SAS solutions, the department is assessing which are the areas that need schools, police stations and other institutions of public importance�

March 2011 / www.egovonline.net / egov

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IN PERSON

Tell about your recent association with Ministry of Health in identifying diseases and its epicenter and thus preventing it to become epidemic. The National AIDS Control Society (NACO) is using SAS epicenter, to control the disease before it becomes an epidemic.

assessing which are the areas that need schools, police stations and other institutions of public importance. Many banks are now using SAS intelligence solutions to prevent fraud. SAS provides a technology infrastructure for preventing, detecting and managing

“SAS Business Intelligence integrates data from across the enterprise and provides

self-service reporting and

analysis at everyone’s fingertips”

spend less time looking for answers and more time driving strategic decisions. SAS offers end-to-end enterprise business intelligence platform offering Data Extraction, Transformation & Loading (ETL), data warehousing to online analytical processing and reporting, and analytical intelligence. With our proven ability to deliver best-in-class business intelligence and analytical software and solutions, coupled with our extensive R&D efforts on BI solutions, we are today well-positioned to help enterprises in India in their quest to spur growth.

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getting personal Education Post graduate in Business Management from Lucknow University Favourite Pastime Reading / Listening to music Favourite Book Management books and Gita

Using GIS technology, SAS epicenter informs regarding what are the areas the AIDS is prevalent and where is it spreading, to take corrective measures, before it is too late. The solution is providing thus a great tool in the hands of the government to cater to the health needs of its citizens.

financial crimes across the various lines of business within today’s banks. The stock market surveillance is being done by SAS for transparency, so that the transparency of the Indian stock market is now way ahead of many countries of the globe.

Kindly shed light on your new deals from the various Government Departments – Ministry of Health, Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Central Board of Excise and Custom etc.

How do you get the buy-in of the government for BI and BA solutions?

Globally, we are doing lots of work in e-Governance domain. SAS has recently acquired Memex, a worldwide leader in intelligence management solutions that help improve intelligence processes, enhance public safety, and prevent and deter crime, terrorism and other threats. With its ability to share and use data more efficiently and effectively across local, national and global levels, SAS aims at predicting and preventing crime. The acquisition of Memex is thus an important part of SAS global initiative to enhance its law enforcement, criminal justice, homeland security and intelligence offerings. In India, SAS is supporting the Department of Planning and Statistics, Government of Maharashtra, in its endeavour to do the right planning. Using the SAS intelligence solutions, the department is

This is an important issue. However, we do have many pro-active and dynamic bureaucrats, who plan ahead, and are aware that fact based decision making is what will drive the success of projects and programmes, are gradually adopting the business analytics solutions.

What is the market size of BI and BA, worldwide and in India? What is your share in worldwide market and India market? Who are the other market players in the field? The BI market in India is expected to be around USD 260 million by 2013 growing at a CAGR of around 22 percent. SAS India is the leader in the advanced analytics market with a market share of more than 51 percent. Globally, SAS is the largest privately held software company with leadership in Business Analytics & Business Intelligence. SAS has been growing yoy for the last 34 years with 2010 global revenues of $2.31 bn.


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education in personwatch

Prof V N Rajasekharan Pillai Vice Chancellor, Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU)

Telecentre

Initiative of IGNOU: Empowering Regional

Youth through ICT

W Prof V N Rajasekharan Pillai, Vice Chancellor, Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), in conversation with Dr Rajeshree Dutta Kumar and Ankita Verma, speaks about the Telecentre initiative at IGNOU and its potential impact.

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egov / www.egovonline.net / March 2011

hat was the idea behind the decision of bringing in the entire telecentre initiative to IGNOU?

