Aiming Tall And Rising High: e-Governance
e-Governance in India is fast becoming a rage. From a Rs 3,014 crore industry in 2005, it is expected to escalate 30% to Rs 4,000 crore, according to a study conducted by independent ICT (Information and Communications Technology) think tank, Skoch Consultancy Services.
Common Services Centres (CSCs), a strategic cornerstone of the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP), are aimed at making all government services accessible to the common man in his locality. The deployment of CSCs in every nook and corner of the country is a major growth driver. The social sector spends are touching a whopping 100,000 crore.
Computerizing National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) is one such initiative. Other significant initiatives include realigning the Department of Posts to provide banking and financial services up-to the last mile.
The other landmark initiatives are computerizing Public Distribution System (PDS) to the block level,MCA 21 and induction of IT in Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), and Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC).
While National Informatics Center (NIC) continues to play a pivotal role in deploying e-governance schemes, private players have also made substantial inroads, with TCS having captured 12% of this market.
Some key upcoming projects include Lokvani Centres in Sitapur District in U.P, CHOiCE and e-Gram Suraj at Chhattisgarh.
Lokvani Centers aim at a single window grievance redressal service that tackles citizen complaints ranging from pensions and land disputes to unresolved theft cases. Sitapur has 49 such kiosks and another 500 are planned for UP.
CHOiCE has a different strategy in store. Its purpose is to have a one-stop solution for anytime, anywhere government services for the citizen. It provides services like IT education, land records, municipal services, and obtaining various certificates etc.
e-Gram Suraj at Chhattisgarh takes an initiative to help the village sarpanch access data on entire village. Assessing sectors like land, natural resources, healthcare, livelihood and social justice using a handheld device are some of its features.
Having filtered into Customs and Income Tax, information technology can now enable a vessel get clearance in less than 24 hours, only 5 hours for an importer to take his shipment out at the Chennai port. With assessment and duty payments being done online, Customs officials face minimum interface with importers.
A PAN card application can now be made online and delivery taken in seven days. The Online Tax Administration System (OLTAS) by the income tax department allows for online filing of an e-TDS return.
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