e-Governance practices in forest department

e-Governance practices in forest department

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Amit Asthana
Amit Asthana
Deputy Conservator of Forests
Tamil Nadu forest department, india
[email protected]

The Tamil Nadu Forest Department has capitalized the potentials of Information Technology in crossing the digital divide and putting the forest development onto a new platform of e-Governance. The use of Information Technology has come to play a vital role in planning, management and monitoring in forestry sector

The Global Information Technology Report brought out by the World Economic Forum indicates that India is emerging as one of the leading nations in the field of Information and Communications Technology development.

A study on e-Readiness assessment of the states and union territories was done through World Bank – infoDev. A team of the Department of Information and Technology along with National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) and Indian Research Market Bureau (IMRB) conducted the study based on the broad parameters namely network access, network learning, network society, network economy, network policy and e-Governance. This study has rated Tamil Nadu as leaders in e-Readiness.

The Forest Department realized the importance of Information and Communication Technology initiatives in sharing of information at low cost and lightening speed and assuring the users of transparency. Over the last couple of years the department has taken several IT initiatives in forestry sector. This was set in motion with the help of funds received by the department from Japan Bank of International Co-operation (JBIC) under Tamil Nadu Afforestation Project (TAP). Steps have been taken to use information technology as an effective tool in enhancing transparency and efficiency. The earnest efforts have been made by the department to upgrade the quality of life for the citizens through e-Governance and IT applications in forestry.

Human Resources Development has been given a lot of importance and appropriate training on computers have been provided to the officials of the department at all levels. With the successful completion of computerization project, networking, development of GIS and establishment of Geomatics Center, development of MIS, development of website and use of modern technologies such as digital image processing of satellite data (remote sensing), GIS, GPS and Differential GPS, the Forest Department of Tamil Nadu is undoubtedly the front runner in e-Governance practices.

Approach
Generally it is seen in many government departments that in such specific computerization projects, costly equipments are purchased, consultants are engaged and the work is outsourced to private agencies or professionals outside the department. And after the exit of consultants and professionals from the scene, the systems/equipments are seen lying idle thus making the project a failure in many cases. It is also seen in government departments that the officers and staff who undergo trainings under the project are not posted at appropriate places for the desired period. But this has not happened so in case of the Forest Department. The systems were procured after carefully assessing the workload and requirement of the department. The state-of-the-art Geomatics Center was established in Forest Department after visiting and studying the similar facilities available in different institutions in Tamil Nadu and in other states as well. Only the interested and willing persons were trained. After training they were posted for the same job for which they have been trained. The work was not outsourced to any outside agency. The entire work was done by the trained departmental staff thus ensuring the sustained utilization of the systems (hardware and software) procured.