E-governance project lauded by U.S. official

Thursday, 21 November 2002, 08:00 Hrs
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HYDERABAD: US Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill Thursday lauded the technological initiatives of the Andhra Pradesh government in providing faster and better services to the people.

O'Neill visited a e-Seva Centre in Hyderabad where citizens can access as many as 32 government and private sector services under one roof.

He even invited e-Seva Centre director Phani Kumar to implement a similar project in the U.S. "The technology is there but the convergence of various services is not there", he told the officials.

O'Neill, who was accompanied by U.S. Ambassador to India Robert Blackwill, told reporters he had not seen such a project anywhere in the world.

"I am very pleased and impressed by the effective use of technology to converge the services of federal, state and local government under one roof. I have not seen any thing like this before."

Both O'Neill and Blackwill were shown how fast the services being offered could be and indeed were, with officials issuing them driving licences on the spot. Photographs of the duo were taken on the spot and all formalities were completed in a few minutes.

"This is a memento from the government. We have paid 390 each as a driving license fee as they were the state guests," one official said.

Kumar told O'Neill there were 25 such centres in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad. Plans were afoot to open 229 more centres across the state.

"We are also planning to increase the number of services to 52 from the present 32 that range from payment of utility bills to train, bus and cinema tickets."

O'Neill, who arrived here Wednesday night, attended a dinner hosted by Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, who briefed him about various projects undertaken by his government to make Hyderabad an important financial hub in India.

The secretary began his daylong visit to Andhra Pradesh with an interaction with rural women at Shamsabad, about 25 km from Hyderabad.

O'Neill's other programmes include a visit to the Microsoft India Development Centre at HITEC City, the hub of IT companies in Hyderabad; a visit to the Freedom Foundation, which is working to help the HIV/AIDS patients; and a visit to the Reddy Foundation working for children's welfare.
Source: IANS
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