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Taking e-governance to rural areas

Jan 18, 2008

With computerisation of local governing bodies, e-governance in India is likely to take deep roots. If central government accepts the recommendations submitted by an expert group, some 250,000 panchayats will go online over next three years, benefiting grassroots organisations and bringing in transparency.

New Delhi: An expert group on Information Technology Programmes of the Panchayati Raj Ministry has recommended computerisation of 2.5 lakh panchayats in the next three years.

This will set the stage for taking e-governance to rural areas, where people can get services such as birth and death certificates, tax payments, and e-mail connectivity at the gram panchayat office itself.

Once the scheme is implemented, the gram panchayat president or the sarpanch will monitor panchayat-centric schemes, carry out financial accounting and reporting, and maintain records of gram sabha and panchayat meetings on the computer.

The expert group, which submitted its report to Panchayati Raj Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar here on Thursday, has recommended the use of information and communication technologies as an integral part of multi-mode training and capacity building.

It has given extensive recommendations on hardware and system software, application of software, connectivity, domain-specific data and metadata standards and adoption of a national panchayati portal.

With e-governance, grassroots organisations will benefit in many ways, leading to decentralised planning, effective monitoring of centrally sponsored schemes, transparency and accountability.

Improved cyber space

Introduction of Information and Communications Technology at the panchayat level will not only allow experimentation with technology but also give immense opportunity to the people to handle technology they have been denied for so long.

It will also create job opportunities at the grass roots level in the form of operational services, maintenance and in many other ancillary areas. Importantly, it is likely to create an improved cyber space covering the entire government spectrum of the country.

Computerisation of 250,000 panchayats is likely to cost Rs 5,400 crore. It is a mission-mode project under the National e-Governance Plan of the Centre.

Source : The Hindu
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