Himachal Pradesh- Transforming e-Governance for Transforming Governance

Special focus with an allocated fund of INR 10 crores, earmarked to improve telecommunication connectivity in the tribal areas of Himachal Pradesh: said Rohan Thakur, Director IT, Government of Himachal Pradesh during a conversation with Poulami Chakraborty of BW SmartCities. Excerpts below:

What major Initiatives are being taken by the IT department Government of Himachal Pradesh, which are in lines with Digital India program of Government of India?

In line to  Digital India program vision “Transforming e-Governance for Transforming Governance” with the  key principles of  Transformation,  Integrated Services, Government Process Reengineering (GPR), ICT Infrastructure on Demand, Cloud by Default, Mobile First,. DIT has taken various initiatives in last one year.

CM Help line:  Tender process has been completed and vendor is shortlisted for implementation.  CM Help line will be a single platform for all the public grievances redressal and information services in the State.

Command and Control Centre: To make Himachal safer, the State government is setting up a State level hi-tech command and control centre. The major stake holders are Police, PWD, HPSEBL, MC Shimla and Smart City Shimla

E-District : As of today 59 G2C services are available on line .Work is in progress for 136 more G2C services on e-District portal which would act as a single online platform to take government services to the people..

IT Parks : We are In Process to develop 3 IT Parks in State for investment and employment.

Integrated Enterprise Architecture (in sync with IndEA): We are adopting IndEA frame work, as defined by Ministry of Electronics and   Information Technology MeitY. This will be an interoperable and cost effective solution. Creating “Integrated Enterprise Architecture” from data exchange layer so that footfall is reduced in government offices, information flows smoothly between departments and citizens, manual interventions are reduced and efficiency is increased and Governance became certificate less.

e-Office : e-Office is being implemented to create less paper environment in Government Offices.34 Departments are using e-Office and work in progress for 20 more departments.

Digital Locker: The State is No 1 Digi Locker Issuer in the Country, Completed Ration Cards, Parivar Register, 10th and 12th Marksheets , Certificates of Revenue Department , Vehicle registration certificate, Driving licenses, Aadhaar cards etc are available to the citizens of the state on Digilocker.

What are the major sector of focus for the department, to improvise new policies keeping in mind the state’s geographical location and other civic challenges?

Himachal provides ample scope for development of Electronics and IT / ITeS sector in the region. The State has the proximity to a well-developed city i.e. Chandigarh / Mohali . Department has identified the following focus areas keeping in mind the end customer requirement and potential growth.

  • Business Process Outsourcing
  • Software Development
  • Incubation Hub
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Data Centre Setup
  • Research and Development

To what extent, is eGovernance adopted in the state government departments. How far are we from achieving the last mile connectivity for the citizens through the government’s citizen-centric services?

In e-Governance adoption and innovation, Himachal Pradesh has contributed in big way and some other states are following the same model.

  • 1st Sate to launch “e-Samadhan” portal for public grievance management
  • 1st in Country to have SWAN for e-Governance
  • Highest Tele density in the Non Metro States.
  • 3rd National Rank in Aadhaar Coverage
  • For Last mile connectivity under Phase 2 of Bharat Net 2785 GPs in 65 blocks will be linked with OFCs using electrical infrastructure

Remaining 209 GPs in 7 Blocks to be connected with VSAT links

  • Online copy of ROR and cadastral Maps.
  • Various e-services for Excise and taxation department.
  • Automation in Transport and HRTC for better services to citizen.
  • MENREGA benefactrices transactions on  DBT portal.

What measures is the state Government department initiating to enhance Public Internet Access program in the state? Are the rural regions been duly given attention? What are the measures taken?

Special focus is given to connect the Tribal Areas in the State. Rs 10 Crore has been earmarked to improve telecommunication connectivity in the remote areas.

Broadband Highways is one central focus area under the Digital India program. How is the state faring to secure broadband highways in its boundaries?

A major portion of HP’s geography has a hilly terrain. It’s a challenging to pull the fibre optics cable infrastructure in those areas and thus, 165 Panchayats, which are in the hilly area, will be covered through VSAT instead of optical fiber. In the plains, the optical fibre will not be underground but will be overlaid on electrical poles. Himachal Pradesh has the best electrical poles network in the country. The state was 98 per cent electrified in the year 1985.Whereas 95 per cent of Phase I implementation of Bharat Net is completed, which amounts to 270 panchayats. Also HIMSWAN network is upgraded to higher bandwidth to cater the demand of new applications.

To what extent has the IT department of the state been able to create jobs in the state? Are start-ups being focussed in the region? What is the strategy for utilising start-ups as the state’s major revenue contributor in the long run?

IT Department has taken various initiatives to generate jobs in the State. New Projects are initiated and implemented e.g. C.M Helpline , Wifi Choupal and expansion of existing SDC , HIMAWAN , CSC etc. In line to various initiatives from central , State has also implemented Start-up policy to encourage young entrepreneurs to start their own business.

In close co-ordination with STPI, DIT has setup IT Parks with Plug and Play facility.

How is the state It department planning to create a more aware and informed ecosystem with respect to IT initiatives in the state and the common citizens.

By conducting various Capacity Building workshops, AIR Radio and National TV  programme e.g. on Digital Payments awareness. Digitization of various departments with software like e-Office , e-Procurement for more efficiency and transparency. Various on line G2C services are provided to citizens through portal like   e-District , LMK and mobile applications.