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www.egovonline.net

Volume II issue 9, September 2006

ISSN 0973-161X

The e-Government magazine for Asia and the Middle East

Indian Railways

Progress on track

Indian Mines Safety Information System: Providing able compliance monitoring framework

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Karnataka municipal e-Governance implementation: Charting a new course in municipal governance

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Kerala SWAN: A designer’s perspective

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IN THIS ISSUE COVER FEATURE

REGION FOCUS: KARNATAKA

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19

Indian Railways: Taking e-Government onto a fast track Amit Kumar and Surbhi Jain

‘Karnataka has a clear-cut, successful roadmap for e-Governance’ Interview: Rajeev Chawla, Secretary (e-Governance), Government of Karnataka

IN PRACTICE

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Providing compliance monitoring framework M A J Jeyaseelan

NEWS REVIEW

6 16 25 26 42

Asia India World Business Middle East

COMMENTARY

44

ABC of e-Governance

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Karnataka: Charting a new course in municipal governance Krishna Rupanagunta

Awadhesh Kumar Singh

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Kerala SWAN: A designer’s perspective P M Sasi

COUNTRY FOCUS AL FOCUS:: NEP NEPAL

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Nepal e-Government Masterplan: Striding decisively Bimal Pratap Shah,Young Sik Kim and Chang Hak Choi

REGULAR FEATURES

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What’s On

Read all the articles online at www.egovonline.net | September 2006

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EDITORIAL Vol. II, Issue 9

September 2006

President Dr. M P Narayanan Editor-in-Chief Ravi Gupta Sr. Assistant Editor Anuradha Dhar Assistant Editor Danish A. Khan Sub Editor Prachi Shirur Designed by Bishwajeet Kumar Singh Web Zia Salahuddin Ramakant Sahu Circulation Himanshu Kalra Editorial and marketing correspondence eGov G-4 Sector 39 NOIDA 201301, India Tel: +91 120 2502181-87 Fax: +91 120 2500060 Email: info@egovonline.net Printed by Yashi Media Works Pvt Ltd New Delhi, India egov does not neccesarily subscribe to the views expressed in this publication. All views expressed in the magazine are those of the contributors. egov is not responsible or accountable for any loss incurred, directly or indirectly as a result of the information provided. egov is published in collaboration with GIS Development (www.GISdevelopment.net)

Beyond what just meets the eyes... In India, the central government and state governments have initiated numerous e-Government projects - some of them are quite popular, while there are still others that largely go unnoticed. There is a lot happening at the back-end that can be appropriately treated as among the best practices, and therefore needs to be duly highlighted. In this issue, we present some successful but not so popular e-Government projects considered as best practices. The mining industry is a vital area where e-Government application has been deployed successfully. Indian Mines Safety Information System (IMSIS) has become India’s first regulatory compliance monitoring application showcasing what eGovernance could do for good governance. The case of Indian Railways (IR) has been covered because of the enormity and scale of success it has achieved in implementing e-Governance through its fleet of operations. By establishing a ‘Corporate Wide Information System’ (CWIS) called RAILNET, the IR has achieved a feat enabling it to provide smooth flow of information on demand for administrative purposes to ensure smooth and efficient functioning. Notwithstanding, the IR has undertaken a pioneering work in e-Ticketing. Besides, with its Freight Operations Information System into place, IR has brought a major turnaround in its earnings. Although, the uptake of e-Government services in the country, in general, has been relatively slow. Some e-Government projects have been successfully implemented, some are still in the pilot stage, while some of them have either been discontinued or in the process of being abandoned due to poor uptake. Nonetheless, there is no gainsaying the fact that whatever is currently deemed as e-Government services in India is in stark contrast to the e-Government services being provided in most developed countries. As such, services like Railways, hotels et al constitute a part of government owing to the Nehruvian socialist ideology in vogue till date, and therefore constitute the core of e-Government services in India. But, in countries such as the USA, UK etc., this is not the case. Understandably, there is much more beyond than what has been perceived in India till date. There is a dire need to take a holistic view and approach towards what constitutes as e-Government services in India as such. The central government as well as different state governments need to come out of their cocoons, take bold initiatives, widen the ambit, and redefine the very process of e-Government services. At the same time, efforts should be intensified to adopt best e-Government practices and replicate it countrywide to enable Citizento-Government (C2G) integration seamlessly. This would truly take the e-Government movement forward in the country, and make India a role model in e-Governance for countries worldwide.

Ravi Gupta Ravi.Gupta@csdms.in

© Centre for Science, Development and Media Studies, 2006 www.csdms.in

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“ I AM THE STAR PUPIL OF A VIRTUAL CLASSROOM.”

UNIVERSAL BROADBAND ACCESS For many of the world's children, e-learning gives access to a more thorough education. With Alcatel’s broadband solutions, all students can get an equal chance to accessing knowledge wherever they live. Whatever your country or region in the world, broadband technologies should be available to everyone. This is Alcatel’s commitment. News, entertainment, sport and education are closer than ever. And suddenly, homework is a pleasure. Welcome to a broader life. www.alcatel.com

BROADEN YOUR LIFE


A SIA

NEWS REVIEW

websites are in stage 1, 136 are in stage Philippines educational ment 2, 144 are in stage 3 and eight are in stage 4. institutions partially online Online tax payments A recent study by Philippines’ National introduced in Indonesia Computer Center (NCC) indicated that only half or 56 out of 111 state universities and colleges (SUCs) in Philippines have websites to promote their schools. Conducted as part of the e-Government project of the NCC and the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT), the survey aims to put national government agencies,

Online income and property tax payment is now possible for Indonesians thanks to ePayment of income and property tax through the channel-e portal of Bumiputra-Commerce Bank Bhd (BCB). This will make it possible for 6.5 million users to conduct their financial transactions online. The service is available at www.channel-e.com.my where the BCB customers can make online payments using their savings or current accounts. Tunku Ahmad Burhanuddin, Executive Director, BCB,

said that a minimal fee of 50 sen would be charged for each transaction and customers would receive online acknowledgments confirming their transactions. “Moving forward, beating deadlines, waiting in long queues and paying fines due to late submissions will be issues of the past. Online payment services have made this possible

Government services online in Phuket Phuket has become Thailand’s first city to become ‘One Stop Service City’ where people can get access to government services via the Internet. Seen as a major move towards eGovernment, it took two years to complete this ‘one click, finish all’ project. With its completion the government services and information has now become online making it easy for citizens to pay their utility bills and get information on public health care, postal services, basic education, job offers, tourism and immigration.

local government units and SUCs to have web presence within 3-4 years. The survey revealed that 19 of the 55 web-enabled SUCs have stage 1 websites, 25 are in stage two and 11 are in stage three. Although the remaining 56 universities have yet to develop their own websites, the NCC continues to provide additional training for faculty members on how to build and maintain their websites. The CICT uses the United Nations and American Society of Public Administration (UN-ASPA) as a development model for the eGovernment Project, which has five stages. The first and second being static or frequently updated websites; third and fourth are websites with public query support or downloadable forms; and the fifth stage is a fully interactive website for both inter-agency and public transactions. Fifty-eight govern6

The project was developed in collaboration with the Software Industry Promotion Agency (SIPA). Kruawan Samana, SIPA Chairwoman, said that the project was based on serviceoriented architecture, which was like ‘’a main highway that hooks up all agencies under one language’’. Fifteen government agencies have already linked their databases to https:// thaionestop.org/ to allow people to contact them online, without visiting government offices. Public and private agencies wanting to link up with the website are charged between 700,000 and 1,000,000 baht. ‘’A person can log on to the site with a 13-digit ID number and make bill payments via the Bank of Ayudhya, the only bank to have joined the project so far,’’ Kruawan said. The success of the project would however, depend on ‘’ICT literacy’’ among Thai people, a change in mindset from hands-on to electronic services and a supportive legal framework among others. By next few years it is planned that all government services will be made available online. www.egovonline.net |


with just the click of the mouse,” said Burhanuddin while launching the service. Currently, there are 400,000 users registered at BCB’s channel-e portal, out of which 90,000 had been active users. This, however, is expected to increase since there are some 300,000 taxpayers who used the Inland Revenue Board’s (IRB) online filing system.

Biman to start e-Ticketing before schedule

check-in with the thermal print out of the eTicket and his/her identity card or just if he/ she can remember the e-Ticket number,” Mohammed Shah Newaz said. Newaz acknowledged that up till now only very few people in Biman know about e-Ticketing and therefore, there is a need to generate awareness and provide them the necessary training regarding how to go about e-Ticketing. Awareness building would be done through press releases, advertisements in newspapers, journals, in-flight magazines and announcements on board aircraft, he said.

e-Government drive envisaged in Pakistan

Biman Bangladesh Airlines (Biman) will initiate the e-Ticketing services for passengers and complete the network-wide transition by 30th June 2007. Biman and SITA (Societe Internationale de Telecommunications Aeronautics) recently signed an accord in Dhaka. Mohammed Shah Newaz, General Manager, Sales, Biman, and Steve Barnard, Client Director, SITA AUSPAC, signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organisations. The agreement has been signed in compliance the International Air Transport Association (IATA) decision regarding 100% implementation of e-Ticketing worldwide by December 2007. IATA member airlines would have to stop printing paper tickets by the end of 2007. Thus, Biman e-Ticketing project would be completed ahead of IATA’s deadline. IATA’s e-Ticketing initiative is intended to save the airline industry US$3bn annually. Through e-Ticketing, Biman would be able to save substantial amount of money since eTicket would cost around US$1 each against US$9 for each conventional ticket. Biman would now choose a sector, an interline partner and GDS to begin the process. “We hope to issue the first e-Ticket before this year is out. Passengers would be able to | September 2006

Pakistan has decided to take up eGovernment drive in a big way. The National Commission on Government Reforms has come up with radical proposals, which include introduction of electronic FIR (first information report) system in the police and digitising land records. The land revenue sub-committee has proposed that the patwari system - the traditional as well as manual system of managing land titles, registration and revenues - would be replaced with electronic database, preferably on websites. “Although it would be tricky to transcribe the entire land ownership so far being managed by patwaris, manually on registers and on pieces of cloth in terms of mapping, it is doable,” an official said. The sub-committee, however, declared that patwaris would be required so long as database on land affairs is not fully prepared and tested to be operational. The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom has already initiated the work under

the e-Government project to prepare software for replacing patwaris . Upon completion, citizens would be able to access the land records through a website. Meanwhile, a separate sub-committee of the commission on public order and police has recommended eliminating the system of FIR from the police system and replacing it with electronic handling of complaints. In this regard, model software is being introduced in certain police stations to manage routine affairs.

Korea is #1 in e-Gov rankings

Korea ranked number one in the world in e-Government rankings as per the international academic survey that graded e-Governance capability. The Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs announced this. Korea scored 60.3 points out of possible 100 points. Taiwan, Singapore and the United States are respectively number two, three and four. The survey report, conducted by US’ Brown University, said, “Korea’s sites feature an impressive level of organisation and offer a wealth of information and services. The Korean sites are also highly customisable with a majority allowing the user to manage his or her own activities.” The survey examined and compared the availability of publications, databases and number of online services, in about 200 countries. 7


IN PRACTICE Implementing Linux on IBM

server zSeries

Hungarian National Railways reduces workload, cut costs

MÁV Informatika (www.mavinformatika. hu), the Hungarian National Railways (Magyar Államvasutak or MÁV) information services division, is responsible for designing and supporting the entire information infrastructure, which includes online ticketing systems, business inventories, carriage tracking, and freight wagon allocation services. Based in the Hungarian capital of Budapest, MÁV Informatika currently employs about 500 people. Over a period of time it was witnessed that MÁV Informatika’s workload began to subsequently increase with the rapid expansion of the Hungarian economy. Slowing in response times was being considerably experienced by both internal and external users. This ultimately 8

“We had a diverse range

of systems, including IBM S/390 [the predecessor to IBM server zSeries] and Intel®-based servers running Linux® and UNIX®. We wanted to preserve the core operational systems running on the S/390, including Lotus Domino applications, while cutting costs and developing our Web capabilities

made the urgency felt for the requirement of a more powerful server platform, which would have put the users at ease while bringing speed in response times. Moreover, even MÁV Informatika had also decided to cut operational costs, and possibly to reduce the number of physical servers and operating systems it needed to support. “We had a diverse range of systems, including IBM S/390 [the predecessor to IBM server zSeries] and Intel®-based servers running Linux® and UNIX®. We wanted to preserve the core operational systems running on the S/390, including Lotus Domino applications, while cutting costs and developing our Web capabilities. This needed to be done securely and reliably – it is not acceptable www.egovonline.net |


to MÁV for systems to be unavailable,” explained János Németh, Systems Programmer.

Single platform for reduced costs MÁV Informatika standardised on Linux as its strategic operating system, and chose IBM server zSeries as its main consolidated server platform as part of its drive to cut costs. As such, MÁV Informatika placed the primary zSeries server in Budapest, while a second system has been placed at a remote location as a stand-by ready to resume operations in the event of a disaster. Existing legacy applications run in a z/OS partition, while Linux partitions support both Linux and ported UNIX workload. According to János Németh, MÁV Informatika has reduced both operating and maintenance costs by implementing IBM’s Linux on zSeries. Németh said, “We already had the Linux skills, which we could transfer directly to the zSeries, making it easy for us to implement new workload. Since implementation, Linux on zSeries has proved to be highly secure and extremely available.” The zSeries supports 1,400 users, authenticated using the highly secure Remote Access Control Facility (RACF), enabling access to a wide range of legacy programs, Lotus Domino applications, and the MÁV online ticketing system. Data is stored on an IBM TotalStorage Enterprise Storage Server, with a capacity of 1.6TB.

High security for data Concluding that the security and reliability of zSeries made for an unbeatable business case, MÁV Informatika said that it considered implementing Linux on Intel-based servers rather than on zSeries. Considering that both the legacy and Linux solutions use IBM DB2 data management software, MÁV Informatika implemented DB2 data sharing across the partitions to ensure that all corporate information is consistent. MÁV Informatika, which is currently developing the online ticketing system, has also decided to run it on a Linux zSeries partition, with IBM WebSphere Application Server providing access to the travel planning, booking and payments systems. | September 2006

János Németh said, “MÁV Informatika has been using IBM technologies since 1992. We have considered other platforms for our Linuxbased systems, but the security and availability advantages made zSeries the only choice for MÁV Informatika.” MÁV Informatika has expressed immense satisfaction with the new Linux and zSeries solution. The company is now able to reduce its IT maintenance costs and simplify the management of its IT infrastructure by consolidating to a single platform. According to János Németh, the next step now would be to implement Tivoli Storage Manager on z/OS, which would give the ability to back up and archive data from every system within MÁV Informatika, including Linux on zSeries. This would provide much better system resilience and disaster recovery options.

Linux on German Federal Railways Besides the Hungarian National Railways, even the German Federal Railways has decided to rely more heavily on IBM’s Linux as a server operating system in an effort to achieve sustainable cost savings. According to DB Systems, the German Federal Railway’s Intra-group IT Services Provider, Linux offered greater flexibility. Detlef Exner, head of IT Operations at DB Systems, said, “It is our job to develop and run the most efficient and costeffective IT for the Federal Railways. For us there is no getting way from Linux. The changeover projects are all being erected upon a uniform Linux architecture. One of the main projects has been the Lotus-Notes/Domino switchover from z/OS to zLinux for IBM mainframes. The backbone of the Federal Railways’ IT system is made up of 32 redundant servers and has a data volume of about 6.5 terabyte. Because of the high volume in particular savings on license costs of about 50% can be expected.”

