INTRODUCTION

During the last quarter of this century Information Technology (IT) has transformed the way of human life as no other technology has. IT has potential of converting our society into a truly knowledge based society. IT also gives us a chance in ensuring that such an evolution leads to an equitable society. Now, there is no area of human life, which is not affected by information technology in one way or the other. To ensure that people of the State of Gujarat reap the benefits of this epoch making development, it is imperative that the State Government evolves a coordinated strategy which could affect all the facets of life of citizens of the State.

MISSION

To help improve processes in the Government by using computing devices, communication systems associated electronics and

software to provide better delivery systems to the citizens.

It is very clearly understood that IT is not an end in itself but means to provide better quality of life to the citizens of the State. It does not aim at merely automating existing process but the target is to use IT to improve overall organizational efficiency and pass the benefits to the citizens of the State.

OBJECTIVES

  • Over all IT growth in the state of Gujarat
  • To create enormous new employment opportunities in the state
  • To train and develop skilled manpower in IT
  • To facilitate information outlets at the doorstep of the common man
  • To make Government-Citizen interface more effective, efficient and transparent

This will enable people at large to access information related to - education, i.e. technical and non technical course offered by various institutions, admission procedures, admission list, results etc., health services - like various medical expertise available at different hospitals, on line medical services etc; transport service information - like bus arrival and departure timings, reservation facilities etc. Information Kiosks will also provide the on-line delivery of various application forms to the users irrespective of their location in the state.

CONNECTIVITY

State Government recognizes the importance setting up of an elaborate network to bring about a seamless transition between the various computing devices currently in use in the public domain or those, which may be put to use in future. Government also recognizes this network would act as core of IT infrastructure in the State. To ensure proliferation of IT, the department has decided to create this "information corridor ". The core of this corridor would be connecting the State capital right upto Taluka headquarters by first connecting the capital to the district headquarters .The district headquarters would be subsequently connected to the taluka headquarters. The State Government seeks to achieve this end by the year 2001." Information corridor" would be a major tool in implementing IT Policy in the State. IT would try to create this corridor by obtaining synergies with the existing networks in the public domain as well. On peripheries of this "information corridor" would be networks supporting databases of various Government departments as well as computerized public counters, kiosks/information centers that will help electronic interface of the citizens with the Government.

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY IN GOVERNMENT

The usage of IT strategies in Government would be a key to improving processes which will ensure better delivery system to the citizens. This will also aim at creating transparent Government so as to fulfill the citizens' charter.

IT developments in State Government would be through the following stages:

  • For each department, identification of key area on priority basis needs to be computerized first .The criterion would be computerizing those systems first which improve the delivery systems for the citizens. This includes ration card, driving license, NA permission, Sales-tax Return etc. This is only an indicative list.
  • By completing these data base in a time-bound fashion and making them operational, delivery time for the citizens will have to be cut down demonstrably in a time-bound fashion.
  • To create greater convenience for the citizens, it would be imperative to create efficient/intelligent interface, which can take form of computer-supported counters, Kiosks etc. The Government would strive to ensure that all the forms required to be filled in by citizens for interface with the Government would be available for filling in electronically by the year 2005. Prior to this, citizens will have access to forms through Kiosks/other vendors by way of electronic devices. This would be achieved by the year 2002 AD. Choices for the citizens to obtain and complete forms by means other than electronic would also be kept open.

The system of information Kiosks would be the major integrators of various databases existing with various Government departments. Government will bring suitable legislation to guarantee protection of citizens related information which would be existing on various databases.

In order to ensure that there is no duplication of data entry and thereby to avoid confusion, the State Government would issue multi-purpose cards to all citizens of the State. These would be in the form of suitable smart cards. This will ensure security to individual information and would also provide one point coding system.

Enabling mechanism

  • All departments will prepare there IT Action Plan, which would have a one-year focus and a five-year perspective
  • One percent of the State Government budget would be committed to IT related activities which is expected to rise to 3% in the year 2005 AD
  • To ensure quicker availability of funds, a separate IT sub-head would be created within each major head. IT related funds will not be subject to any economy measures and they would be made available as far as practicable in lump-sum to the departmental heads rather than in the form of quarterly/monthly releases
  • To oversee implementation of IT strategies in the departments, each department will have Chief Information Officer (CIO) who would report directly to Secretary of the department. Considering the nature of mobility of IT professionals, such CIO would be recruited on contractual basis and recruitment would be freed from encumbrances of Gujarat Public Service Commission (GPSC).
  • All departments would create shareable databases of rules and other related information. This would include information such as budget, recruitment/service rules, plan achievements for various schemes etc.
  • Creation of E-mail system.
  • Creation of document imaging system to reduce paper work
  • Each department will create web page within the State Government's web-site to display grievance-handling procedure. By the year 2001 AD, facility would be provided to citizens for their grievances to be handled electronically as well.
  • Certain inter-departmental projects which have considerable significance as being underlying feature for all other IT related activities as well as of considerable importance for the well being of the citizens of the State would be given a special status of State IT Projects. This would include projects such as disaster management system, citizen's database, budget etc. Inter-departmental committee to be appointed hereafter would monitor them.

Where withal for achievements

Government has set up IT Department for implementation of IT Policy. IT department should remain a very lean department concentrating on policy aspects as well as monitoring of the implementation of the State IT policy.

An agency with fair amount of autonomy would be set up for helping various players in IT field and in implementing IT Policy. Among other things, this organization would also select consultants/specialists for providing services to various Government departments/agencies under broad framework contracts. Some of these would include :

  • Information strategy development
  • IT architecture design including network and communication.
  • Program and project management.
  • Contract support system.
  • Internet/intranet services.
  • Computer and communication security.
  • Systems audit.
  • Disaster recovery.
  • Outsourcing including actual running of system.
  • Training.
  • Testing.

This organization would also help augment its finance from various resources including raising from the market. Its services to Government departments/agencies would be strictly fees-based. It would also take up other activities such as hardware acquisition, software development, training etc. It will also maintain an inventory of technological developments in the field of IT and keep various Government agencies aware of the same. It would also work as an agency for identification of projects for private sector participation and would take up the work of procurement of private sector proponent as well in coordination with Gujarat Infrastructure Development Board.

As mentioned above, State Government is committed to providing resources for proliferation of information technology. It is proposed to commit at least 1% of the budget by 2000AD.