Strategic eGovernance initiatives and overview of IT industry in India

author: Jose Jacob Kallarkkal, Independent Consultant
published: April 6, 2010,   recorded: March 2010,   views: 3899
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While India has seen a rapid pace of growth over the last decade due to liberalization and market oriented policies followed by successive governments. There still remain substantial challenges to ensure that the benefits of growth can reach the masses. Over the next decade India would need an economy that is driven by growth and creation of jobs to ensure poverty alleviation and facilitation of an equitable societal framework.

While the demographic dividend and largely young population will remain an advantage, it could also prove to be disaster if there a lack of effective and efficient management of this strength. It is in this context that eGovernance initiatives becomes one of the most critical aspect for the success of India in the coming decade. The current scenario – While many state governments and government departments are independently involved with IT service providers to improve their service delivery models, there is a lack of a larger plan and strategy.

This could in the future create scalability problems and also pose challenges when there needs to be integration or creation of a single platform to share information. While on one hand independent services could excel due to the IT based intervention, this approach will not lead to large benefits in the long run.

The future and Dream UIDAI project – In a bold and strategic move the present government of India has announced and undertaken the project that in effect will create the largest database in the world. The Unique Identification Association of India (UIDAI) project is a step towards assigning a unique number to each individual in the country that would remain a permanent identifier right from birth to death of the individual. The UID would dispose the need for a person to produce multiple documentary proofs of his/her identity for availing of any government service or private services like opening of a bank account.

It would also serve as the basis for many e-Governance services incorporating online verification of a person’s identity. This project is of course complex and greatly challenging. The largest database as of today (in the United States) of this kind is that of 120 million people and in India this will be about 1.2 billion people.The project is headed by Nandan Nilekani, former co-chairman of Infosys Technologies (2nd largest IT company in India) and the professional services firm Ernst & Young is the consulting partner. It remains to be seen, if the UIDIA project will be successful.

If things go right for the UIDAI, the ability to align all e-governance initiatives on a single platform for delivery and thereby to make the world’s largest democracy also the best governed country could become a dream turned to reality.

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