Italy’s Alpitour migrates to Linux on zSeries Leading player in the Italian tourist industry Alpitour SpA (Alpitour), which has a presence in 7,000 travel agencies across Italy, has also selected IBM

The Challenge • • • •

Provide faster system response Reduce infrastructure complexity Lay plans for business resilience Cut operational costs

The Solution • • • • •

Implement IBM server zSeries Running z/OS and Linux® Port UNIX® workload to Linux Migrate existing Linux workload to zSeries Plan for Tivoli Storage Manager

The Benefit • • •

Reduced administration and maintenance costs Support for Web-based ticketing system Legacy COBOL applications on a single physical server

mainframe technology to run its core business systems since the mid-1980s. When IBM opened up its mainframe to the possibilities of Linux, Alpitour was delighted and jumped at the possibility of running new Linux-based systems on existing zSeries servers. Working with Gruppo Formula and IBM Italy, Alpitour has been able to implement and take advantage of Linux without losing the availability and performance offered by zSeries. Initially, Diapason – a modular ERP system that holds second place in the Italian market, was implemented under z/OS on Alpitour’s IBM zSeries 900 server. However, the development under z/OS was too slow to meet the growing demand even though Diapason fitted Alpitour’s functional requirements well. Finally, Alpitour decided to port it to Linux to improve flexibility and reduce costs. Alpitour’s z900 is now divided into two partitions – one running z/OS for legacy workload; the other one is running Linux, for Diapason, with 120 local and remote users, and boasting a WebSphere application connecting over 1,500 travel agencies. Alpitour is now expanding its use of Linux, creating new Web-based booking applications running under IBM WebSphere. 9


COVER FEATURE

Taking e-Government onto a fast track Amit Kumar Jain and Surbhi Jain

The Indian Railways is Asia’s largest and the world’s second largest rail network. Adopting e-Governance in right earnest and to reap the benefit of IT explosion, Indian Railways have established a ‘Corporate Wide Information System’ (CWIS) called RAILNET to provide smooth flow of information on demand for administrative purposes, which would enable taking quicker and better decisions

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e

-Government involves using information technology to improve the management and efficiency of government information technology resources for effective delivery of government services to citizens, businesses, and other government agencies. It intersects many legislative issues, including privacy, digital divide, public access to government information, service delivery, and information security. There are four stages in the evolution of e-Government — presence, interaction, transaction, and transformation. A project can skip levels, either from its inception or as it develops. Presence is the first stage of development and is the establishment of a placeholder for delivering information in the future. It represents the simplest and least expensive entrance into e-Government, but it also offers the fewest options for citizens. Interaction generally revolves around information provision. These resources may include instructions for obtaining services, downloadable forms to be printed and mailed back to an agency, or perhaps e-mail contact to respond to simple questions. Transaction stage enables clients to complete entire tasks electronically at any time of the day or night. These initiatives effectively create self-service operations for tasks such as license renewals, paying taxes and fees, and submitting bids for procurement contracts. Transformation utilises the full capabilities of the technology to transform how government functions are conceived, organised, and executed. There are several challenges to implementing e-Government. One of the most significant challenges for implementing e-Government initiatives is computer security: security program management, access controls, software development and change controls, segregation of duties, operating systems controls, and service continuity. Related to computer security, privacy also presents a challenge to the implementation and acceptance of eGovernment initiatives. Concerns about the use of “cookies,” sharing information between agencies (computer matching) and the disclosure or mishandling of | September 2006

private information are frequent subjects of debate. For the public sector, the first challenge is of managing the development of the solutions on a continual basis and then managing the large number of applications that need to interact with each other while maintaining security and privacy of the data. The second challenge is of scalability, arising primarily from a need to maintain large number of records that may be created in geographically distributed data repositories. Another biggest challenge for e-Government is the diverse number of agencies. Not only are citizens and local firms customers, but in many cases, the agencies can be seen as customers as well.

the changing needs of travel and transport and absorbed the advancements in railway technology and successfully met the requirement of moving large volumes of freight and passenger traffic. Realising the important role that information plays in customer services and in railways operations, IR had embarked on its computerisation program, earlier than many other organisations in the country. IR developed a dedicated skeletal

The case of Indian Railways The Indian Railways (IR) is Asia’s largest and the world’s second largest rail network under a single management. It is a multigauge, multi-traction system covering over 60,000 route kilometres, with 300 railway yards and 700 repair shops, and covers most of the country’s vast geographical spread. The rolling stock fleet of the Indian Railways comprises 7,566 locomotives, 37,840 Lalu Prasad Yadav, Union Railways Minister, sipping tea in coaches and 222 million ‘Kulhad’, while thinking to take the railways e-Government freight wagons. With a initiatives ahead workforce of around 1.6 million, it runs more than 11,000 communication network, as a basic trains daily. requirement for train operation. After the Indian Railways virtually form the early introduction of basic computer lifeline of the country catering to all its applications e.g. Pay rolls, Inventory needs for largescale movement of traffic, Control and Operating Statistics, Railways both passenger and freight, thereby went for deployment of computers for contributing to economic growth, while productivity improvement through at the same time promoting national building up operational databases. integration. With its phenomenal growth Some other initiatives include from 34 kms in 1853 to a gigantic network computerisation of the passenger of 63,465 route kms, the IR in 2004-05 reservation arrangement; developing a carried on an average per day 1.65 million Freight Operations Information System; tonnes of freight and 14.84 million replacing the existing computers at the passengers. In more than 150 years of its Zonal Railways and production units with existence, IR has successfully adapted to the state-of-the-art computer systems 11


Passenger Reservation System (PRS): CONCERT (Country-wide Network of Computerised Enhanced Reservation & Ticketing), Indian Railways fully automated PRS software, is a complex online distributed transaction application based on client server architecture interconnecting the regional computing system into a National PRS grid. The salient features of CONCERT software include allowing passenger from anywhere to do a booking for a journey in any train in any class from anywhere to anywhere; handling reservation, modifications cancellation/refunds; 31 supervisory online functions and 21 online enquiries; performing reservation

of operating options including 40 types of quota; 8 types of train; 9 types of classes; 192 types of concessions; 105 types of coaches including composite coaches etc.; printing of bilingual journey ticket; response time of less than two seconds for a reservation transaction; complex rules, validations and fare computation technique interwoven in the application; and database administration package to cater to dynamic operational requirement with respect to change in train profile, timetable and fares. Dynamic information available on the website includes Enquiry and Static information dissemination. Enquiry includes PNR status, Train between pair of station, accommodation availability, train schedule, and station code enquiry. All the available enquiries are also available through SMS on mobile phone. Static information dissemination includes reservation/refund rules, general information, tourist information, special train, and availability of passenger amenities at any station.

for over 8,82,000 seats and berths (peak rush as high as 10,17,000) daily; 4262 reservation terminals; and across more than 1200 locations. CONCERT software offers a range

e-Ticketing: CRIS (Centre for Railway Information System) has successfully developed the Internet ticketing solution launched by IRCTC (Indian Railway Catering and Tourism

enabling the organisation to computerise more applications; provision of computers at divisions, new production units, workshops, sheds and depots and training institutes; and quantum improvement in the use of computers in the offices.

Use of IT in Railway

12

Corporation). The effort involved interfacing the IRCTC front end with backend PRS Alpha servers, writing procedures for search and queries at the backend, ticket printing on existing clients and accounting software. SMS and Alert Services: The following services are available on 676747, 8888 with major cellular service providers like Airtel, Hutch, Idea, BPL, MTNL & BSNL, etc: PNR status, accommodation availability, trains between stations, fare, train schedule, etc. UTS (Unreserved Ticket System): UTS is the complete solution for computerised unreserved ticketing from dedicated counter terminals and replaces manual Printed Card Tickets/Excess Fare Tickets/Blank Paper Tickets. In future, ticketing from handheld terminals smart card, automatic vending machines, etc. is also envisaged. Features of Unreserved Ticketing System include latest technology; reduced queues; tickets available from any station to any station; all concessions; Return/Reverse/Cancellation of tickets; allows ticketing 3 days in advance; analysis of the demand on various routes to enable planning of augmentation of train services/coaches; train fares printed on ticket are current; only one ticket for more than one passenger in a group; UTS Works on 64 kbps data channel of OFC (Railway) or BSNL; and for issue of General/ Second class tickets only. IVRS (Interactive Voice Response System): IVRS is a telephonic enquiry system which gives following information in multiple languages — Passenger Name Record (PNR) enquiry, Train Arrival/Departure information enquiry through NTES, and Berth availability position in any train. NTES (National Train Enquiry System): NTES provides arrival/departure as well as current status information about any passenger train in the entire Indian Railways. NTES is parallel to PRS. The servers are located at five metros i.e. Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Secunderabad and all are interconnected. Entries are made regarding running of train every half an hour at various locations including divisional headquarter all over the Indian Railways. NTES is used www.egovonline.net |


by IVRS and other web enabled services and mobile services for providing train information to the public. Computerised information about train running is available at www.trainenquiry.com with the features namely — Spot Your Train, Find Your Trains, Train Arrivals, Train Departures, Train Time Table and Passing by Trains. Spot Your Train displays current running status of a train along with the delays if any. Find Your Trains displays list of trains running between two stations along with their timings and days of run. Train Arrivals displays list of trains arriving at a station in the specified time frame (next 3 hours). Train Departures displays a list of trains departing from a station in the specified time frame (next 3 hours). Train Time Table provides detailed scheduled timings (arrival and departure) of a train at all halting stations. Passing by trains show a list of trains arriving at a station in the next 24 hours. Besides, there is a detailed list of Railways amenities at various stations of the 16 zones, information about prestigious trains (e.g. Palace on Wheels, Royal Orient etc.), information about Railway rules, information pertaining to tourists, and Hindi section for important pages.

Railnet To reap the benefit of explosion in Information Technology, Indian Railways have established a ‘Corporate Wide Information System’ (CWIS) between Railway Board, Zonal Railways Headquarters, Divisional Headquarters, Production Units and Centralised Training Institutes etc. called as RAILNET. It is able to provide smooth flow of information on demand for administrative purposes, which will help in taking quicker and better decisions. RAILNET has the potential for transfer of messages, files, and emails between important locations on Indian Railways. In addition, the internal website in Railway Board and Zonal Railways Headquarters support directives and other important information for day-doday use by various officials. RAILNET provides computer connectivity between Railway Board and Zonal Railways, divisional headquarters, production units, Centralised Training Institutes, RDSO, | September 2006

CORE, MTP/Calcutta and 46 major training institutes. The structure of RAILNET comprises Mobile Train Radio Communication System and Network. Mobile Train Radio Communication System: The system is primarily based on the European Telecommunication Standards Institute (ETSI) Global System for Mobile (GSM) Phase-2 standard and additional requirements specified in EIRENE and Mobile Radio for Railways Network in Europe (MORANE) SRS documents. Network: Network shall support voice telephony services such as Pointto-point voice calls, Broadcast voice calls, Group voice calls, Multicompany voice calls, and Emergency voice calls. All voice calls services except group calls shall be displayed and shall be able to operate between any combination of fixed and mobile equipment users. The system shall support multiparty voice communication between up to six different parties. Any of the parties involved in a multi-party voice call shall be able to talk simultaneously. The system shall provide direct mode capability for set-to-set communication within the radio coverage area of a base station. The network shall have the capability of supporting data services, which may be required by Railway in future such as Train control applications, General data applications, and Automatic fax and text messages. The network shall support point-to-point data communications. The network shall

support data rates of at least 2.4 kbit/s. The network shall support as a minimum following call related services — Display of identity of called/calling user; Restriction of display of called/ calling user; Priority and pre-emption; Closed user group; Call forwarding; Call hold; Call waiting; and Call barring. The MTR network shall also provide support for railway specific services such as emergency calls, functional addressing including registration/deregistration, location dependent addressing, shunting mode, and multiple driver communications.

Management Information System (MIS) For running any business organisation, the efficiency of the MIS is very important. Indian Railways have many areas, where use of IT is going to have a telling effect. Some of the areas are — Rail Budget Compilation System, Comprehensive Payroll Processing System, Vigilance Software System, Material Management Information System for P-Way material, and Comprehensive Accounting and Transaction System. Rail Budget Compilation System (RBCS): CRIS has developed RBCS for collecting budgetary inputs from the different zones and production units of the Indian Railways. The system facilitates capturing of data, building of database, analysis of demands and pruning of the estimates for inclusion in the Railway 13


Budget. Besides MIS reports, the system enables printing of budget documents in bilingual, Hindi and English. This system is implemented at 88 locations spread over Zonal Railways and Production Units apart from Railway Board. Comprehensive Payroll Processing System (CPPS): CPPS is a comprehensive bilingual package generating monthly salary bills including Incentive Bonus Calculation and Labour Accounting modules and pay slips in Hindi. Vigilance Software System (VSS): VSS is designed specially for the requirements of Vigilance Department of Indian Railways and has been implemented in all the Vigilance Departments of Indian Railway Zonal Headquarters. VSS maintains information about vigilance cases/complaints includes various reports, forwarding letters generated by Vigilance Department and keeps track of Receipt. Material Management Information System for P-Way material (MMIS): This package is designed specially for the requirements of Civil Engineering department of Indian Railways and helps the users in accounting’ stores for P-Way materials. Special emphasis has been given to scrap disposal. Comprehensive Accounting & Transaction System (CATS): CATS has been designed with common database to address functionalities for both personnel and Finance Departments. CATS contain two major modules Financial Accounting System (FAS) and Payroll System (PS).