For the grassroot development, information communication technology is going to make a great impact. The National e-Governance Plan is strengthening the grassroot level organisations and technology is the major thrust for it. Department of IT (GoI) is also planning IT Literacy Mission. A committee has been constituted to define what IT literacy is and how ordinary people can become IT literate so that they can avail primarily government to citizen services, and also, how these rural centres can be equipped with broadband connectivity and radio services in the future. Government to citizen services is happening to some extent in a fractured way. Once IT kiosk centres come into place in each and every village of the country, there can also be units for promoting education, knowledge and skills. That led us to the collaboration with the International Telecentre Academy and develop programme for Telecentre Management. For this we had meetings with various telecentre movements which were supported by IDRC. So with the help of international expert committee we have developed a curriculum for training the telecentre managers who are grassroot level workers and who may not have formal qualification. They may be school dropouts, social activists, representatives of certain civil society organizations or NGOs. Looking at the diversity of such people who could be the potential managers of these telecentres, they would work with the agricultural workers, local traders, and different grassroot level professions in the villages. We have developed content based on 4 modules with the help of expert committee. We have developed this into our curriculum. These 4 modules look at various issues related to education, healthcare, traditional knowledge system and awareness about the use of technology. Anybody can avail it. For those who do not have formal education of 10th or 12th level we are also providing a bridge course for them.

How will this bridge course help in shifting from informal to formal education? After receiving a certificate one can get a diploma and then university degree depending upon their capability/worth. This also depends on the mandate of


in person education watch

munity colleges also provide these telecentre management courses. We are expecting that in all 230,000 blocks in the country at least one telecentre manager can be formally hired. These are all village level knowledge workers. Prof M S Swaminathan’s Rural Virtual

So the types of skill that is required for the youth in the next 10 years and how these skills are to be transferred, needs to be globally competent and acceptable. National Skills Mission objectives are also being propagated through these tele-knowledge centres. According to

“We are expecting that

in all 230,000 blocks in the country at least one telecentre

manager can be formally hired’’ Academy is also trying to identify rural academy students. They are making the knowledge workers and ultimately they can also get formal qualifications through this route.

Do these VKCs and CSCs have a niche focus while telecentre.org and IGNOU’s leadership is more comprehensive? university as we are providing opportunities for large number of school dropouts, college dropouts and people without a formal qualification. Then may be 10% of them can obtain higher qualifications. Thus, we will give opportunities to the people at the base of the pyramid to come up to the top.

What is your opinion about telecentres and how do you see India’s position in the entire telecentre movement in South Asia? In the name of telecentre movement, there are several organisations like Village Knowledge Centres supported by ISRO, Gyan Abhiyan of M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF). The purpose is of every movement is the same. There are few organisations providing such capabilities in the different regions. But IGNOU’s telecentres initiative is first of its kind in the country. Under our telecentre management, Common Service Centres and Village Knowledge Centres are there. Com-

This is for providing coordination for all activities. This telecentre programme that we are offering is not only invented for our country but it is meant for other countries as well. We have signed MoUs with several universities/telecentre academies. Therefore, the content which we have developed is generic in nature. It is 80% common for all developing countries and rest 20% other countries can contextualize and develop according to their requirements.

Will you use the same model as you have for community colleges? We will not use the same model. Telecentre management is more focused. We can take the example of broadband connectivity and IT kiosks. The government to citizen services is already there like Panchayati Raj functionary’s capacity building, information about Right to Education Act, National Skills Mission. Another area which we have focused on under telecentre management is how this particular activity of capacity building at block/grassroot level can contribute to the skill development.

National Skills Mission initiative, around 500 million youths are to be provided with the necessary skills by 2022.

What is the role that telecentre.org is playing here? Telecentre have given some logistic support for preparing the contents. So the content development as well as the preparation of modules has been supported by IDRC. Rest of the activities of IGNOU is just like any other grassroot level programme.

