Bringing in technology or e-Governance has always been close to his heart: Conrad  

Shillong, August 09:  Meghalaya Chief Minister, Shri Conrad K Sangma, today, inaugurated the two days’ 22nd National Conference on e-Governance at State Convention Centre, Shillong which was also attended by Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North Eastern Region, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions etc, Dr Jitendra Singh. The National Conference on e-Governance (NCeG) is being held in the North East for the first time.

During his Inaugural Address, Meghalaya Chief Minister, Shri Conrad K Sangma said that bringing in technology in governance or e-Governance has always been close to his heart. “It is important to ensure that technology is used and applied in the right way so that another exercise or activity is done in a much better way reaching out to more people,” he said.

He said that the State of Meghalaya and other North Eastern States have the issue of connectivity and different kind of challenges come in when there is a problem of connectivity. “The connectivity issue is something that we really need to look at and no matter how many platforms we come out with if the connectivity is not there, it will defeat half the purpose of all the exercise that we do,” said the Chief Minister.

He also said that the other big challenge that Meghalaya and North East as a whole faces in respect to connectivity is the proximity to the international borders which have poor connectivity as service operators are discouraged to have towers at the border areas due to policy provisions within 1-2 kilometres of international borders.

“This is a big hindrance as well as it is a national security issue as people on the borders often use Bangladesh or Myanmar or perhaps even Chinese mobile network to stay connected with the other parts of the country,” said the Chief Minister adding that connectivity in the North East is a matter of great concern and a core issue.

The Chief Minister also said that another important aspect of e-Governance is the data that the government collects to make quality decisions for better services to the people. “We as a State Government are really looking forward in that line and the data driven governance when it is actually implemented can have an immense impact at the grassroots level,” he added.

He cited the example of the successful model of how technology is being used in Meghalaya in creating a database of expectant mothers, details of health infrastructure available and using that effectively to increase institutional deliveries in the State, without incurring extra cost. “This has gone a long way in improving the figures of maternal mortality rates in the pilot district and this model will be replicated in the other districts within the current financial year,” informed the Chief Minister.

He further highlighted the innovative programmes and e-initiatives of the State in sectors like Agriculture and Entrepreneurship to revolutionize the farmers and provide a platform and give the much needed support to innovative entrepreneurs of the State. The Chief Minister also stressed on the need of having Smart Villages and to implement basic technologies to ensure that the villages are also Smart.

“In this conference we must think of innovative ways by which we can make our villages Smart also,” he said. Smart classrooms, smart health and smart entrepreneurship are other aspects that can be looked into, added the Chief Minister.

Addressing the Inaugural session, Dr Jitendra Singh congratulating the Government of Meghalaya for organizing such an elaborate and successful National Conference on e-Governance in which 28 states and 8 Union Territories participated in this Conference said that this in itself is a testimony of the commitment shown by state Governments across the country towards e-Governance. He proposed that the Conference adopts a ‘Shillong Declaration on e-Governance’ so that the important takeaways from the sessions may be referred to and developed upon in the future.

Dr. Singh highlighted the importance of increasing awareness among the common people about new citizen-friendly initiatives taken by the Government like the dashboards, portals and apps that have been set up by the Government to establish citizen-friendly governance.

He also informed that the Ministry of DoNER is keeping up with the pace of digitization and service delivery through electronic means. “It has constantly engaged itself with promoting e-governance initiatives that are being taken up by the North Eastern states and that it has extended its support to various externally aided projects proposed by different NE States in the field of Health (Telemedicine), Education (Digitization of Classrooms) etc,” he added.

Further, Dr. Singh added that for the last 5 years, the Government has made significant progress in the direction of achieving e-Governance mandate being discussed at the highest level. For making digital literacy universal, the Government has taken key initiatives like Aadhaar and Jan-Dhan Yojana and has laid down the target completion by 2022, i.e. the 75th Independence year of India.

During his address, Shri Hamletson Dohling, Minister for IT and Communications, Government of Meghalaya noted that information and communication technology is a powerful tool to bring the Government and public together and ensure efficient public service delivery. He said that NCeG is an important platform to realise the huge potential of ‘Digital Dividend’ across the country.

He enlisted the citizen centric initiatives taken by the Government of Meghalaya, like e-Districts; sponsoring students and local companies to increase digital literacy in the state, among others. He requested the Union Minister to continue providing Central Government’s support to realise the dream of Meghalaya establishing an IT hub in the North East.

Shri K.V. Eapen, Secretary, Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG), thanked the Government of Meghalaya for hosting the National Conference, a first in the North East. Talking about the importance of such large scale conferences, he said NCeG is a platform for Government officials, industry stalwarts and researchers to interact and share best practices in the field of e-Governance.

Such conferences are a stepping stone towards the Government’s vision to bridge the Digital Divide, enhance citizen satisfaction and participation in service delivery and bringing in more transparency to reduce corruption. Shri Eapen added that digital literacy and data security are important constituents of achieving the above vision.

This conference would deliberate on these important aspects besides the importance of convergence of the efforts of the Union and State Governments in achieving ‘Digital India’, he added. The Secretary also gave a brief overview of the e-governance initiatives being taken in DARPG.

Shri Ajay Prakash Sawhney, Secretary, MeitY gave a presentation on how public digital platforms have been utilised for value creation and how it has transformed the nature of Government public service delivery in the country. The presentation focussed on ‘Government becoming a Service Enabler from a Service Provider’. He gave the example of Direct Benefit Transfer saving about Rs. 1 Lakh Crore of tax payers’ money since its inception; how digital payments have been revolutionised by BHIM UPI App; how Government procurement has been made transparent by the Government e-Market (GEM) platform.

Shri P.S. Thangkhiew, Chief Secretary, Government of Meghalaya, during his address, focussed on binding Government programmes together by using enterprise architecture approach. He stressed on the need for strengthening the digital backbone for achieving the vision of a digitally integrated service delivery architecture in the country.

It may be mentioned that the 22nd National Conference on E-Governance, jointly organized by the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG), in association with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Government of India and the Government of Meghalaya carrying the theme-`Digital India: Success to Excellence’, focuses primarily on providing considerable push to e-governance initiatives in North Eastern Region and also to provide opportunity for civil servants and others to showcase their successful interventions in providing end-to-end service delivery.

The forum brings together about 330 delegates and senior officials from as many as 28 States and 8 Union Territories along with regional experts, development partners, business organisations and other key stakeholders. Exhibitions are also being held to showcase India’s achievement in the field of e-governance.



What Next?

Recent Articles

Leave a Reply

Submit Comment