Freight Operations Information System (FOIS) While considerable inputs are needed for augmenting the capacity of rolling stock as well as line capacity, the optimum utilisation of existing resources is considered more imperative for carrying additional volume of traffic. Realising the significant contribution that computerisation can make in improving the utilisation of Rolling Stock assets, Indian Railways have been planning from the early stages for the introduction of use of computers in the freight operations. Ultimately, Indian Railways decided in 1986 to go in for an integrated computer communication system called Freight Operation Information System 14

(FOIS) with an objective to computerise the information relating to all operational activities and monitor the performance of all activity centres connected with freight traffic management. In the era of supply chain management and integrated logistic movement, continuous cargo visibility is the most critical component of any physical distribution system. FOIS enables management and control of freight movement and optimisation of asset utilisation. The system is designed

Indian Railways virtually form the lifeline of the country catering to all its needs for largescale movement of traffic, both passenger and freight, thereby contributing to economic growth, while at the same time promoting national integration to enable freight customers, in future, to have instant access to information on current status of their consignments in transit facilitating just in time inventory. Its mission is to give a total transparent system with continuous cargo visibility and an uptodate business environment to the customers with instant access to information regarding their consignments in transit for just in time inventory. It is also a system for management and control of freight movement, which assists managers to optimise asset utilisation. This is especially important for the Indian Railways, whose key revenue earnings come from its freight traffic. FOIS is a 100% indigenous effort and uses state-of-the-art technology and is poised to bring about an IT revolution in Railway Management Systems on a scale that has not yet been attempted in any

South Asian railway system. Once all the phases and modules are integrated and implemented, it would place the Indian Railways at par with any other railway system in the most developed countries of the world. It lays the foundation for a complete logistics management system, furnishing real time information on the chain of physical distribution, an essential element in reducing inventory costs. Initially, the FOIS project was sanctioned and included in the Northern Railway Works Programme for 1983-84, at an abstract cost of Rs 1,098 crore. Phase I envisaged the all-India implementation of core functionalities. This included train and wagon movement control, including the Empty Wagon Management and Locomotive Control modules of the TRACS software. The Yard and Terminal Management System was to be developed indigenously. The implementation of the remaining modules was to follow in Phase II. But the detailed estimate sanctioned was only for implementation of Phase I core modules, only on Northern Railway, at a cost of Rs 267.20 crore. Phase I of FOIS addresses rake and train movement, locomotive movement and yard management. Phase II extends the functions of Phase I to include individual wagons. Together, the two phases constitute the RMS or operating portion. Phase III introduces Terminal Management or the commercial portion. Benefits from these two modules can accrue only when an end-to-end sharing of information is achieved. It was therefore, imperative to spread them quickly over the entire Railway network, instead of confining them to a limited corridor. The key factors of its success were — a total commitment from the top management of the railways, from the railway ministry to the field; a wellresearched and properly defined customer focus; innovative change management, with a clear view of the railways business model; and user involvement from the conception/design stage, resulting in user ownership. About the authors Amit Kumar Jain is an Officer with the Indian Railway Traffic Service. Surbhi Jain is an Officer with the Indian Economic Service.

www.egovonline.net |


INDIA Maran launches MCA21 in Chennai

NEWS REVIEW to register their company. With the implementation of the CFCs programme, a company would be able to get registered within 1 hour,” and added, “Out of the 7.50 lakh companies operating in the country, while 10,424 had got themselves registered, about 1.94 lakh firms had opted for e-Filing.” Currently, 53 CFCs are operational in India, with more to be opened in 85 locations across the country.

stations, including 298 small stations having no ATMs presently, across India. This is in compliance with the Ministry of Railways’ policy in 2001 to install ATMs at railway stations. As such, within 5-years time some 150 ATMs have been installed at major railway stations in the country.

SBI to install ATMs at 681 railway stations

Prem Chand Gupta, Union Minister for Company Affairs, launching the certified filing centres scheme

Dayanidhi Maran, Union Minister for Communication and Information Technology, recently launched the MCA-21 project in Chennai amid the presence of Prem Chand Gupta, Union Minister for Company Affairs. With this, Chennai has now become one of the 17 centres in India where MCA-21 has been introduced. The project has already been successfully implemented in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad, besides others. Maran said that the MCA-21 project was the largest full-scale deployment of IT in the Government of India (GoI) in the shortest possible time frame, and has been adopted as a ‘thrust area’ project for the GoI. Meanwhile, Prem Chand Gupta, Union Minister for Company Affairs, recently launched the certified filing centres (CFCs) scheme across the country to facilitate faster online registration of companies. CFCs have been launched as part of the MCA-21 e-Governance project. Gupta said, “The GoI is targeting to have a completely paperless ROC (Registrar of Companies) office. e-Filing would be made compulsory by midSeptember. All those interested should get their DIN (Director Identification Number) 16

H.V. Sharma, Executive Director (Passenger Marketing), Railway Board, and Mr Syed Shahabuddin, Chief General Manager (IT), SBI, recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) under which the State Bank of India (SBI) would install automated teller machines (ATMs) at 681 railway

e-Government reaches grassroots!

Mani Shankar Aiyar, Minister for Panchayati Raj, addressing a village panchayat

The Panchayati Raj ministry is planning to implement e-Government solutions at the lowest level of administration i.e. panchayats. This initiative by the central government, under its National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) is intended to take the eGovernance to the grassroots level in India. The aim is to enable all panchayats in the country to make it possible for village populace to access services offered by the panchayats online.

Mani Shankar Aiyar, Minister for Panchayati Raj said that e-Governance is one of the essential elements under the proposed Gram Swaraj programme. Aiyar said, “This would help panchayat in using IT as a tool for transparency, disclosure of information to citizens and social audit, to better deliver its mandated services to the citizens and e-Procurement. States and panchayats can also use IT for electronic tagging and tracking of funds transferred to panchayat from higher level of governments, including rapid bank transfer of funds, tracking fund transfers to, and expenditures of the panchayats.” NeGP envisages developing common standards and benchmarks to ensure the integrated application of IT at the village level. Already, a few panchayats in the States have already started implementing pilot project for e-Governance at the panchayat level with support from their respective governments. www.egovonline.net |


In an effort to extend the reach of e-Ticketing, the SBI along with the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has also agreed to provide ticketing facility through Internet ticketing kiosk at 383 major stations. Under the agreement, SBI would pay an annual licence fee of about INR100.5mn (US$2.16mn) to the Railways.

1,000 telecentres in Karnataka soon

Haryana’s ADHAAR to strengthen e-Gov

The Haryana Government plans to set up a statewide area network (SWAN) that would connect the state headquarter office at Chandigarh with all the district headquarters at the Block/Sub-Division/Tehsil/Sub-Tehsil levels in an attempt to establish a communication channel to support all its e-Governance initiatives. Named ‘ADHAAR’, meaning foundation, the initiative would act as intranet between various units in the State and enable the State Government to take e-Government services to all the rural areas, besides managing various State Government projects and programmes. The initiative is expected to be complete within a year. Haryana State Electronics Development Corporation (HARTRON) would oversee the implementation of the project. Anurag Rastogi, Managing Director, HARTRON said, “The main objective of the project is to create a robust networking infrastructure throughout the state which will ensure seamless connectivity, allow exchange of data, voice, images and facilitate such services as email messaging and video conferencing between various state government offices.” The service providers would have to operate the project on the Build Own Operate and Transfer (BOOT) model for a period of 5 years. 18

Some 1,000 telecentres on the lines of ‘Bangalore One’ would be opened soon by the State Government of Karnataka, to enable people living in rural areas to pay all their bills, apply for a passport, pay taxes and apply for Katha certificate. Rajeev Chawla, State’s e-Governance Secretary, said that the proposed telecentres would be opened at Hoblis and linked by VSAT connectivity. Chawla said, “People in other parts of Karnataka would be able to pay their bills, buy bus passes, check land records and access 38 services of the Revenue Department through kiosks at telecentres. People would also be able to lodge a police complaint from there,” and added, “It is also proposed to sell air tickets in ‘Bangalore One’ centres and talks were on with airlines such as Kingfisher, Air Deccan and Indian.”

Study group to promote eGovernance in Delhi

A.K. Walia, Delhi Planning and Finance Minister, with Sheila Dixit, Chief Minister of Delhi

A study group has been formed to speed up computerising of all its major departments by the Delhi government in order to advance its e-Governance projects. A.K. Walia, Delhi

Planning and Finance Minister, said that he has instructed senior officers of the departments of trade and taxes, excise and entertainment to speed up the process of computerisation in their respective departments to further e-Governance in Delhi. According to state authorities, efforts were on to ensure online filing of monthly returns by 6,000 traders. At present, there were only 700 key dealers to adopt e-Filing of annual returns.

Tamil Nadu to introduce e-Stamping

Kaliagnar M. Karunanidhi, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu

M. R. K. Panneerselvam, Tamil Nadu’s Backward Classes Minister, recently announced in the State Assembly that the Tamil Nadu Government was mulling to introduce an e-Stamping facility in order to prevent registration in fake stamp papers and thus try to offset revenue losses suffered by the Government. Panneerselvam said, “The previous AIADMK regime did not implement this even though the Union Government had brought in amendments in the Registration Act, 1908, making affixing of photos of registrants mandatory.” He revealed that the DMK Government has introduced e-Stamping with effect from 1st July to prevent fraudulent and benami transactions, and benefit the people. The Government has also ordered affixing of holographic stickers on registered documents and the certificates issued by the department in order to differentiate between fake documents and original ones. www.egovonline.net |


REGION FOCUS Karnataka is one of the leaders in e-Governance. Large number of e-Governance initiatives has already happened in the State. Karnataka has a very clear-cut roadmap in place, contends Rajeev Chawla, Secretary (e-Governance), Government of Karnataka, in an interview to Prachi Shirur of egov

‘Karnataka has a clear-cut, successful roadmap for e-Governance’ X What are your plans in taking ahead eGovernance initiatives in Karnataka? Karnataka is one of the leaders in e-Governance. Large number of e-Governance initiatives has already happened in Karnataka. We have ‘Bhoomi’ in place. Bhoomi is a farmer friendly mechanism to access and update land records using stateof-art technology. We have subways in computers for Kaveri in place. We have a very successful ‘Bangalore-one’ in place. ‘Khazani’, which handles the treasury applications, is in place. These are statewide applications. We are now in the process of finalising a vendor for e-Procurement, which will be in place very shortly. We have gone ahead with selection of 800 rural telecentres. These are the projects that cut across departments. But there are individual departments that are also undertaking e-Governance initiatives. They are recognising the need to digitise their processes and have initiated several projects. The | September 2006

agriculture department is going ahead with its mission-mode project. The food department is now computerising 10 million ration cards. All this data will finally help us in delivering a lot of services to citizens. On one side while we are creating a common infrastructure and on the other hand, we are helping all the departments, whichever are the critical departments, facilitate them to go forward in fulfilling their goal of e-Governance. X Do you have the roadmap to e-Governance laid out for the State? Yes. Thanks to the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) most of the States in India now have the roadmaps ready. Karnataka has a very clear-cut roadmap. X Can you please detail out the e-Governance roadmap of Karnataka? The first thing is obviously that we create the common infrastructure, which is

required for the State. Data centres are in place, telecentres are coming up, and statewide area network is now coming up. Once this common infrastructure is created then we have identified some departments, which are exclusively citizen-centric. These include agriculture, food department, taluka and tehsil office (tehsil or taluk is an administrative subdivision or tier), Deputy Commissioner’s office, District Magistrate’s office, social welfare department, women and child welfare department. These are the departments, which will be taken up for the first phase so that immediately citizens are able to understand the importance of e-Governance, and so to have a buy-in from them. On the other hand, electronic Procurement would go on, which will ensure efficiency within the government and give credibility to the government itself thus ensuring that e-Governance is leading to savings for the state and the nation. 19


X You have just mentioned about the buy-in of e-Governance from citizens, what about the political buy-in from the government? We have seen in the last 3-4 years there is a perceptible change in the mindset of the bureaucrats at the higher level. For example, when we wanted to go ahead with the 800 telecentres, Government of India’s scheme had not yet come but we were in fact forced by the higher bureaucracy to rethink about it. Whereas, in e-Procurement, what I am seeing is that the finance department, the Chief Secretary of the State is saying to immediately start the process. So now, clarity is coming, people talk this, or if they do not talk at least when you talk they understand this language, and support, which is very exciting. Primarily, it must also be because of the demonstration effect. What we have done in Karnataka must be in their mind. e-Government programmes like Bhoomi, Khazani, when they see, and they hear from everybody. Take the example of Bhoomi, three

Budgetary allocation is the last of my problem. My problem is how to spend the money. Gone are the days when Bhoomi was implemented by the State government. successive governments, which have come, all claim that they have implemented the programme. So there is a programme, which everyone says, “We have done!” “We own it”. Not only the politicians, but also the bureaucrats are claiming to own it. In the food department, 10 million ration cards are getting digitised the department is very excited. So there are very positive signals from Government in Karnataka. X What are the challenges you face in implementing the e-Government programme in Karnataka? Once the data is digitised, application is put in place and employees actually fol20

low. The problem lies with the senior people like us who do not have the zeal to pursue. We do not design systems keeping in mind the details. We just buy hardware and we do not know what to do. If we have well designed applications, keeping in mind the data. In Karnataka, 10,000 village accountants learnt computers and they worked because we gave them applications, which actually they wanted. I think the biggest challenge as of today would be the government data digitisation - the content. The government plans to have one Common Service Centre (CSC) per 6 villages in the country. However, this CSC scheme of the government is not paying adequate attention to the content issue. If you do not create data, and then have proper applications, and the machinery, people will have no problem. All the departmental heads should design appropriate applications. X What is the total e-Government budget for Karnataka? Budgetary allocation is the last of my problem. My problem is how to spend the money. I have now gone ahead with the e-Procurement. Money is not to be spent by the State government. Gone are the days when Bhoomi was implemented by the State government. Now we have a business model these days. So, money is not any issue at all. This year I am told my budget is INR80mn (US$1.72mn), last year the budget was INR1500mn (US$32.25mn), and I did not know how to spend that money. In Bangalore-one project, I spent nothing; I just prepared sites by spending just INR30mn (US$6.45mn). So what I feel is that money is not an issue at all in most of the districts of Karnataka. Whenever you require infrastructure project, someone is funding this project. There has been no issue of money anywhere in the country. X When you talk about content, the issue that is important is the data privacy and security. What is your take on the issue of data privacy and security? I am concerned on security issue more than privacy. I am perhaps worried about security of the data. One has to understand regarding how to secure your data. I will give you an example. Recently, we had a

strike in Karnataka. I have an attendance monitoring system, biometrics and SMART card enabled, because the employees knew that can be caught in case of absenteeism, therefore they cut the wires of all the readers. I got it restored in the night. But think about if the same thing happens at the taluka servers! Not only physical security, there is also the risk from internal threats from inside the department. Data security is of so prime importance, and people in this country have not yet matured to the level to understand its importance. But that is the way. It’s the first wave that has come for e-Governance. People have to understand its pitfalls. X What role does private partners have in e-Governance, does it strengthen the public sector in its endeavour? In creating private partnership, as I just mentioned, you have to be very clear on the security aspects. For instance, in the Bangalore-one you have to be clear on who has the database administrator, who pushed the new application, who pushed the patch, what is being put in the patch, who has validated the patch, user acceptance testing, the sequel server database access, the operating system administrator password, user-manager passwordsthese cannot be given to them. People have to understand that when you are using the PPP (public-private partnership) model, your responsibilities are increasing, because some outside party is there. However, there is a huge value-add to the e-Governance project when you have a partnership with private player. If you design a system well using the PPP model, that is the best way of doing things. But you have to careful. That does not mean you run away from the PPP model itself. You have to take the good qualities of a PPP model and at the same time alleviate those risks that come along with the PPP model. For instance, MCA21 (Ministry of Company Affairs project) is being implemented in collaboration with TCS, but that does not mean that the company affair just gives everything away to TCS, the backend control needs to remain with the government at all times. Who will own the database? Who has the control over the backend? These and similar question need to be raised in the PPP model because everything is outsourced there. www.egovonline.net |


IN PRACTICE Indian Mines Safety Information System

Providing able compliance monitoring framework M A J Jeyaseelan

O

ften it is the government machin ery, which is held responsible for everything bad about governance. In reality though, constraints and deficiencies in the administrative system are the actual causes behind such performance glitches. Timeliness, Efficiency, Security, Transparency, Equity, and Responsibility (TESTER) are attributes that more or less sum up the current concerns about the quality of governance. The challenge, however, is in putting good governance to work. Paper documents and files, which are still the mainstay of governance, severely impede the performance of governments. The greatest advantage of e-Governance is its capacity to equip the government functionaries with greater management control and efficient decision support systems. However, countries could get the best out of e-Governance only by applying it to core areas of governance and ensuring that such ICT applications perform well on all counts of good governance.