11th FYP is coming to an end and 12th plan is getting rolled out. So what are the plans as far as telecentres are concerned and have you set any goals/targets for next few years? Telecentres are definitely complementary or augmenting to the 12th plan objectives. The major objective of 12th plan will be to connect education with employable skills. Through telecentres we will be providing modular skills to the people. We are also trying to provide, even those who are in the conventional system of education, some sort of specific skill into them. So there will be some sort of merger of fundamental knowledge and the ability to enhance the skills. Then there will be technology integration into all these activities. We are expecting to train around 5000 people as telecentre managers this year. March 2011 / www.egovonline.net / egov

45


news

industry

SECURITY

FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT SOLUTION

Moser Baer Offers Information and Web Security Solutions To offer end-to-end data security solutions inclusive of ‘Authentication Keys’, ‘Licensing Tokens’, ‘ Mobile solutions’ and ‘secure storage’ initially, Moser Baer has tied up with Giesecke and Devrient (G&D) as Technology partner to power the data security foray. Moser Baer will now offer information security solutions to increase data security for e-Commerce transactions. Solutions such as Public

Key Infrastructure token (PKI), One Time Password token (OTP) being offered by the company will help the government, financial community, corporates and, consumers towards safer online transactions within secure environment providing safeguard measures against loss of data/money/authentication. As per India Fraud Survey Report 2010 (by KPMG) data fraud is resulting in loss amount-

ing in millions of dollars every year to the Indian industry and the country need to upgrade its data security apparatus. These end-to-end solutions are being offered to the customers of MBIL from February 2011 onwards. MBIL will design and develop these solutions from its manufacturing facility in Noida in association with Giesecke & Devrient (G&D), and other leading players of the ‘data security’ industry.

HARDWARE

D-Link Introduces Combo KVM Switches The management of MIS equipment is getting more and more important and it is required to have higher efficiency wherein the IT staff will require total solutions to have easier operation to thoroughly manage all kinds of servers. To address this, D-Link

provides a simple solution that allows controlling multiple PC’s through a

single console. D-Link KVM440/450 KVM switches provide high-end local

remote management solution that allows controlling up to 4096 (with KVM-450) PCs from a single console. With convenient installation and option to daisy chain up to 3 levels, KVM-440/450 proves to be ideal products to manage the servers efficiently.

Nexstep’s Expense Management System V6.5 & Budgeting 3.0 Nexstep has announced the launch of its new version of Nexstep Expense Management System V6.5. The product is designed to offer extensive feature-based advantages related to employee business expense claims, travel coordination and expenses, branch utilities, vendor bill authorisation, and procurement. The new version delivers significant enhancements in the area of Travel Expense management and Employee Spend Analysis claims the company. This new version comes at a time when organisations are facing challenges of rising costs and looking at optimising their discretionary expenses and reducing their travel spends. The Travel Expense Management module includes vital features like ensuring lowest cost per trip, managing trip cancellations, tracking recoverable from clients, tracking and managing floating advances. Commenting on the launch, Ila Imani, CEO, Nexstep stated, “Our expertise in expense management and our commitment to this domain continues as strong as ever. We are poised to be leaders in Expense Mgmt. and will continue to deliver even better RoI to our clients.”

Juniper Networks Unveils True Data Center Fabric Juniper Networks unveiled QFabric, true data center fabric.  An outcome of “Project Stratus,” Juniper’s multiyear data center network research and development initiative, QFabric delivers quantum leap improvements in data center performance, operat-

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ing cost and business agility, from the enterprise to the large scale cloud provider. Engineered as a simplified, highly scalable data center network solution, QFabric enables a superior approach to building and securing virtualised data centers that eliminates the

egov / www.egovonline.net / March 2011

tradeoff between quality of experience and economics that plagues today’s legacy networks.

“Data center compute and storage technologies have advanced over the last decade, and the legacy approach to networking has not kept pace,” said Kevin Johnson, CEO of Juniper Networks. “As cloud computing and the mobile internet accelerate,

demand is intensifying for a quantum leap forward in data center capabilities. With QFabric, Juniper is transforming data center economics by introducing the only network fabric that is able to eliminate multiple layers of cost and complexity.”



Revolution 2.0: March 2011