Implement e-governance for transparency: Kalam

Friday, 19 December 2003, 08:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: Indian President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Thursday said the country must use e-governance as an effective tool to bring about transparency in government dealings and deliver services to citizens expeditiously.

Kalam also called upon the country's high-profile IT industry to develop "language independent" software for usage in e-governance projects to ensure the proliferation of Internet-enabled services all across the country.

"Since India has core competence in IT, the possibility of success in bringing transparency in administration and management through e-commerce and e-business leading to e-governance is definitely possible," Kalam told a conference on e-governance, organised by the Indian Institute of Technology here.

"Through e-governance you have to bring transparency at all levels. We need national transparency through e-governance," the president said.

He said it was essential that government functions requiring interface with the public were done through the tools of information technology and communication.

"This means, software have to be written to codify the rules, procedures and other related government functions, and public access should be through IT," he said.

"Then the government functions can provide equal access to all based on predetermined rules."

Kalam said the primary data requirement for effective e-governance was a national citizen ID card that should be "multipurpose, secure and authentic".

"India, with a population of one billion people, should be concerned about providing this card to citizens at a cost effective basis.

"Hence there is a need to select the right technology for the preparation of the card, and online issue of the card also needs to be determined urgently."

The president said the Internet revolution had proved to be a powerful tool for good governance initiatives. "An important dimension of the Internet potential is the possibility of providing services any time anywhere," he said.

According to Kalam, a comprehensive e-governance framework needed to be evolved that would entail establishment of an "e-governance commission" and an e-governance data centre at the centre and state levels, among other issues.

He said there was a need to create "language independent" operating systems, databases, application servers, and mail servers in different Indian languages.

"Any software you develop, you will have to think that there are people in the country who speak 14 different languages. Language independent software is the need of the hour," Kalam told the conference.

He said e-governance had to be citizen friendly since delivery of services to citizens was considered a primary function of the government.

"Particularly in a democratic nation of a billion people like India, e-governance should enable seamless access to information and seamless flow of information across the state and central government in the federal set up."

Source: IANS
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