It is no mean challenge when it comes to building efficient e-Government solutions. There are hardly any software solutions in core areas of governance like regulatory compliance monitoring. Indian Mines Safety Information System is now India’s first regulatory compliance monitoring application showcasing what eGovernance could do for good governance

Indian Mines Safety Information System (IMSIS) Building efficient e-Governance solutions is no mean challenge. In fact, there are hardly any software solutions in core areas of governance like regulatory compliance monitoring. Indian Mines Safety Information System (IMSIS) is India’s first regulatory compliance monitoring application. It is also a showcase of what e-Governance could do for good governance. It provides compliance monitoring framework with respect to the Mines Act, 1952; Mines Rules, 1955; Coal Mines Regulations, 1957; Mines Rescue Rules, 1985 and Indian Electricity Rules, 1956. IMSIS is an 22

outcome of the Coal Mine Safety and Health Project, a joint initiative of United States Department of Labour (US-DOL), and Ministry of Labour, Government of India. IMSIS is currently in use at the Directorate General of Mines Safety (DGMS). It provides end-to-end solution for compiling all the data collected during the mandatory safety inspections of coalmines into a structured database and automating the

generation of statutory reports and violation letters and also tracking the initial and follow up actions taken against each violation. IMSIS application replaces physical movement of files with electronic transmission of documents that contain data, drafts, notes, attachments, flags, etc. that usually form part of any conventional file used in government. IMSIS also provides database back ended mailbox for each user www.egovonline.net |


with facilities for opening forms, files, and documents received or sent. The data model of IMSIS provides simple methods for capturing and processing complex data sets with the help of standardisation and automated generation of Unique Identification Codes. IMSIS is deployed as a web service operable over the Internet and Local Area Networks. It can be ported on to any of the popular RDBMS, Web Servers, Application Servers, and Operating Systems. An important feature of IMSIS is the knowledgebase it creates by capturing all the complex entity and data relationships to the last detail and by employing extensive standardisation and parameterisation to generate effective decision support information and predictive intelligence. IMSIS was conceived in response to a typical challenge that is common to most government organisations. Though coal production was going up significantly, the number officials available at DGMS for carrying out coal mine inspections remained almost static. IMSIS had a clear service objective of reducing the time taken in the generation of statutory inspection reports and tracking of violations. Tendering and Vendor Selection: The implementing agency adopted the conventional two part tendering process consisting of technical and financial bids for selecting the vendor for developing IMSIS. The vendor selection process did involve detailed process of evaluating the technical bids because of the pioneering nature of the software application — the tender was accompanied by a process mapping study, which clearly defined all the desired functionalities as deliverables; the assessment criteria gave significant weightage to demonstrable capacities with specific reference to the desired functionalities. The vendors were required to spell out how they proposed to implement the functionalities technically; Vendors shortlisted on the basis of technical bid were given the opportunity make technical presentations before final selection; and participation was truly open like for any national competition and there was | September 2006

no pre-qualification requirements either in terms of turn over or quality certification. The process mapping study carried out before tendering actually helped in not only assessing the bids strictly in terms of the requirements of the project but also monitoring the implementation process effectively. Development and Implementation: Technology is no more a barrier for building effective e-Governance solutions. Yet, it does take considerable effort for first time applications to measure up to the expectations of users and pass the test of

tions based on IMSIS could be cut to half, none of the development stages of IMSIS could be missed out. Testing the application at different stages of development is necessary to make it sustainable in the long run. Besides having a strategic plan for involving the users who would be often too busy and testing the applications against exceptional cases, which do not occur very frequently, it would be preferable also to provision for two or three revisions of the application as part of the software implementation process itself.

Some lessons from IMSIS

good governance. Interactive involvement of the different strata of users during development played a critical role in not only fine-tuning the IMSIS application, but also making it acceptable to all users. Expectations varied widely from user to user depending on the role one played within IMSIS. The IMSIS project took 45 months to complete after being started. Though the implementation time for similar applica-

One of the important revelations of IMSIS is the fact e-Governance in general do have a few unique requirements, which need to be taken in to account at the design stage itself. Need for action-based differentiation of access and usage rights: Government mechanisms do contain an elaborate system of accountability and checks and balances. Rules not only specify the competent authority for taking any particular action within a given jurisdiction but also allow a single person to be the competent authority in multiple jurisdictions. Such situations do call for detailed definition of access and usage rights based on the actions one performs within a given jurisdiction. Inside IMSIS for example, though users can enter inspection data only for the mines falling under their jurisdiction, they are given the right to read or copy data pertaining to any mine. While senior officials could read the information submitted by junior officials and add their own notes or comments, they are denied the right to alter the data submitted by junior officials. Need for replicating existing processes as much as possible: Rules also invariably spell out the procedures for taking any actions. It is better to ensure that e-Governance applications emulate the existing process flows as far as possible keeping modifications within the bounds of extant laws for cutting down implementation delays and minimising transition costs. IMSIS has been implemented without hav23


ing to change any rule or add a single person. IMSIS has been able to automate the existing processes simply by creating the electronic alternatives to key components of governance process such as files, part files, flags, forms, note sheets, drafts, registers, attachments and the like. These generic components also make IMSIS easily replicable for any kind of e-Governance application. Need for preserving the evidentiary nature of information: It is because every governance action can be subject to subsequent enquiries, records are required to be maintained in paper format with inked signatures to provide unassailable information about who wrote what and when. IMSIS model does offer a solution to cope with this issue. IMSIS stores all the data inside the database along with accurate date and time stamps and clear user identification. Since it is still a moot question whether information held inside databases would be admissible as evidence, IMSIS also includes the option of storing electronic documents in encrypted PDF format also. A common feature of the conventional governance processes is the distinction between a draft and official documents. It is necessary to retain this demarcation in e-Governance applications too. IMSIS, besides separating out draft work, generates of editable word documents when user does only draft work. Need for seamless integration of public and internal interfaces: A key objective of e-Governance applications is to reduce the difficulties faced by the citizens in dealing with governments. However, only end-to-end solutions that seamlessly integrate both the public and government interfaces could give citizens the full benefit of e-Governance. In the case of law and order, for example the police station where the citizen goes to lodge the FIR is a public interface. The investigation that follows is the internal process that takes place in response to the FIR. The case filed in the court following FIR and investigation might actually involve multiple public interfaces involving the complainant, defendant, and the witnesses. We really cannot make the citizen happier by enabling eFiling of FIR only. The e-Governance service centres could be only as efficient as the level of automation achieved in the 24

back end processes. The IMSIS model clearly shows that automated internal processes could make service deliveries through public interfaces fast and convenient. IMSIS like architecture could also be the most cost effective for meeting the growing burden of work emanating from the Right to Information Act. Need for a data model to deal with complex sets of data: Apart from the fact that Governments deal with much more complex sets of data, there are also compelling reasons for e-Governance applications to represent such data in all its complexity. There are two types of complexities. The first relates to the question of unique identification of any entity in its whole and parts. The challenge is not so much in dealing with extended hierarchical relationships going down to 9 to 10 levels, but the need to generate such unique identifications dynamically. The second relates to measurements of both quantitative and qualitative data. The challenge here is one of translating particularly the qualitative data in to decision support variables. This certainly calls for comprehensive parameterisation and standardisation of all data. IMSIS shows the way for not only dynamically generating unique identification codes (UIC) for every data that goes in to the database but also generating, storing and analysing parameterised values. IMSIS also includes a procedure for associating multiple UIC codes with any data and creating structured relations among these. The hierarchy of mine entities goes down to seven levels with the mine at the top to the dip at the last level. In between are Unit, Seam, Sections, Panel, and Working Face. In addition, IMSIS also handles many other entity hierarchies and the data relationships that go with these. Need to cope with frequent changes in the laws and procedures: Governance is a continuous learning process. Both the rules and are procedures could always change in response to new needs. At the same time historical knowledge captured into databases will always be immense value for future decision-making. e-Governance applications must therefore adopt an architecture in which subsequent changes could be incorporated in the applications without missing past data. Apart from the UIC codes attached to each data

that would help preserve the old data or map it or relate it to a new element, the forms used by IMSIS to capture data also allow for easy addition or deletion of fields. Without such facilities, e-Governance applications might actually become a shackle. Need to predefine data population and migration strategies: Another major challenge is the management of historical data. Data migration would also become when changes are made in existing applications. A clear strategy must be defined from the beginning about managing past data and migrating the data in future. Facilities must be also provided for easy inter change of data through standard interfaces like XML together with a schema that uniquely identifies each element of data. IMSIS, while providing XML based data interfaces, also ensures unique identification of each data element. It was decided right from the beginning that IMSIS would use only new data. The entry of past data would be limited to the latest one year.

The IMSIS Model The raison d’etre for e-Governance is good governance. Timeliness, Efficiency, Security, Transparency, Equity, and Responsibility (TESTER) are attributes that more or less sum up the current concerns about the quality of governance. Every e-Governance application must therefore pass the test of good governance.

Conclusion It is evident that good governance can in fact be achieved better through e-Governance applications that comply with the unique requirements of governments and meeting the specific needs of good governance. The issues identified by this case study can indeed form the basis of a checklist for evaluating e-Governance applications. Surely, the scope of this checklist could be progressively expanded by adding lessons learnt while implementing other e-Governance services. About the author M A J Jeyaseelan is Director, Infotwins Technologies, New Delhi, India

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WORLD Jamaica’s Customs Online System to be emulated

The pilot project of Jamaica’s Customs Automates Services Online System would be emulated by the respective Customs departments in the Latin American and Caribbean nations. Jamaica recently hosted a best practices workshop with a group of customs personnel from Latin American and Caribbean countries. Colin Bullock, Jamaica’s Financial Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Planning, said that the system was developed by the state-owned Information Technology company Fiscal Services Limited (FSL) to enhance and make Custom’s revenue

NEWS REVIEW generating system less dependent on the central government budget. Accordingly, the Jamaica Customs Department has been able to achieve increased levels of efficiency, improved service delivery to the public, safeguard against losses and provide increased revenue to the government. Besides, the system provides the global trading community with an Internet interface with Jamaica Customs allowing relevant stakeholders to query the status of transactions while accessing the latest updates, information and services.

Early Warning Systems for KwaZulu-Natal Mike Mabuyakhulu, KwaZulu-Natal Local Government MEC (Member of Executive Council), recently launched the Electronic Monitoring and Management Assistance Programme (Essa) to provide early warning systems regarding financial mismanagement in 61 municipalities. The move comes in the wake of the Auditor-General’s report citing

grave financial mismanagement in several provincial municipalities. Some 55% municipalities are reported to be indulging in financial irregularities or mismanagement. According to Mabuyakhulu, all 61 provincial municipalities would be able access the new system through the Internet. The system would also allow the designated official, sitting in the provincial capital Pietermaritzburg, to monitor the financial situation of any of the 61 provincial municipalities, check the budgeting process and information relating to service delivery. Serving as an early warning system, the system enables the government to sensitise municipalities on their areas of weakness and immediately recommend corrective measures.

Usage of e-Gov services in Australia growing

Cloning of e-Passports possible The Passport-upgrading scheme or e-Passports being currently pursued by the USA, UK and other countries is facing roadblocks owing to security considerations. Lukas Grunwald, a Consultant with a German security company, while speaking at the Defcon security conference in Las Vegas recently, revealed his discovery of the method for cloning the information stored in the new passports. During the hacking process, data can be transferred onto blank chips that could be later implanted in fake passports by criminals. The hacking principle, it is believed, could also be applied to any new passport issued in the USA, UK and other countries. This discovery has also raised serious concerns about the increasing use of RFID (Radiofrequency Identification). The RFID technology allows everyday objects such as store merchandise, livestock and security documents to beam electronic data to computers equipped with special antennas. Currently, Germany is using RFID in passports to help border officials guard against forgeries and automate the processing of international visitorsThe US Government is also planning to begin embedding RFID in passports by October this year. Besides, since March 2006 the UK Government has been issuing a biometric version of passport that contains physical identification information to the applicants. | September 2006

A recent Australian Government survey indicated that confidence in e-Government services usage by Australians has been growing, and that some 48% of them had accessed e-Government services in 2005 as compared to 39% in 2004. Gary Nairn, Special Minister of State, said the 2006 Australia’s Use of and Satisfaction with e-Government Services report demonstrated that there has been increasing confidence in e-Government services by the people, and illustrates the potential of e-Government to improve the range and quality of services provided by the government. The number of people interacting with the government over the Internet has also increased from 14% to 19%. 25


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SAP, IIM-B to focus on CMS help UP e-Gov initiatives in Government launch public sector e-Suvidha project

Henning Kagermann SAP CEO

SAP India and Indian Institute of Management – Bangalore (IIM-B) have entered into a partnership to focus on eGovernance initiatives in the public sector in India. Alan Sedghi, SAP India President and CEO, and Shyamal Roy, IIM-B Academic Dean, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in this regard. According to the MoU, SAP would support IIM-B’s Centre for Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) while IIMB would assist SAP in creating, sharing and disseminating knowledge relating to use of ERP and the pursuit of e-Governance in public sector. Meanwhile, Henning Kagermann, SAP CEO, has announced that SAP would invest about US$1bn in India over the next 5 years. Kagermann, who inaugurated an office in Gurgaon recently, acknowledged India as one of the top eight strategic and one of most important markets for SAP, and which has become a strategic hub in the region. “India continues to grow in its importance to SAP. We are seeing phenomenal growth in demand for our solutions from Indian enterprises,” he said. Kagermann also declared that a Centre for Excellence would be set up at Gurgaon to showcase various SAP applications that enable successful government transformation. In the next few years, India is expected to make significant investments in eGovernment. 26

The Uttar Pradesh government recently launched the e-Suvidha project in Lucknow with the assistance of CMS Computers Ltd., a Hyderabad-based IT company, in a significant step to steer the e-Government process in Uttar Pradesh. The project was formalised following an agreement by the state IT department, UP Power Corporation Ltd. and CMS. According to the government, e-Suvidha services would be free for the power consumer depositing bills at its centres. Besides, power consumers would be able to pay their electricity bills in over 32 centres. N. C. Bajpai, UP Chief Secretary, informed that e-Suvidha, an ambitious e-Governance programme, is an information technologyenabled public utility interface that would

eventually connect across the state after initially being implemented in Lucknow. Upon becoming fully operational, e-Suvidha would connect select services and information of state, central and semi-government department and agencies for providing onestop solution with a ‘single window all services’ concept. During the first phase, 5 eSuvidha centres and 29 e-Suvidha kiosks would be established.

