Big boost for Digital Kerala e-Governance projects in Budget 2015-16

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Trivandrum: The State Budget for the year 2015-16 presented by the Finance Minister, Shri K M Mani in the Niyamasabha today gives an impetus to the various e-Governance projects in Kerala. The Budget proposals were tabled amidst protests and acrimonious scenes in the Legislative Assembly by the opposition.

Some highlights from the Budget speech related to Digital Kerala:

Kerala has been a forerunner in the adoption of IT for providing services to citizens. We need to take the next bold steps to make our State the first fully Digital State.

The IT Department is drawing up plans to use the National Optic Fibre Network (NOFN) as part of its Digital India initiative. We will avail this connectivity for the entire State with the support of Government of India and provide NOFN / Internet over Optic Fibre to all Block and Grama
Panchayats.

Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) is drawing up an ambitious plan to extend connectivity from the Panchayats to all beneficiary institutions like schools, hospitals, anganawadies and other public institutions.

All services notified under the Right to Service Act 2012 by various Departments will be fully rendered as e-services over a period of 3 years, so that our people do not have to visit Government Offices unnecessarily. To meet the cost of development of web applications and services and for the purchase of hardware, I am providing Rs. 25 crore.

I am happy to announce the formation of an e-Governance Innovation Fund (e-GIF). I am providing Rs.14 crore for this fund at Rs.1 crore per district.

In Digital Kerala, the necessity of certificates issued by one department that are required by another department and the need for citizens to approach Government departments or authorities in person to get these, will be reduced or eliminated.

The first step is by eliminating the need for students and parents to approach any authority for Certificates. The students’ database in Education Department has been made digital. I intend to support a unified Virtual IT Platform which will eliminate the need for a student anywhere in Kerala to approach various Government Departments for certificates for his or her education.

The second would be to integrate or interconnect databases maintaining citizen information so that citizens will be provided with application specific certificates automatically or be able to generate online requests for certificates issued by Government departments. To meet the cost of integration of various databases and purchase of equipment, I am providing an amount of Rs.10 crore.

Half of the departments in the Secretariat have switched over to the e-Office mode of work or are in the process of doing so. This will be completed in the next four months. e-Office will be extended to the State and District Levels offices of all major departments this year. I intend to provide a sum of Rs. 50 crore for purchasing computers and network accessories and training of personnel in these offices.

It will be a major landmark for Kerala when our State will have a seamless and transparent system in which a petition filed by any citizen can be tracked all the way from the district to the State.

One time assistance of Rs 1 crore for establishing the Smart Classroom Grid of Local Self Government Department to establish state-of-the-art smart classrooms with a range of advanced ICT tools to provide capacity building inputs to elected LSG representatives, functionaries, SHGs, workers of MGNREGA and the public.

A strong in-house IT Team in our Government Departments is a prerequisite for success of any e-Governance project. A pilot project of Virtual IT Cadre was launched in February which will be scaled upwards and extended to all Departments. The personnel inducted into the Virtual
Cadre will be made the knowledge leaders who will be equipped to handle high end IT projects and proposals. I am providing an amount of Rs. 1 crore for capacity building under this novel initiative.

An amount of Rs. 10 crore to selected Municipalities in the State to establish WiFi connectivity. For this an amount of Rs.1 crore will be given to Municipal Corporations and Rs. 50 lakh to selected Municipalities.

I have already made an allocation of Rs.374.57 crore this year for IT. This allocation of Rs.101 crore that I have announced now is over and above the normal allocations for IT in the budget under Annual Plan.

Kerala IT News

Photograph shows Finance Minister, Shri K M Mani presenting the 2014-15 Budget in Niyamasabha

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