At last some action

If there is one state in India which has fallen behind the pack as far as promoting IT in a big way is concerned, it is Delhi. Rather than taking the lead in this matter–as would be expected from a capital city–the state was till now at best making token noises about the same.

Although Sheila Dikshit, the Chief Minister of the state has been making lot of hue and cry about IT and has also set up a task force to prepare a comprehensive IT policy for the city, the fact of the matter is that precisely nothing concrete has happened on this front till now.

But now things should change for better. In a major step towards achieving e-governance, the state government last month set up a 24 member advisory council on IT comprising of Dikshit, senior government officials and some leading industry figures like RS Pawar of NIIT, Dewang Mehta of NASSCOM, Ajai Chowdhry of HCL, Rajiv Nair of Microsoft, Arun Kumar of Hughes Software, Sunil Mittal of Bharti Telecom etc.

The council has a two-fold role in the implementation of IT policy in the state. Firstly, it will suggest measures to make Delhi a top-class cyber city and secondly, the council will suggest methods to implement the IT policy.

As and when this process gets implemented, the state government hopes to change the city by the year 2003, when it expects to make Delhi a cyber city in the true sense. It is aiming to give an identity card to all the citizens which could be used for booking of tickets, registration of vehicles and other services for which a common man has to go to a government agency.

In the process, Delhi will follow the Lucknow model–Simple, Methodical, Accountable, Responsive and Transparent (SMART) city. The need to follow the Lucknow model is acute in the capital as Delhi has a plethora of government departments–like DDA, MCD, NDMC, DVB, DJB, MTNL–with which the common man has to interface on a day-to-day basis. They have to face a lot of problems in as mundane as information retrieval which as a matter of fact is their right. The need of the hour is to become IT savvy as it would bring a lot of benefits to the common citizen.

Side by side, the Delhi government is also considering a proposal to set up an independent ISP for IT parks and equip it with their own transponder. This is being done in order to speed up the Internet connectivity.

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