HP’s Electronic Prescribing and Eligibility System for Northern Ireland The Government of Northern Ireland has decided to do away with paper prescriptions, and would embark on to develop an eprescriptions service with the help of Hewlett Packard (HP). The Department of Health and Social Services and Public Safety recently announced that Hewlett Packard Northern Ireland would be developing the Electronic Prescribing and Eligibility System (EPES) following an 8-year contract. Paul Simpson, deputy secretary at the health department, said that community pharmacies across Northern Ireland would be equipped with an electronic system to transfer prescriptions over the next two years. Simpson said, “The computerised system is expected to save the department the department GBP4mn (US$7.56mn) in administration costs and improve patient safety. A two dimensional barcode on prescriptions would reduce transcription errors, increase efficiency and improve communication between family doctors, pharmacists, and the health department.” The system is also expected to help stop fraud by cross-referencing patient and prescription information against social security and other records. The e-prescription service is being delivered as part of the NHS national IT programme in the UK. The programme envisages every GP surgery to have access to the service by 2007 as per original schedule. However, the system has unable to make significant headway beyond pilot schemes. www.egovonline.net |


COUNTRY FOCUS The Nepalese Government has been fully aware of the potential of ICT from the beginning. However, in the 1990s the government could not realise the socioeconomic benefits of ICT but since the dawn of new millennium numerous efforts are being made to harness the potential of ICT for democracy, political stability and socio-economic transformation. The Government has formulated a masterplan for the realisation of the e-Government now

Nepal e-Government masterplan

Striding decisively Bimal Pratap Shah, Young Sik Kim and Chang Hak Choi

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he ICT (Information and Commu nication Technology) revolution has stimulated transformational socio-economic shifts around the world with an ever-increasing reliance on ICT. The shift is a result of ICT’s unprecedented ability to process, store, and retrieve, duplicate and transmit information unconstrained by time, distance, and volume. There has been a profound impact of ICT on political, economical, social and cultural values. For example, email communications have jumped 32 times from 20 million email users worldwide in 1994 to 651 million in 2005. As such, this new human achievement suggests an era of true globalisation on a scale never witnessed before. Moreover, ICT comes with promises of new opportunities in liberating marginalised communities in developing countries. However, as of now ICT driven socio-economic development simply remains a potential requiring careful planning, if realistic outcomes are to be achieved. For a truly empowering undertaking, governments should be deeply committed to exploiting ICT’ for the benefits of its citizens. 28

ICT and Nepal Government The Nepal Government has been fully aware of the potential of ICT from the start. In 1971, the first computer (IBM 1401) was introduced to the country for census purposes, followed by the establishment of the National Computer Centre (NCC) in 1974. Unfortunately, in 1996 the NCC was dissolved. Although the government could not realize the socio-economic benefits of ICT in the 1990s, since the dawn of the new millennium there have been numerous efforts to harness the potential of ICT for democracy, political stability and socio-economic transformation. For a while now, many have been trying to link the success of e-Commerce with the public administration. The concept of e-Government is the result of long-standing quest to find the missing link between the two sectors. In April 2002, the Gartner Group made the startling announcement that “more than 60 percent of all e-government initiatives either fail or fall short of expected outcomes”. The pundits of the new public management were quick to put the blame on illiteracy, inadequate infrastructure, and government’s scarce financial resources. www.egovonline.net |


However, scholarly observations have revealed that governments are failing at the planning stage. Most of the time, plans start with an e-readiness assessment focused on government’s infrastructure, Internet access, and IT literacy, ignoring non-technology issues like policy, institutional inflexibility, and leadership. Planning for technology is generally the easiest part because the hardware and software involved is becoming more userfriendly, powerful, and reliable. In Nepal, the High Level Commission for Information Technology (HLCIT) and the National Information Technology Centre (NITC) duly understand and acknowledge the importance of planning. HLCIT is an apex body formed under the chair of the Prime Minister to provide crucial strategic direction to formulate appropriate policy responses for the development of the ICT sector. NITC is currently the secretariat of HCLIT and was established in the year 2002 in line with IT Policy 2000, and was originally under the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST). NITC’s main objectives are to build a knowledgebased society by supporting knowledgebased institutions and promote and develop ICT by making it accessible to the public. NITC is responsible for the implementation of any ICT-related initiatives in the government including e-Government.

National e-Government masterplan HLCIT and NITC have jointly developed the National e-Government Master Plan (NEMP) with technical assistance from Korea IT Industry Promotion Agency (KIPA). The masterplan was completed as scheduled in July 2006. HLCIT requested Korean support because currently it ranks 5 th on the “2005 Global e-Government | September 2006

Readiness Index” published by the United Nations. KIPA and HLCIT signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in December 2005. In January 2006, an e-Government steering committee and working committee were formed to further the e-Government masterplan. The steering committee consisted of the joint secretaries of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), the Ministry of General Administration (MOGA), the Ministry of Information and

strengths of IT Policy 2000 and Telecommunication Policy 2004 were studied. The analysis of ICT diffusion showed only 4% of the population had access to telephone services, with 87,000 lines in distribution. There are 38 Internet Service Providers (ISP) with 59 regional points and 240,000 Internet subscribers with a PC penetration rate of 6.2 per 1,000. Four universities and affiliated colleges offer ICT-related degrees, with over 4,000 students graduating annually.

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Communication (MOIC), the Ministry of Environment, Science, and Technology (MOEST), the executive director of NITC, and full time member of HLCIT. The working committee consisted of ICT professionals from HLCIT, NITC, and MOIC and the e-Government advisor of NITC. The steering committee’s role was to monitor progress and provide insights, and the working committee’s role was to provide KIPA with information and report on progress and problems to the steering committee on a bi-monthly basis. The e-Government masterplan development project officially started on 28th February 2006. The project was divided into three phases — “As is Analysis”, “Tobe-Model”, and “Establishment Plan”. The “As Is Analysis” phase included analysis of policies related to ICT, its current state in Nepal, a requirement analysis, benchmarking, and ICT trends. For policy analysis, the shortcomings and

The results of a Computer Association of Nepal (CAN) October 2005 survey regarding the ICT workforce showed that 66% have a permanent job, and 44% have ICT-related qualifications. Women constitute only 18% of the potential workforce. The results imply that to penetrate in the ICT industry, it is imperative to devise a systematic approach in setting up ICT policies focused on execution and to establish ICT diffusion plan focused on provision of low cost PCs and ICT education. Besides, there is also a need to build infrastructure, in terms of an IP broadband access network and access points using WLL (wireless loop) and wired lines. The results of the survey regarding the Informatisation status of the central government indicate that presently several government agencies are operating database driven applications running on medium sized servers. The majority of government agencies are using Microsoft (MS) Windows operating systems and MS Office due to accessibility of pirated software. A few agencies have developed their own customised applications focused on e-Administration, e.g. Budget Management Systems (BMS) by the Ministry of Finance (MOF), Integrated Voters Regis29


tration Systems (IVRS) and District Voter Registration Systems (DVRS) by the Election Commission (EC), Document Management System by HLCIT, and One Stop Government Portal by NITC. This indicates there is a need to share computerization plans among the government offices in order to prevent overlapping. Twenty-four high-ranking bureaucrats (HRB) comprising secretaries, joint secretaries, under secretaries and 18 ICT Focal Points (FP) of different ministries and commissions were interviewed to map the re-

which administrative services most needed computerisation, 45% talked of National ID, 13% customer services, and 12% tax services. Finally, regarding what projects were needed to realise e-Government in Nepal 30% prioritised expansion of telecommunications infrastructure and 30% prioritised expansion of ICT education. Ten mid-size businesses were also surveyed — 25% felt that relaxation of government regulations was the most important factor for the development of

HLCIT and NITC have jointly developed the National e-Government Master Plan (NEMP) with technical assistance from Korea IT Industry Promotion Agency (KIPA). The masterplan was completed as scheduled in July 2006 quirement analysis. The results indicate that 60% percent of HRB and 83% of ICT focal points acknowledged the lack of ICT professionals as the foremost obstacle for e-Government transformation. Thus, securing a skilled workforce will be key to successful implementation. There is a need for the recruitment of ICT-literate civil servants and the provision of basic training programs for civil servants. Further, there has to be top-level commitment from government for effective execution. To establish the “To-Be-Model”, more than 100 students, adults, ICT experts, and ICT-literate citizens from rural areas were surveyed. The survey focused on the urban perimeter due to the low ICT literacy of semi-urban and rural areas. The survey results indicate that 91% percent used PCs at home; 31% use PCs for Internet searches; 30% use PCs for educational purposes; and 70% use dial up connections to access the Internet. In terms of frequently used administrative services, 33 % said resident registration and 15% said real estate. For administrative purposes, 89% visited government offices, of which 41% felt that the slow execution of the government processes needed to be improved, 31% thought customer satisfaction was unsatisfactory, and 25% thought the complicated workflow needed to be simplified. When asked 30

economy; 30% had over 100 PCs and 30% had between 50-100 PCs; 55% used dial-up and 27% percent used wireless for Internet access. For the most frequently used services, 55% responded that they used tax services; 47% said they visited government offices for services; 40% felt that slow work execution needed improvement; 40% felt the complicated workflow needed improvement; and 50% responded that providing administrative services through the Internet and expanding services through the Internet were the top two priority projects for e-Government transformation. Forty-three civil servants were selected randomly and interviewed — 30% had used PCs for 5-10 years; 28% had used PCs for more than 10 years; 37% responded that they spent 3-5 hours daily on the Internet; 56% said that they used dial-up access; 40% wanted to take up programming; 21% wanted to learn how to better use the Internet; 56% responded that interdepartmental work was the most important factor for improving administrative services; 51% felt that National ID system would prove most useful in terms administrative services for citizens and businesses; and 73% responded that no regulations or policies on computerisation existed in their respective departments. In

terms of developing Nepalese economy through e-Government, administrative service informatisation was prioritised by 31%, improving the civil service 27%, and improving administrative efficiency by 24%. In order to ensure that the e-Government masterplan technology is current, ICT trends were analysed. The results of the ICT trend analysis are divided into five categories — Planning, Application Support, Security, Communication and Network, and Systems Management. Planning includes standards and techniques for blueprints and action plans with technologies such as Enterprise Architecture and Business Process Reengineering. Application Support includes standards, tools, and technology to support integration of information and applications such as Groupware, Enterprise Portal and Knowledge Management. Security includes technology and protocol for integrity and authorisation and technologies such as Virtual Private Network, Intrusion Prevention System. Communication and Network include technologies such as Optical Cross Connection, Multi Service Provisioning Protocol, Metro Ethernet, and WIMAX. Finally, Systems Management includes technology for managing ICT assets such as H/W, N/W and DBMS technologies such as Internet Data Centre and Disaster Recovery. After policy analysis, e-readiness assessment, ICT trend analysis, benchmarking studies, and requirement analysis of the Critical Customer Requirements (CCR) for e-Government transformation are identified. Twenty-one CCRs were identified through selecting the prerequisites to establishing e-Government in Nepal. The strategy is divided into four main categories — Citizen-centred services, transparent services, networked government, and building infrastructure. Citizen-Centred services provide online government services and diversification of civil service channels. Transparent services comprise opening administrative information, and providing one-stop government administration services. Networked government includes computerisation of government and administration processes. Building infrastructure relates to improving laws www.egovonline.net |


and regulations for e-Government, and construction of advanced ICT infrastructure. To formulate an e-Government vision and mission, a one-day workshop brought together civil servants, academics, private sector representatives, and civil society. The vision statement was utilised as a guide for implementing strategies while the mission is utilised as a guide for formulating strategies. The vision is to “Build a competitive democratic country by establishing citizen centred, transparent and networked government through utilization of advanced ICT”. The goals of the administrative services for e-Government are divided into 4 categories — Government-to-Citizen (G2C), Government-to-Business (G2B), Government-to-Government (G2G), and Infrastructure. G2C deals with the relationship between government and citizens. G2B consists of electronic interactions between government agencies and private businesses. G2G refers to the relationship between governmental organisations at national, regional and local level. Online communication and cooperation allows government agencies and departments to share databases, resources, and pool skills, and capabilities enhancing the efficiency and affectivity of processes. Achieving infrastructure involves preparing the foundations needed for e-Government and to provide advanced administration services.

Status of e-Government in Nepal According to the five promotion stages specified by the UN and the American Society of Public Administration (UNASPA, 2002), Nepal is currently at stage 1. This means government websites have been created to provide basic information in a static manner. The e-Government roadmap states that by the end of 2011 Nepal will have reached at stage 3. To move from the second stage to the third stage, there should be two-way transactions, access to services through various channels, knowledge-based administrative processes, and pan-governmental collaborative network for knowledge sharing. The top twenty priority projects were selected with an evaluation method recommended by KIPA. The projects were 32

assigned points according to the two evaluation indicators, Importance and Feasibility. According to the Importance factor, the top 20 priority projects were selected and classified under G2C, G2B, G2G, or infrastructure. G2C projects include National ID, a Government Representative Portal, a Passport Registration System, e-health, e-election, e-vehicle registration, e-driver’s license, e-petition, and e-agriculture. G2B projects include Recruitment and Employment Information System, e-customs, e-procurement, e-patents, e-tourism, and e-commerce. G2G projects include e-tax, an Immigration Management System, e-education, e-land, a Management Information Systems, and e-authentication. Infrastructure projects include public key infrastructure, a Government Integrated Data Centre, and enterprise architecture. The projects will be implemented in two phases — first phase (2007-8) and second phase (2009-11). In the first phase, projects having direct impact on the citizens and infrastructure projects that are the bedrock of successful e-Government transformation would be implemented. Therefore, the first phase would focus on the Government Representative Portal, National ID, Enterprise Architecture, Government Integrated Data Centre, Public Key Infrastructure, ICT organisation, the establishment of basic Acts, national unified code system development, and the expansion of ICT infrastructure. Without a legal framework, electronic transformation cannot be successful. Therefore, three main legal frameworks are recommended. They are as follows: Laws on National Informatisation Promotion; Laws on ICT Industry Promotion; and Laws on ICT Infrastructure Construction. Laws on National Informatisation Promotion should include Law on Informatisation promotion; Law on eGovernment Creation; and Law on Disclosing Administrative Information. Laws on ICT Industry Promotion necessitates including Law to Promote the Software Industry; Law to Promote Online Digital Contents Industry; Law on e-Transaction; Law on Automation of Trading; and Law on Intellectual Property Rights. Laws on ICT Infrastructure Construction needs to include Law to Narrow the

Informatisation Gap to bridge the digital divide and promote access to the rural areas of Nepal); Law on Protection of Personal Information; Law on e-Signature (for legalization of online e-signatures such as fingerprints, scanned signatures, and legal seals); Law on Protection of Telecommunication Secrecy; and Law on ICT Network Usage Promotion and Information Protection. Bench marking studies from the USA, Korea and India have suggested that there needs to be a powerful committee under the head of government to foresee implementation of the e-Government masterplan. The e-Government masterplan has recommended the formation of an e-Government steering committee directly under the Prime Minister of Nepal. The steering committee would be extremely powerful as it controls the funding and architecture, defines, writes and maintains the standards and priorities for development and controls the users of data. The steering committee also needs to input ideas from different ministries, organisations and citizens. The steering committee would be responsible for reviewing the overall e-Government masterplan. The results of “As is Analysis” identify Human Resource Development (HRD) as the most essential element for successful implementation of the e-Government masterplan. To achieve human resource development, Nepal should introduce an ICT-related curriculum for secondary education, expand provision of e learning, provide ICT training for bureaucrats, introduce an Informatisation Village, and improve computer literacy. About the authors Bimal Pratap Shah is eGovernment Strategist, National Information Technology Center, Ministry of Environment, Science, and Technology, Nepal. Young Sik Kim is e-Government Advisor, National Information Technology Center, Ministry of Environment, Science, and Technology, Nepal. Chang Hak Choi, Director General, Presidential Committee on Government Innovation and Decentralization, Korea.

