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Effective e-Governance: Delhi government adopts telecom tools to fast-track service delivery

October 01, 2013

Since the launch of the National e-Governance Plan in 2006, various state governments, including the Delhi government, have taken several initiatives to make government services accessible to citizens through common service delivery outlets. With the aim of  delivering e-governance services in an efficient and transparent manner at an affordable cost, the Delhi government has invested significantly in establishing its communications and IT network. Supported and guided by the State e-Governance Mission Team, Department of Information Technology, the Delhi State Wide Area Network (DSWAN) was set up in 2005-06. Under DSWAN, various e-governance projects have been initiated in the state.

tele.net tracks the Delhi government’s telecom initiatives over the past few years…

 Communications infrastructure

According to Sandeep Ahlawat, head, SeMT, the Delhi government established a private and secure network – DSWAN – to enable its various departments to offer services through an e-platform. Prior to the implementation of DSWAN, the government’s telecom set-up comprised 4-5 leased circuits, which facilitated the functioning of crucial government departments. The state government also used data centre services provided by the National Informatics Centre (NIC).

In 2006, DSWAN comprised 21 leased circuits with 2-4 Mbps leased line links sourced from Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited. These circuits converged at the network operation centre located at the Secretariat Building, connecting 21 major government buildings that accommodate more than 50 departments, sub-departments and offices. While setting up DSWAN, the government also connected the Secretariat Building with NIC at Laxmi Nagar. Currently, NIC houses servers belonging to different government departments.

With the increasing scope of e-governance services, DSWAN was scaled up to incorporate 120 leased circuits, using thousands of secured Tri-band Delhi Government (Tri-band-DG) and 50 MPLS links. The government’s network operation centre is equipped with central switches, router stacks and fibre terminating points. The network management system-based modules are used for managing and monitoring the telecom networks. Since data security is of paramount concern, the data centre complies with security standards specified by government agencies such as Standardisation Testing and Quality Certification as well as the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team.

Currently, the state government’s telecom and IT infrastructure is accessed by 200,000 employees. Commenting on the utilisation of the network, Ahlawat says, “At present, different government departments are at varying levels of IT enablement. Some of the departments have already re-engineered their processes and implemented important projects using information technology whereas others are in the process of adopting telecom to deliver utility services in an effective and transparent manner.” He further adds that with the government taking an active interest in the adoption of IT across departments, mobile governance has gained traction amongst citizens.  Currently, many basic services are readily available on mobile.

Challenges and benefits

Ahlawat believes that in order to extend the benefits of technology to users through e-governance services, there is a need to establish a single-window system to integrate the data bases of different government departments and civic bodies at the back end. Further, there is a need to make the departments aware of the benefits that can be derived through the adoption of telecom and IT tools.

The government has been able to improve its processes and user experience through the adoption of the single-window system and provision of online interfaces of all services to a certain extent. In the past few years, the state government has rolled out e-governance initiatives such as Jeevan (CSC), DSWAN, e-Procurement, e-SLA, and the Commercial Taxes and Excise SCM System of Delhi. These initiatives have helped to simplify processes and improve efficiencies. For example, under e-SLA, timelines of notified services are monitored electronically and delays are accounted for. Citizens are compensated for delays and costs are levied on non-performing officials. With the implementation of the project, internal efficiencies have significantly improved. It has brought about a radical change in the public service delivery system. The project is backed by Delhi (Right of Citizen to Time Bound Delivery of Services) Act, 2011. Using its telecom infrastructure, the government has been able to share and manage huge volumes of data and information across departments. Based on the availability of real-time data, the government has been able to offer timely, updated and transparent services to users.

The way forward

Ahlawat says that the Delhi government has been making adequate budgetary allocations for the implementation of new technologies and projects, thereby strengthening the existing telecom infrastructure in the city. Going forward, he sees a growing demand for e-governance services. To cater to the surge in demand, the government plans to further enhance the capacity of its telecom network.

 
 

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