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NIT - revised (formal) draft plus IT

Please help make the Manifesto better, or accept it, and propagate it!
a) A pre-final draft is now ready - with a few errors, yet. Those
interested in a far more thorough argument can download it at the IPI
publications page as 
usual. Grateful for comments. Once finalized, a draft detailed project
report for a pilot project can begin.

b) Those intersted in IT might like to comment on the Draft IT policy and
e-governace strategy for Meghalaya that has been prepared recently. Below:

Draft for discussion
E-governance Strategy for Meghalaya
E-governance Strategy for Meghalaya

                                       Sanjeev Sabhlok (14.6.2000)

1.	Introduction
	E-governance represents the next stage of governance in a democratic
society. De-mystification,  transparency, access to relevant information,
speed of the delivery of services, and expeditious redressal of public
grievances is the hallmark of this stage of governance Democracy itself is
strengthened as people are directly able to participate in, monitor, and in
other ways communicate their views to their representatives.
	However, e-governance is not a magic word on uttering which the current
system of governance will transform itself in the expected manner.
E-governance requires a great amount of resources, upgradation of skills,
re-organization of procedures, and generally speaking, a lot of hard work.
Outlined below are some of the tasks that have to be taken up by various
parts of the Meghalaya Government if we are to ultimately provide this much
 more efficient and improved version of governance to the citizens of this
State. This strategy paper is based on the draft I.T Policy of Meghalaya.

2.	Infrastructure
	A large amount of resources  have to be deployed to provide the requisite
hardware, software, and connectivity to all the wings of the Government.
This task can cost many crores of rupees. The grant from the Ministry of
Information Technology of Rs.50 lakhs worth of hardware, apart from the
many lakhs of rupees spent by the NIC in Meghalaya over the past 10 years,
is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of resources required. The State
Government would have to allocate a substantial amount of resources of its
own toward purchase and continuous upgradation  and maintenance of
appropriate equipment in the coming years.

3.	Upgradation of skills
For E-governance to become a reality in Meghalaya, large-scale training of
Government employees in the field of IT is essential. The SIO of NIC has
informed that around 500 employees have been trained jointly by NIC and
MATI in computer appreciation . These are mostly Assistants and some P.As.
At one point, all IAS officers in Meghalaya were also given this training.
Unfortunately among MCS officers in Meghalaya, virtually none have been
trained in the use of computers so far. It also appears that regular
in-service training is not a major requirement for officers in Meghalaya.
This gap has to be filled urgently. 
The training so far has been essentially a two-week course, imparted for a
few hours each day, in computer appreciation. This does not include
specialized skill building in word processing and data entry. Further, the
staff is almost completely ignorant of the Internet, e-mail, etc. It is
therefore necessary to organize a foundation course based on a specific
syllabus  which covers the information required to be known by all
concerned, subsequent to which the staff should be examined and given
refresher training wherever required. 

3.1	Orientation of MLAs 
	This has already begun at MATI earlier this month.

3.2	Training of Officers 
There around 25 officers from the MCS in the Secretariat and perhaps
another 25 from the Secretariat Service.  Most of these officers cannot be
spared for purposes of training for extensive duration from their current
assignments. For these officers, various short term courses ranging in
duration from three days to one week, and held for not more than three
hours per day in the morning need to be organized at MATI. A proposed list
of courses for these officers, in the proper sequence is enclosed at
Annexure I.  
MATI has sufficient resources to train officers as far as hardware and
space is concerned, particularly after the arrival of the expected hardware
from MIT. However, training material has to be developed , including
purchase of relevant books. It is expected that officers will be required
to take two exam at the end of the course to ensure that they have grasped
the knowledge imparted to them. The NIC has agreed to provide two full-time
staff to impart training to officers in the coming year. 

3.3	Training of Staff
It is expected that each Department would have access to at least one
networked computer by the end of this year. The staff would require
extensive training in order to optimally used the equipment. In addition,
all P.As to officers and Ministers need extensive training in word
processing. It is felt that immediate arrangements need to be put in place
to impart to training around 350 members of  the Secretariat staff during
this year.
The NIC and MATI do not possess adequate infrastructure to train so many
members of the staff in addition to the training to be imparted to
officers. It is, therefore, felt that the Seminar Room of the State Library
be requisitioned for training purposes. It has the capacity to seat about
30 persons with computers. The first batch of computers supplied by
Ministry of IT would be placed in this Seminar room. Adequate furniture,
UPS, and other training equipment would have to be provided by the State
Government.  The NIC has agreed to provide two full-time faculty for this
	30 persons will be trained in each batch for a duration of 1 month each
(total 360 employees during the year). In the first phase, only those who
are keen to learn will be given preference in selection for training. At
the end of each course, an examination will be administered, on passing
which each successful person would received a Certificate which would go
into his/her service record, as well as a cash incentive of Rs.500/-. In
the subsequent years, the entire staff would be fully trained. In due
course it is expected that Departmental Exams would be administered in the
field of IT to all staff in order for them to cross the Efficiency Bar. 