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IN PRACTICE Karnataka municipal e-Governance implementation

Charting a new course in municipal governance

Krishna Rupanagunta

Urban Local Bodies in India are witnessing a significant increase in responsibilities with greater powers and decentralised authority. The Karnataka municipal e-Governance implementation project, which covers 57 largest municipalities in the State, is a significant departure from the traditional, erstwhile tried out approaches to municipal e-Governance implementations

The Karnataka municipal e-Governance implementation project is a significant departure from the traditional, erstwhile tried out approaches to municipal eGovernance implementations. Covering the 57 largest municipalities in Karnataka, the implementation covers the entire suite of municipal e-Governance applications developed by eGovernments Foundation, a non-profit organisation with focus on leveraging e-Governance for improving governance and service delivery in India. The first phase witnessed the launch of City Websites and a Public Grievance Tracking and Redressal system. In parallel, the Accounting Reforms process was launched, followed by the implementation of a Financial Management System. Other e-Governance applications that are being implemented in the current phase include a GIS-based Property Tax System and a Birth/Death Certificate Application.

Need for Accounting Reforms

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he 74th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1992, significantly increased the responsibility of local bodies in India. Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) too are witnessing a significant increase in responsibilities with greater powers and decentralised authority. Effective governance at the ULB level, among other things, requires internal financial systems that embody the standard accounting practices. In addition, the Right to Information (RTI) Act also mandates that the ULBs proactively share data, including key financial indicators, with the citizens. e-Gov| September 2006

ernance has a key role to play in supporting both these objectives. While the requirement to move to a standard double-entry accounting system has led some states and several municipalities to implement financial accounting systems, there has been a little or no focus on a holistic approach with the aim of putting in place an integrated financial management system that can be leveraged as a management tool by the city administrators. The emphasis on RTI implementation has been virtually non-existent.

The municipal governments have always been maintaining accounts in a cash-based system. The flaws in such a system are obvious – financial statements are not indicative of actual financial position and the true financial performance of the municipality cannot be assessed, resulting in ineffective financial planning. Some of the key drivers that led Karnataka in taking up the initiative to switch to accrual-based double-entry accounting system include information gaps in the cash based system and the promise that the switch would help generate more accurate picture of the financial position and make information readily available for effective financial management; as the pressure on the municipalities to become self-reliant grows, municipal governments will increasingly be forced to look to generate funds from 33


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alternative sources like the open financial markets (e.g. municipal bonds). This requires a certain degree of fiscal discipline and transparency that would be possible only by making the transition; and the Citizen’s Right to Information is expected to force the governments to maintain its records better and as the citizen participation in governance increases, the municipalities will be expected to provide an accurate picture of the financial position coupled with an ability to respond to increasingly sophisticated questions in a timely manner. Several reform initiatives and policy directives over the last several years, with specific focus on the municipal governments, have set the stage for the transition. Some such drivers include ICAI — Technical Guide on ULB Accounting and Financial Reporting (1999); Recommendation of the 11th Finance Commission, 2001; Directive by the Supreme Court, 2001; Prerequisite for funding under the Urban Reform Initiative Fund; Recommendation of the Task Force Report, 2002, of the C&AG (Comptroller & Auditor General); Release of the National Accounting Manual by the C&AG and the Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India, 2005; ICAI Committee for Local Body Accounting Standards, 2005; ICAI Exposure Draft, 2006; and Pre-requisite for funding under the National Urban Reform Mission, 2006. Some of the key expectations from the new accounting system for ULBs include assisting all stakeholders in evaluating efficiency and effectiveness of financial performance; assisting stakeholders to assess the ULB’s financial position, including the level of financial sustainability; aid in making the ULB’s performance transparent and accountable to people; and developing a robust financial reporting system that would satisfy the requirements of the banking system/debt markets as the ULBs approach these channels for funds. 34

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Key stakeholders Implementation of Accounting Reforms is an onerous task, even more so in the government, especially the local governments, which have traditionally been severely constrained in terms of availability of trained manpower. This is why an implementation of accounting reforms coupled with the implementation of an integrated Financial Management System requires active participation from major stakeholders such as Government, Municipal Administration, Nodal Consulting Firm, Field Level Consultants and Software Development Agency. Government: The project is being championed by the Urban Development Department, Karnataka. A special post of Additional Secretary, Reforms, has been created to drive the implementation. The organisational structure of the municipalities in Karnataka, where all the Municipal Commissioners report to a centralised Director of Municipal Administration (DMA) lends itself to the implementation of a uniform set of processes. Needless to say, the DMA is a key participant in the effective rollout of the processes and systems. Municipal Administration: As the end-users of the new processes and systems, there is an enormous strain on the administrative machinery to rise to the occasion. In addition to being trained on new accounting concepts (e.g. Double Entry Accounting, transition from cash to accrual basis etc), some of the smaller municipalities (especially Town Panchayats) need to be trained on the use of computers. Nodal Consulting Firm: The implementation of the modern accounting processes requires policy changes, changes in the legal framework (e.g. updating the Municipal Accounts Act), identification of reporting mechanisms (to translate the financial information into meaningful reports for decision support), development

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of training templates and most importantly, play an advisory role during the transition phase. In the case of Karnataka, IPE was appointed as the nodal agency to drive this process. Field Level Consultants: The first year of implementation (currently underway) is generally the hardest in the transition phase. Not only are the municipalities expected to maintain books of accounts in the new double entry format, they are also expected to prepare the opening balance statement, which requires the compilation of all assets and liabilities, including the fixed assets register for the municipality. To handhold the municipalities, Field Level Consultants are being appointed to oversee the first year of transition for all the municipalities. Software Development Agency: The Government of Karnataka entered into a MoU with eGovernments Foundation (eGov) as the agency to develop and provide the software applications. In the first phase, eGov is responsible for eGov Financials, eGov Property (Property Tax Information System), eGov GIS (GIS platform for municipalities), eGov PGR (Public Grievance and Redressal), eGov Birth/ Death and eGov City Portal. All these applications have been provided free of cost to the Government of Karnataka as part of the implementation.

Operating Guidelines A transition to a double entry, accrualbased accounting is a complicated one that requires a close coordination between all the stakeholders. Some of the key operating guidelines that came to be adopted during the entire process includes Process Reengineering, Standardise Processes, Software enabled processes, Software for non-accountants, Finance Management and Proactive Information Disclosures. Process Re-engineering: This is a necessary pre-requisite. Definition of rules, guidelines and operating www.egovonline.net |


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processes is essential for a successful implementation. Standardise Processes: The 57 municipalities cover City Corporation, Municipalities and Town Panchayats. One critical determinant of a scalable and manageable solution is a standardisation of processes across all the ULBs. Standardised processes ensure that they are easier to manage and more importantly, lessons learnt from one ULB can easily be applied to the other ULBs. Software enabled processes: The software deployment of eGov Financials is being done in parallel to the deployment of the processes. This ensures that there is an early adoption of the software and also that the users do not have go through two stages of learning. A standardised process for all the ULBs has ensured that the same software application will be deployed for all the ULBs, which greatly reduces the maintenance cost projections.

The Karnataka municipal e-Governance implementation project is a significant departure from the traditional, erstwhile tried out approaches to municipal e-Governance implementations. Software for non-accountants: One of the key requirements from the software team was to develop software that could be used by non-accountants. This required the provision of screens that are easy to navigate and use, with the actual accounting treatment handled by the system as a background process. Finance Management: The focus of the implementation must be effective Finance Management, not mere bookkeeping. This calls for proper control procedures like budgetary controls built into the system as well as a reporting tool, which is embedded into the accounting software. Proactive Information Disclosure: eGovernments Foundation is making all 36

attempts to embody this in all its products. In line with this approach, the financial management system is expected to provide information at an aggregate level focusing on the financial position of the ULB to the citizens via delivery mechanisms like the city portal.

Software Development eGovernments Foundation (eGov) was entrusted with the software development for the project. eGov is a non-profit trust, set up with an exclusive focus on municipal e-Governance. The goal is to develop and deploy enterprise class software solutions to help streamline operations in the municipalities, improve the flow of information across the various stakeholders within and outside the government, provide decision support tools for the administrators, and leading up to better transparency and accountability of operations. These applications are built exclusively for Indian municipalities are given to them free of cost, i.e. there are no up front license costs or recurring product upgrade costs. The following guiding principles have been embodied in all of eGov’s products and acted as key principles in developing eGov Financials, which has been deployed in 57 of Karnataka’s municipalities. All of eGov’s products have been built on a Municipal eGovernance Platform, which consists of a set of infrastructure components that are leveraged across all the products. While this ensures a high degree of commonality across the product suite, it greatly reduces the application development effort. In addition to the platform, eGov is focused on building products, not custom solutions. This calls for an upfront investment in product development but in the long run, this is especially advantageous in the rapid deployment of the product suite across a full spectrum of municipalities. Just as different industry verticals have chosen adopt process standards, eGov is committed to working with government bodies to introduce standards, especially in the area of information processing. For instance, eGov has collaborated with the Registrar General of India to develop birth/death recording data and XML standards and Survey of India to develop an urban spatial data model. On a similar vein, eGov has developed eGov

Financials to support the National Municipal Accounting Manual (NMAM). As municipalities increasingly adopt the NMAM, it becomes easier to implement eGov Financials. The challenge, of course, is to ensure that the products are sufficiently flexible to allow for state specific modifications – this is where a products-based approach is a key enabling factor. eGov is in the process of developing a full municipal ERP suite. This calls for a product design that allows for tight integration across the various products – for instance, the eGov Property Tax System is tightly integrated to eGov Financials (eGov Property will be deployed in Karnataka over the next few months). The biggest impediment to a successful implementation of e-Governance solutions is inadequate capacity, both in terms of numbers and skill sets. This was even more so in the case of the Financial Accounting reforms, given the inherent complexity in this area. To ease the burden, eGov Financials was developed with easy to use screens keeping mind the skill levels of the end-users (there were several cases of accountants in the smaller Town Panchayats who had never used a computer before). In addition, the data entry has been simplified to the extent that the user in most cases does not need to understand the full accounting transaction, which is automated in the back-end. While this does improve the ease of use from a customer point of view, it is a deviation from the products approach since the accounting treatment is likely to change from one state to another. Needless to say, keeping the total cost of ownership of the solution low was a critical requirement. The entire eGov product suite has been developed on open source technologies (see figure) except the database (the current implementation is Oracle and there are plans to release the applications on MySQL in future) – in addition to the fact that the applications are given away free of cost, this approach ensures that the total cost of implementation for the ULBs is minimised. A relatively high-literate state like Karnataka found it extremely difficult to hire qualified IT personnel in the smaller towns (the problem repeated itself in almost all TMCs and TPs). It would have been close to impossible to effectively deploy and maintain the software applicawww.egovonline.net |


tions locally. This led eGov to deploy all its applications on a web-native platform, which centralises the support and will dramatically bring down the recurring implementation costs. An IT system is as good as the processes it supports and the outcomes that are possible from these processes. One of the key outcomes from any e-Governance system is the ability to improve transparency and accountability of the administrative set-up. In line with this, the aim is to ensure that all the eGov products embody the principles of proactive information disclosure. For instance, it is planned to supply summary income/expenditure/budget utilisation data from eGov Financials to the City Portal, giving the citizen a near real-time summary of the financial position of the ULB.

Implementation The deployment of the Financial Management System and processes, quite expectedly, was an extremely challenging affair spanning over 8 months, calling for close coordination between all the stakeholders. Some of the key lessons learnt from the deployment process were regarding capacity building, state-wide deployment, and transition and ongoing support. Capacity Building: It would not be a truism to say that the single most critical factor in successful implementation of any IT application is the ability of the end-users to absorb and leverage the systems to improve work processes. In the government, this challenge is compounded by the fact the current capacity is highly inadequate – both in terms of people and skillsets. This is even more so in the case of local self-governments. The Karnataka eGovernance project is also going through the same set of challenges. In the case of the Financial Accounting Reforms process, the government came up with the strategic interventions, which are expected to go a long way in making the implementation a success. There has been creation of a new cadre of accountants, recruited through the KPSC (Karnataka Public Services Commission), to support the municipalities. The State is in the process of appointing a chartered accountancy firm (called Field Level Consultants on FLCs) for supporting the municipalities in the all-important first year | September 2006

Implementation of Accounting Reforms is an onerous task, even more so in the government, especially the local governments, which have traditionally been severely constrained in terms of availability of trained manpower of operations, where the deliverables include the generation of the opening balance sheet for the municipality, an activity which requires the formation of the asset register and estimating their current, depreciated value. In addition, the FLCs are expected to provide support to the municipal accountants in internalizing the new accounting regulations and reporting requirements, and successfully deliver all the statutory reports (Balance Sheet, Income/ Expenditure Statement) for the year. Along with the accountants, the government has also hired a cadre of IT personnel, usually covering a cluster of municipalities. This group is currently assisting in the implementation by acting as an IT liaison for the municipality, maintaining the city portals etc. This group is expected to evolve into a municipal level IT support, responsible for the smooth functioning of the systems in the municipalities and resolving local hardware/software support issues. State-wide Deployment: As mentioned earlier, it has been close to impossible to hire good quality IT support staff in the municipalities. The risks arising out of this have been largely mitigated by the fact all the applications are web-based, deployed from a central data centre located in Bangalore. This has two obvious advantages – ease of deployment (of bugfixes, upgrades etc) coupled with easy access to trained manpower (technical and functional support). The potential risk in a centralised deployment model is that of connectivity from the municipalities, especially the smaller, remote ones. In Karnataka, broadband connectivity is

available from about 30 of the 57 municipalities and for the rest, ISDN connectivity is available – in both these cases, the costs are expected to fall over time even as reliability keeps going up. Transition and Ongoing Support: The Nodal Firm (IPE) and the software development agency (eGov) are responsible for the successful implementation of the reform processes and systems. The sustainability depends on the govern-ment’s ability to absorb them and ensure that they are inter-woven into the fabric of governance. Karnataka has taken an important step in this direction by setting up an internal competence centre comprising of the EMC (Expert Management Cell) staffed by accounts personnel for functional support and municipal-IT support centre for technical support. The state is exploring alternatives to set up a sustainable institutional arrangement, which would allow, among other things, the employee salaries to be in line with the market salaries, outside the constraints imposed by the government pay structures.

