Local bodies brought under e-governance in India

Local bodies brought under e-governance in India

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New Delhi, India, January 29, 2008 – In a major boost to e-governance initiative under the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP), the government of India has decided to bring the local bodies under its net.

“The Indian government is planning to roll out citizen-centric government services through the local bodies. Most of the services namely property tax, water tax etc, are under the purview of the local bodies such as municipal corporations in the country. Hence, the government has decided to enable the local bodies to adopt e-governance measures to reach out to the citizens,” S P Singh, senior director, in the department of information technology told CyberMedia News.

The scheme would be rolled out under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission. The Ministry of Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation would manage the scheme.

USAID India, the Indo-US financial reform and expansion project has been retained as external consultant to assess the feasibility and roll out the project.

Hitesh Vaidya, senior municipal development specialist with US-AID FIRE (D) project said that the government is now looking at the financial viability of the project.

“The government, through the DIT will roll out the scheme in 423 municipal corporations in top cities of the country. In the first phase, about 35 local bodies, covering a million people, will be enabled with both the technology and the know-how of implementing e-governance services. World-class self-service kiosks are to be placed in the local ward offices, which will depend on the number of wards in the particular city,” he said.

Indications are that the government is considering the public-private-partnership mode for the project estimated to cost the exchequer about Rs 500 to Rs 700 crores.

A three-tier Geographical Information System (GIS) would also be integrated for mapping the requirements and the needs of the urban local bodies. The proposal is now with the Planning Commission, which will take a final decision on how much the government will invest in the project. The commission would announce the scheme in the next couple of weeks.