4.	Redesign of Office Procedures
	Under the current Office Procedures Manual we have the provision to trace
physical pieces or sheets of paper. For e-governance, we will require to
trace e-mail and digital communication both within the Departments as well
as with the public. Under the IT Act, 2000 which has recently been passed
by the Parliament, digital documents are acceptable as legal documents,
subject to certain provisions. It is to meet the requirements of this Act
that we shall have to redesign the Office Procedures Manual for Meghalaya
to allow for a relatively paperless environment. In addition, technology
makes it possible to accept many transactions directly over the internet,
such as application forms duly filled up, payments for services as well as
taxes, etc. Therefore, there is an urgent need to set up a Task Force under
the Administrative Reforms Department to redesign the various rules and
procedures that are currently being used in Government.

5.	Citizen Interface
	It is essential to very carefully design a user-friendly interface for the
citizens, by which they can access all relevant information directly from
the web server of the Government. Templates for the Citizen Interface are
in the process of being designed by the NIC. Each Department would have to
approve these designs and provide all necessary information for this
Interface. It is suggested that  all information relating to each
Department be provided through this interface to the citizens, as long as
it does not violate the Official Secrets Act. This would include
comprehensive data bases which would provide information up to the village
level of all expenditures incurred by Government over the years.
	After these interfaces have been designed and appropriate information fed
into these, we  have to make this information accessible at public kiosks
across the entire State. The interface would also include the provision of
digital information such as CD-ROMs containing all Rules, Acts, forms and
other information relating to the State Government. All departments are
therefore immediately required to begin converting all their Rules,
guidelines, Acts, etc., into word processed documents. These would then be
converted into PDF and other formats and made available to the public from
anywhere in the world.
	The state has also to take up with Telecom Ministry, Ministry of I.T, and
the Planning Commission to enhance internet band within the State. 	

6.	Intranet
	Once the computers in Government are integrated over networks, most of the
routine procedures could be then converted into the digital format. The
intranet server of Meghalaya Government has already been set up. It would
have to be extended to cover various applications involving the sharing of
data, processes, etc., across departments. It will require the design of
suitable software to enhance productivity within the government system. It
would be advisable for each department to nominate a nodal officer for this
purpose who can carry out preliminary studies with the help of NIC on the
requirement of software. This study can form the basis for further
discussion with those concerned.

7.	Conclusion
	Each of the issues discussed above requires focused attention and
time-bound implementation. We need to work on putting the entire package
into place in order to get the full benefit of investments made in
Information Technology in Meghalaya.        	


Draft Meghalaya Information Technology Policy 2000

	Keeping in mind the significance of Information Technology in the state's
growth and development, the state government has decided to accord priority
to the promotion and growth of the IT sector in the State. Two percent of
Plan allocations of all Departments are now earmarked for IT.

A. Objectives
(a) Economic growth:
 To use IT as an engine of economic growth for Meghalaya and create an
environment to ensure that Meghalaya will occupy a suitably eminent
position in the sphere of Information Technology. 
 To make the state an attractive investment destination for IT units from
within and outside the country by providing infrastructure and other
requirements. Bottlenecks and red-tapism will be eliminated.
 The ultimate goal is to promote employment in the IT sector for the
people of Meghalaya.

(b) Governance:
 To expand the use of IT applications in governance and provide better
service transparency, and easy flow of information to the citizens.
 To train and equip government employees in relevant I.T. applications.

(c) Human Resource Development:
 To facilitate and encourage the introduction and spread of computer
education in schools and other education institutions with the objective of
creating a large pool of employable IT personnel.
 To help set up IT institutions and other training institutes preferably
through private sector participation.

B. Strategies

B.1 Industry:
 Incentives available under the Industrial Policy, 1997 are hereby made
applicable to all IT units.
 In addition, the following financial, fiscal and other incentives are now
available to the IT sector (List to be prepared by Industries Department).
 Priority flow of credit to such units will be provided through dialogue
with banks and financial institutions, such as NEDfi and NEC.
 The Government will help set up a Software Technology Park to encourage
private enterprise.
 The Government will organize seminars, exhibitions and fairs, and invite
major players and organizations to identify and participate in IT
investment in the state.

B.2 E-governance:
 The Government will interlink blocks, sub-divisions and district offices
with the state government as well as with other state capitals and central
government ministries, to facilitate smooth flow of information and
 Government services with greater public dealings will be given priority
in computerization.
 All government employees will be trained in basic computer applications
and use of IT.
 No fresh recruitment will be made in government for e-governance.

B.3 Education:
 Government will assess the manpower requirements for IT business. 
 Syllabi/curriculum in academic and vocational training institutes will be
suitably modified keeping this requirement in mind.
 IT will be used (including internet) in the larger schools and colleges
in the state. Once successfully implemented, this will be extended to
smaller institutions.
 Teacher training programmes will be used to enhance their capability to
use and teach IT.
 Attempt will be made to secure seats in various reputed IT institutions
outside the State for students from Meghalaya.

C. Information Technology Task Force:
To co-ordinate Inter-departmental activities and to propagate and monitor
the development of IT in education, industry, etc., appropriate high-level
Information Technology Task Forces (ITTFs) have been constituted in the
fields of Industry, Education and Governance. The functions of the ITTFs are:
 To monitor and review the implementation of the relevant components of IT
Policy of Meghalaya.
 To suggest remedial action as and when felt necessary.
 To issue suitable directions to the departments concerned.

This is the National Debate on System Reform.       debate@indiapolicy.org
Rules, Procedures, Archives:            http://www.indiapolicy.org/debate/