The Road Ahead In Karnataka, the first set of applications has been implemented. These are the Public Grievance and Redressal System, City Websites and most recently, Financial Management System. In the coming months, the Property Tax System and Birth/Death Registration systems would be rolled out. Over the next couple of years, the application footprint will be expanded to cover other areas, especially the two largest expenditure functions of the ULBs – establishment expenses (Payroll) and Engineering Works. In parallel, a separate project is in the pipeline to deploy these applications across the remaining 165 municipal administrations of the state. The intent is very clear – leverage e-Governance applications and IT technologies to streamline operations; provide decision support tools; improve accountability and transparency – leading up to improved financial sustainability and ultimately, better service delivery to the citizens. About the author Krishna Rupanagunta is Chief Operating Officer, eGovernments Foundation, Bangalore, Karnataka, India

37


IN PRACTICE

Kerala SWAN

A designer’s perspective

C The design objective of Kerala State Wide Area Network (SWAN) had been to set-up a stateof-the art network, which is highly robust, resilient, scalable, easily available, and provide equal access to all users irrespective of their physical location

entre for Development of Ad vanced Computing (CDAC), Thiruvananthapuram, known as ER&DC at that time, conducted a seminar on e-Governance in December 2001. The theme of the seminar was emerging trends in networking and data centre in the context of development of the State of Kerala. The recommendation of the seminar was that Kerala should have a Government Data centre and a backbone network for e-Governance applications. It was also suggested that the free bandwidth offered by the private bandwidth providers in return to the right-of-way given to them for cable laying, also be tapped for e-Governance activities. CDAC undertook the design of the e-Governance Data centre and the State Information backbone for Kerala, and subsequently the Kerala State Wide Area Network (KSWAN).

Network architecture It was decided to have a three layer architecture with a backbone ring 38

P.M. Sasi and G. Satheesh forming the first layer, distribution from the backbone ring to the district headquarters and then to the block headquarters forming the second layer and the last mile connectivity from the district and block POPs forming the third layer. The network backbone connected three cities — Trivandrum (southernmost district), Kochi (central district) and Kozhikode (northern district) — configured in a resilient ring. For all practical purpose, this is a dual ring with dual redundant routers in each of the Network Operating Centres (NOCs) at Trivandrum, Kochi and Kozhikode. The plan is that the network can grow from the NOCs of the backbone to the districts and then to the sub-district level in hierarchical star topology, thus providing a highly scalable and resilient network. Redundancy in the next levels can be designed with district-to-district links as well as multiple links in the same route (NOC to district or district to block). www.egovonline.net |


MPLS backbone The decision on the technology for the backbone was straightforward. There would be voice, video and data traffic, some of them with stringent specifications on the delay, packet loss and jitter, to be integrated in the optimum method. And, the all pervasive IP needs to be preserved. The obvious cost-effective solution was Multi Protocol label Switching (MPLS), because of its superior performance advantages, which included higher security, better Quality of Service and better traffic management. Since MPLS works as an overlay protocol to IP, the two protocols can coexist in the same cloud without interference. The encapsulation of IP packets with labels enhances data security. The ability to classify traffic and allocate specified bandwidth for customers and applications as well as selecting the specified link (of the multiple links) for a specific application enhances the control of the MPLS network many times. This makes more sense in the Kerala scenario, where bandwidth from multiple bandwidth providers has been used. The backbone makes use of the free bandwidth offered to Government by the bandwidth providers (in lieu of the Rightof-Way given to them), providing multiple levels of redundancy. Serial links from various providers have been bundled to form a multilink so that failure of a link would not affect the applications. One of the link is provided with Ethernet interface, which has not been bundled with the serial links for various reasons. MPLS Traffic engineering was tested in the backbone for detecting the bandwidth overflow and dynamic selection of alternate path. For testing this, we created two tunnels — one between Trivandrum and Kochi (in the shortest path) and the other between Trivandrum and Kochi through Kozhikode. 3 Mbps bandwidth was reserved for both the tunnels. We used two serial links, each of 2 Mbps (to form 4 Mbps multilink) between Trivandrum, Kochi and Kozhikode NOCs. Heavy traffic was forced between Trivandrum and Kochi. All the traffic flowed through the Trivandrum-Kochi shortest route, as expected. We then removed one of the E1 links from the Trivandrum-Kochi bundle. It was observed that the traffic moves to the alternate route only for the next ses| September 2006

sion, which means that load balancing is sessions based and not packet based. Dedicated bandwidth reservation and utilisation of unused bandwidth was also tested in the MPLS backbone. Two users, one in business class and the other in premium class, were created for this.

Design for high availability Apart from the ring topology and multiple links from various bandwidth providers, redundancy has been built in the core routers, access routers, switching engines, firewalls etc to ensure a highly available backbone. The network centres have been provided with diesel generators, redundant UPS, precision airconditioning in n+1 mode etc. All the telecom companies have terminated their fibers at the network centres to ensure high uptime.

Distribution layer The backbone network is being extended to all the 14 districts, growing from the three network centres of the backbone ring. The network is designed over MPLS up to the districts, with multiple E1 links and Ethernet connectivity from various providers. ROW (Right of Way) bandwidth from the bandwidth providers would be made use of in the distribution layer also, up to the districts. These links are terminated in fiber so that the reliability is high. Provision to connect to adjacent districts has also been provided, to ensure high availability of the district links. Firewall and IPS protection, RADIUS authentication, MPLS VPN and encryption support, VLAN support are some of the security protections given. In the next level, all the 152 block headquarters in the State

would be linked to the corresponding district headquarters through leased lines. Here also, provision to connect to the adjacent block headquarters is provided to enhance the network uptime.

Last mile The district POPs are designed to provide for access through leased line, ISDN, PSTN and wireless. The block POPs would support leased line and wireless access. Wireless connectivity takes the minimum time for setting up, if high masts are not required to establish line of sight. There is no recurring cost for wireless (assuming license free band). Offices, which do not have line of sight with the base stations, get connected through leased lines. Those offices, which require only occasional connectivity, could go for dial up connectivity, either through PSTN or ISDN. Internet connectivity has been provided at the Government data centre, which is collocated at the Trivandrum NOC of the State network backbone.

Wireless coverage Kerala is not new to wireless networks. The Akshaya network in Malappuram district, linking more than 500 Akshaya centre spread over 3500 sq kms, has been implemented entirely in wireless, making it the first district to be networked fully through wireless. The confidence of this network, which has been implemented in a district with very unfriendly terrain, was behind the decision to go for wireless access as a primary last mile technology. The technology selection for wireless was a difficult one. WiFi is a proven technology for both indoor and outdoor applications. 39


There are many proprietary technologies, which have proved their worth in many networks both in India and abroad. And, WiMax is coming with a bang. At the time of formulating the network specifications, the WiMax standards were only evolving. There was no clarity on the frequency channels. Commercial products were also not available. Added to this, spectrum availability and frequency licensing in India was also not clear. So, WiMax was ruled out for last mile access. Proprietary technologies were not encouraged for the reason that the offices wanting last mile access from the base station would have to procure radios from the same manufacturer, if proprietary technology is accepted. So, the only option for wireless access was 802.11b/g, the heavily used technology worldwide. It was decided that the wireless base station in the district POP and the block POP should support a minimum of 60 remote radios, within a range of 10 kms so that majority of the land in Kerala could be covered using the KSWAN wireless umbrella. 802.11b and g technologies have limitations on the range as well as the number of remote radios that can be supported by a point-to-multipoint radio, because of the issues like near-far problem and hidden-node problem. In order to circumvent this and to provide for higher throughput for each link, it was decided that 3 or 4 base station radios shall be used in each base station, with 1200/ 900 coverage from each radio. The radios support linkwise bandwidth management, WPA2 and AES encryption, 40

MAC based authentication, remote management and Quality of Service. The offered products for KSWAN were tested against the specifications. The test set up consisted of a wireless base station set up at a central location and eight remote radios at other locations. Four remote radios were set up at about 1 km aerial distance from the base station and the remaining four remotes at an aerial distance of about 10 kms. Data rate was measured through FTP, to get the real application throughput. Two FTP servers were set up at the base station. The upload (remote to base station) and download (base station to remote) speeds of the remote radio was tested using FTP, with only one remote radio installed. The number of remote radios increased gradually and performance recorded in each set up. The thick vegetation and the difficult terrain in Kerala demand high mast, both at the base stations and the remote stations. Hence, it was decided to use selfsupport mast at the base stations and guy wire-supported mast at the remote offices.

Security High level of physical and data security has been provided at the backbone. Smart card/ biometric access control and CCTV based surveillance have been installed in the three NOCs, apart from physical security. Two levels of firewall, network based IDS, Host based IDS, VPN support, RADIUS authentication, Zoning and VLAN support, customisable Access Control list, Antivirus solution etc are available in the NOCs. The wireless network will have WEP/ WPA/ AES as well as MAC based authentication. The whole network is to be certified as per BS7799/ ISO 27001 before being operational.

Network management and monitoring Network management is centralised and is managed from Trivandrum NOC. Moni-

toring of the network is being done through enterprise management/ monitoring system, which integrates the element management systems of the various products deployed. All the components to be used are to be SNMP and MIB II compliant. Web based monitoring with dedicated monitoring portals for each customer can be configured. Apart from the availability of the components, various performance parameters and traffic usage are also being monitored. Monitoring system also has been configured to generate offline reports on various parameters to various granularities. The conformance to the SLA agreed upon by the operator is being verified through the reports from the monitoring system.

Integration with others The KSWAN backbone has been co-located at the Government Data centre at Trivandrum. The backbone has been integrated to the Data centre with adequate security. KSWAN network is also to be integrated with Akshaya network, currently functional in Malappuram district. It is envisaged that the KSWAN connectivity to the block level can strengthen the Akshaya network by providing a redundant route in case of a link failure in Akshaya network backbone. The IP scheme for the Data centre has been designed and is operational. This is to be extended to the whole network, to suit the geographical as well as the departmental requirements.

Status The KSWAN backbone is complete in all aspects and is operational for the last one year. The distribution layer is partly complete up to the district level, which is mainly being used for video conferencing. Various e-Governance applications are currently making use of the infrastructure. The complete network would be functional by April 2007. About the author P. M. Sasi is working as Additional Director (e-Governance) in CDAC, Trivandrum. G. Satheesh is associated with CDAC, Trivandrum, Kerala, India.

www.egovonline.net |


MIDDLE EAST Anti e-Voting campaign in Bahrain

NEWS REVIEW

Salem, Syrian Minister of Communications and Technology, and Khalifa Bakhit al-Flasi, Chairman of the United Arab Emirates Company for investment Al-Kawnia, signed the MoUs. The Internet City would be set up by IDF Greece Company that specialises in designing projects of Internet cities. According to the Greek experts, Syria possesses wide prospects for developing industry of data technology.

solutions) and end-to-end networking solutions.

UAE e-Contracts systems to solve salary disputes

e-Government applications showcased in Oman

Al Wefaq National Islamic Society, Bahrain’s biggest political society, has launched a campaign against e-Voting in the municipal and parliamentary elections to be held later in 2006. Khalil Almarzooq, Al Wefaq information technology expert, debunked eVoting terming it as unsafe as compared to the traditional ballot box method. e-Voting portends glaring dangers that includes hacking, fraud and or a total breakdown of the system on polling day. Almarzooq contended, “System failure is a huge risk factor in this. The whole voting procedure is one day and what if on that day the whole system fails, or even part of it. We may never know how many votes were originally cast. These are problems that shouldn’t be taken lightly.” Al Wefaq society would organise a conference with other political societies shortly to discuss the issue.

Syria to execute eGovernment services project Syrian government recently signed two Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) aimed at establishing a US$2mn integrated city for Internet in Damascus, and executing the e-Government services project. Amr 42

A seminar organised at Muscat recently by Bahwan CyberTek along with Adobe Systems and BSEEN International, highlighted the importance and benefits of e-Forms and eContent management in e-Governance. The seminar was primarily organised to showcase the e-Government applications and services provided by Adobe Systems and BSEEN. Oman has significantly chalked out its Digital

Strategy that aims to interlink all government sectors and services through a unified eSystem. Alfie Taylor, Government Practice Director of Adobe Systems Europe Limited, introduced ‘Adobe Engagement Platform in eGovernment’. Azita Nader, Chairman, BSEEN International, and Bill Kokas from BSEEN, dwelt upon e-Tracking, e-Meeting and disaster recovery. Bahwan CyberTek, a leading IT company in Oman, offers software products, consulting services, system integration, outsourced application development, migration and customisation, training, professional services (IT Outsourcing

Dr. Ali Bin Abdulla Al Ka’abi, UAE Minister of Labour, has announced that the UAE Labour Ministry would enter into bilateral agreements with major labour exporting countries aimed at introducing an e-Contract system to solve salary disputes. The agreements would facilitate the implementation of e-Contract system for workers to be completed, fingerprinted and signed before the worker’s arrival in the UAE. Al Ka’abi’s move would make recruitment agencies redundant, which he termed as ‘corrupt’ and ‘mafia-like’. The Philippine consulate has welcomed Al Ka’abi’s decision saying that the move would certainly improve the condition of workers.

Royal Jordanian adopts e-Ticketing system Jordan’s state-owned national carrier Royal Jordanian (RJ) has adopted e-Ticketing system and has begun issuing e-Tickets instead of paper tickets as mandated by the International air Transport Association (IATA). Hussein Dabbas, RJ Deputy Director General for Commercial Affairs and Services, said that the new system would enable www.egovonline.net |


‘Dubai must overcome e-Gov challenges’

RJ passengers to reserve their tickets and confirm their flights through the Internet. Accordingly, RJ would also be able to save US$5mn annually since an e-Ticket costs only US$1 as compared to US$10 for the paper ticket.

Iran considering National Internet set-up

A study undertaken recently by the National bank of Dubai (NBD) indicated that although Dubai remains a leader in the Middle East in terms of e-Government it needs to overcome several challenges to become fully eGovernment enabled. These challenges include dealing with issues of security, accessibility, coordination and collaboration, and raising citizen awareness and confidence. Aimed to gauge the strategic impact of e-Government on business, particularly small businesses in the UAE, the NBD study involved 4,110 firms operating and registered in Dubai, that have used the e-Government features. The results were encouraging in some respects, the study said. According to the NBD: “The results show that the strategic advancements of Dubai eGovernment are helping firms to conduct more electronic business to government interactions and obtain significant improvements in performance through both revenue expansion and cost reduction. Dubai e-Government authorities should develop their system to result in shorter administrative turnaround times for administrative processes and enquiries.” Currently, in Dubai about 1,600 government services, out of a total of 1,900 offered by 23 government departments, are provided online. By 2007, Dubai e-government is targeting increased uptake of e-Government services among users, aiming to have up to 50 per cent of all government service transactions carried online.

World’s biggest e-Statistics project in Dubai

Mohammad Soleimani, Iran’s Minister of Information and Communication Technology, announced it is determined to create the National Internet enabling domestic users to avail web services at far lower cost. The national network is expected to upgrade web security for Iranian users allaying concerns about emails’ privacy and other information related to data protection. Soleimani said, “The ministry aims to remove ambiguities related to private sector participation in ICT projects and tariff rate control. The National Internet would go mainstream late September, in a limited or widespread form, depending on financial resources.” | September 2006

The world’s biggest eStatistics project is being planned by the Government of Dubai in an attempt to centralise the flow of information in the Dubai economy. Al Meheiri, Director of Dubai Municipality’s Data Centre, informed that the project would provide comprehensive, unified and precise data at Dubai level upon its launch. Subscribers would also be able to access this system via the Internet. Currently, some 20 members have joined Dubai’s Central Data System’s statistics. The project would be launched by the Data Centre, which is coordinating with organisations such as Dubai Financial Market, Dubai International Stock Market, Dubai Airport Free Zone, Dubai Holding, Silicone Oasis and Dubai Shopping Festival Office to implement the project.

43


COMMENTARY

A.B.C. of e-Governance Awdhesh Kumar Singh

E

-Governance is now accepted as the best means to provide government services to the citizens and businesses efficiently and economically. Most governments are spending large amount of pubic money on various e-Government projects. The study conducted by Heeks reveals that only 15% of e-Government projects in developing countries succeeds while 35% projects are total failures and remaining 50% are partial failures. The failures of the e-Government projects not only demoralises the champions of e-Governments but also result into the loss of public money directly and indirectly. Heeks’ study concludes that central issue to the success and failure is the size of the gap that exists between ‘current realities’ (where we are now) and ‘design of the e-Government projects’ (where the eGovernment projects want us to go). The larger the design-reality gap, the greater is the risk of e-Government project failure. Seven dimensions viz. information, technology, processes, objectives and values, staffing and skills, management systems and structures and other resources such as time and money are found necessary and sufficient to provide an understanding of the design-reality gap. Heeks suggests that the projects must be planned so as to have less design-reality gap for better success rate of the project, and further argues that another reason for failure of e-Government projects in developing countries is the gap between the rationality required in Information System (IS), system design and the socio-political reality of the developing countries. The success rate are far better in developed countries due to their hard or rational approach toward life while developing countries often follow soft approach based on subjectivity. There are other obvious reasons like digital divide in the developing countries, low literacy of computers and infrastruc44

It is miserable that almost 85% of the e-Government projects fail to achieve their objective in developing countries. The success of the e-Government projects in these countries can be ensured only after considering the three important prerequisite called A (Administrative Reform), B (Business Process Reengineering) and C (Cost-Benefit Analysis) of the e-Governance

ture constraints like Internet connectivity, lack of steady power connection etc. are responsible for the lower penetration of e-Governance among the masses. For example, while countries like USA, Korea, Australia, Singapore have more than 50% Internet connectivity for their citizens, the developing countries like India, Pakistan have less than 2% Internet penetration. However, it may take several decades to overcome the problems of illiteracy, infrastructure, change of law and

cultures. The design-reality gap or hardsoft gap is also based on the socio-economic reality of the country, which can be bridged only gradually. While these studies identify the reasons for the failures of the projects, they fail to provide a solution. These studies also fail to appreciate that at least 15% of the e-Government project succeed even in the developing countries despite the infrastructural problems and resource constraints. Therefore, there is need to find solutions which can www.egovonline.net |


be implemented in the developing countries based on the present realities. In the given perspective, three important prerequisites have been identified to ensure high success rate of the e-Government projects. We call it ABC of e-Governance, where “A” represents ‘Administrative Reform’, “B” represents ‘Business Pro-

employees get their salaries, by cheque, apply for their leaves on paper and get all the approval on paper documents. All the financial sanctions and official correspondences are made using paper documents. Even when emails are used in the extreme situations, it has to be officially confirmed by fax or hard copy of the documents.

cess Reengineering (BPR)’ and “C” represents ‘Cost-Benefit Analysis’. All the e-Government projects must be studied from these perspectives to ensure success of various e-Government projects.

Yet, the governments pay little attention for Government-to-Government (G2G) and Government-to-Employee (G2E) aspect of the e-Government due to its low visibility while Government-to-Citizen (G2C) and Government-to-Business (G2B) are accorded high priority due to their populist appeal. Thus, while the department may be providing many benefits to the trade electronically, their employees may still be dealing with files and paper documents. Since the government employees are least benefited from any eGovernment initiatives hence they are least interested in the e-Government initiatives, which excludes them from its purview. Following methods are suggested to bring administrative reforms before implementation of any e-Government initiative. Legal Changes: The present laws are designed for the manual era where each government official had no access to the files of the other officials, which may be located at different geographical locations. Hence the officials have to use their discretion to take a decision based on experi-

Administrative Reform Thus goes the famous adage “Charity begins at home”. However, most of the eGovernment projects are implemented without the government putting their house in order. In most of the government department, while the front-end of the department gives the impression of an automated department, yet in most of the (backend) offices, the processing of the files and documents continue to be manual. The government officials have to often take a printout of the application filed by the applicant through email and do the processing in manual mode. For example, in the Indian Customs department, almost all inter-official works are still done on the manual mode and the automation is limited only to the assessment and clearance of the import and export of the cargo. The 46

ence and local factors. All these files are independent to each other and the citizens have no claim for getting the similar treatment from all officials. For example, in the import of the goods the rate of duty is often decided by first ascertaining the classification of the item the local tariff, which provides the rate of the duty and then determining the assessable value at which the duty is to be levied. In the manual system each officer decides the classification and valuation based on his expertise, hence the same item may be charged with different amount of duty in different ports and often in the same port. In the manual mode, it is inevitable since it is not possible within a limited time to enquire from other ports the correct classifications and valuations. However, the goal of customs is always to charge same duty on identical items. Therefore, the laws have to be changed to constitute a central assessment authority at the national level whose decisions must be binding to all the customs ports in the country. This would ensure not only faster clearance but also ensure that all importers are treated fairly thus reducing the scope of litigation. In other government departments, similar laws are required to be incorporated which ensures the uniformity all over the department. Office Automation: It is observed that despite of all the implementation of several e-Government projects for the citizens, the government ministries at central and state level continue to rely on paper based documents and files for all their decisionmaking. The present office procedures require the paper documents even in cases of electronic transactions. The office procedure manuals are therefore to be changed to allow the electronic transactions as the legal means of communication without the necessity of paper documents. All the office activities like application of leave, leave records, receipt of salaries and allowances must be automated as much as possible. This will make the life of the government employees easier and make them the willing partner in the e-Government initiatives. Change Management: Most of the government officials think that providing the computer and the software is sufficient for the automation process. They are often not aware how difficult it is to learn computers since they themselves hardly www.egovonline.net |


use computers. The computer-phobia can be reduced only by adequate training of the employees. Often the government officials who are associated with the development of the software are the most computer savvy, hence they assume that all the government officials are equally competent to use computer and have the same enthusiasm of the computerisation as them. The truth is just the opposite as most of the government employees’ (particularity the older generation) are quite reluctant to use computers. They must, therefore, be motivated and trained to work in the automated environment. Further the software of the department must be designed in the most user-friendly manner, which can be easily understood by even the computer illiterate person.

Business Process Reengineering The next most important step that must be taken in any e-Government project is to change the procedures in the government in accordance with the need of the computerisation. e-Governance may be perceived to be a marriage of (objective) electronic with (subjective) governance. The procedural changes must therefore be made to use the decision-support systems, which can provide the best benefits of the computer -human interface. The human decision-making suffers from the human weakness like inaccuracy of the calculation, subjective interpretation of the laws and procedures and human bias based on race, sex, caste, language etc. Further, the human decision-makers are not immune from the pressures and temptations of the material world. Hence, the procedures in the manual decisions making are designed to ensure fairness by incorporating the concept of checks and balances. The decision of one lower rank official is therefore cross checked by other senior officers and the power of decisionmaking is delegated to different officers depending on their rank. Most of the manual process envisages many layers of approvals in each case to avoid or at least reduce the human weakness. Accordingly, the benefits of the automations would be unable to be achieved if the exis-ting process is merely automated. BPR is, therefore, the most necessary step to harness the full capacity of the e-Governance. The benefits for BPR can be explained | September 2006

thus. Many e-Government projects deal with providing the government records like the land records through Internet or the public Internet kiosks at nominal charge. These documents are often used for taking loans from the government banks. The farmer often submits these records to the banks, which then follows the complex process of investigation from other banks, his past repayment records etc. to finally sanction the loan. However, since the records are in the computer system of the government itself, there should be no need for submission of any document to the bank. The banks can directly access these documents from their computers. Further, the banks can develop suitable software, which can automatically calculate the loan eligibility of the farmer based on his landholding, past repayment records etc. Hence if the person applies for the loan, and the loan amount is within the calculated amount of the bank software, the person may get automatically loan without any manual intervention. Many private sector banks are already following these processes. If the applied loan is more, then the software may provide the risk factor and thereafter the decision may be taken by the senior officer of the banks based on their expertise. Similar processes may be worked out in all government departments where the decisions are taken automatically in most of the cases based on the decision support provided by the computer program. The Indian customs has already implemented a computer program called Risk Management System (RMS), which provides automatic clearance to the low risk cargo without any manual intervention. Interoperability: In most countries, there are different layers of governments at central, states, district and municipal level who have to often work together to provide a particular service. For example, for getting the passport from the passport office, many government departments may be involved. The person gets the form from the post office (Central Government). He attaches proof of address by submitting water bill (municipality), electricity bill (state government) and a bank draft by an authorised bank (Government or private). Thereafter, the passport office sends the form for police (crime) verification (State Government).

In manual system, the documents move from one official to another in a linear manner where each officer takes decisions individually. In the cyber space, it is possible to make just one document, which travels all over simultaneously, where each agency enters the information pertaining to them. Hence, the user is saved from the difficulty of the multiple entries for each department. Therefore, procedures of the government departments must be amended so that the documents of one government department are accepted by other government departments. The documents need to be designed in such a way that it takes care of the information to be provided by each agency.

Cost- Benefit Analysis The cost of e-Government project is borne by the citizens of the country. In a developing country where even the basic necessities like food water and shelter are not available to most of the citizens there can be hardly any justification to spend the large amount of public money on the projects benefiting only a smaller section of the population. Therefore, every e-Government project must be analysed critically like a business investment. The highest priority must be accorded to those projects where the perceived benefits are more than the cost. For example, the computerisation of Interstate Check posts in Gujarat enhanced the revenue collection by three-fold within two years and the total project cost was paid back within a period of six months. Therefore, the government by investing into the projects where the return is high not only improves the government efficiency, reduces cost of governance but also cost no money to the public. These projects by improving the efficiencies of the government earn extra revenue, which can be utilised for the implementation of other e-Government projects. Further, the government can use the infrastructure of these projects for other less viable e-Government projects, which can benefit a large segment of the society. About the author Awdhesh Kumar Singh is Additional Director in the Directorate of Systems, Customs & Central Excise, New Delhi, India

47


Editorial Guidelines egov is a monthly magazine providing a much needed platform to the voices of various stakeholders in the arena of e-Government, apart from being a repository of valuable information and meaningful discussion on issues of e-governance in general, and e-Government in particular – both to the specialist and the generalist. Contributions to egov magazine should be in the form of articles, case studies, book reviews, event report and news related to e-Government project and initiatives, which are of immense value for practitioners, professionals, corporate and academicians. We would like the contributors to follow these guidelines, while submitting their material for publication. • Articles/ Case studies should not

exceed 2500 words. For book reviews and event report, the word limit is 800. An abstract of the article/case study not exceeding 200 words should be submitted along with the article/case study. All articles/ case studies should provide proper references. Authors should give in writing stating that the work is new and has not been published in any form so far. Book reviews should include details of the book like the title, name of the author(s), publisher, year of publication, price and number of pages and also send the cover photograph of the book in JPEG/ TIFF (resolution 300 dpi). Book reviews of books on e-Governance related themes, published from year 2002 onwards, are preferable. In case of website, provide the URL.

The manuscripts should be typed in a standard printable font (Times New Roman 12 font size, titles in bold) and submitted either through mail or post. • Relevant figures of adequate quality (300 dpi) should be submitted in JPEG/ TIFF format. • A brief bio-data and passport size photograph(s) of the author(s) must be enclosed. • All contributions are subject to approval by the publisher. Please send in your papers/articles/ comments to: The Editor G-4, Sector 39 NOIDA (UP) 201 301, India Tel +91 120 2502180-87 Fax +91 120 2500060 Email: info@egovonline.net

Editorial Calendar 2006-07 Solution Focus

Application Focus

October

Interoperability (Open Standards, Open Source Software)

Transport

November

eForms

Police

December

Information and Network Security

Passport Visa

January

Metadata and Data Standards

Income Tax

February

e-Governance Architecture

Courts

March

WiMAX

Posts

Have your daily cup of hot morning tea with hot ee-- Government news!

48

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WHA T’S ON WHAT’S This section lists upcoming e-Government conferences, exhibitions, and other public events for the benefit of our readers. 3 – 5 September 2006

12 – 13 September 2006

5 – 6 October 2006

The EURO mGOV 2006 Sussex University Brighton, UK

GCC Government Organizations Quality Website Development Conference Rebuilding Quality & Service Excellence in GCC Government Organization Websites Burj Al Arab Hotel Dubai, UAE

European e-Skills 2006 Conference Thessaloniki, Greece

www.icmg.mgovernment.org

4 – 8 September 2006 International EGOV conference 2006 Krakow (Poland) http://www.uni-koblenz.de/FB4/Institutes/ IWVI/AGVInf/Conferences/egov2006

6 – 8 September 2006 I-KNOW ’06 - 6th International Conference on Knowledge Management Graz Austria http://www.egovonline.net/events/eventsdetails.asp?EventID=79

7 – 8 September 2006 2nd Conference on eServices in European Civil Registration Tallinn Estonia http://www.riser.eu.com/Conf/ conf_intro_new.htm

11 – 13 September 2006 The 6th Enterprise Architecture Conference & Exhibition Practical Approaches for Federal Programs Ronald Reagan Building Washington, DC

http://www.datamatixgroup.com/ conferences/agenda.asp?id=339

http://ec.europa.eu/idabc/en/document/5640/ 5744

9 – 11 October 2006 t-Government World Europe 2006 Amsterdam, The Netherlands http://www.terrapinn.com/2006/tgov/

13 September 2006

25 – 27 October 2006

Conference on ‘The impact of eGovernment in Europe’ – Tracking the Progress of the eGov Action Plan (20062010) Helsinki, Finland

eChallenges e-2006 Conference Barcelona, Spain

http://www.egov-goodpractice.org/ event_details.php?&eventid=125

Digital Government- Reengineering Processes to Mazimise the IT Value Chain Singapore

20 – 22 September 2006 Smart Event ’06 – World e-ID 2006 Sophia Antipolis, France http://ec.europa.eu/idabc/en/document/5642/ 5744

22 September 2006 2nd International Workshop on eGovernment and Data Protection (EG&DP-2006) Varna Bulgaria

http://www.echallenges.org/e2006/

30 – 31 October 2006

www.availcorp.com

9 – 10 November 2006 Global Forum 2006 Paris, France http://www.items.fr/ globalforum.php3?id_rubrique=75

20 – 22 November 2006 Arab eGovernment Summit Dubai, UAE

www.tu-sofia.bg/saer/

http://www.datamatixgroup.com/

27 – 29 September 2006

6 December 2006

http://www.e-gov.com/EventOverview. aspx? Event=EA06&NoCache=632870559 470560595

4th Quality Conference for Public Administrations in EU Tampere Finland

2nd Annual Event Information Management in the public sector London

11 – 14 September 2006

http://www.egovonline.net/events/eventsdetails.asp?EventID=77

International Conference on eGovernance Enhancement via Knowledge Management Selangor Darul Ehsan Malaysia http://www.eg2km.org/main.html

2 – 3 October 2006 First Iberoamerican Congress on eGovernment Santiago, Chile http://www.sumaq.org/egov/

http://www.kablenet.com

7 December 2006 eGovernment Conference 2006 Copenhagen Denmark http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp? containerId=IDC_P11911

Tell us about your event at info@egovonline.net 50

www.egovonline.net |


Indian Railways Progress onTrack: September 2006 Issue  

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