Deeper public-private engagement and training officials on latest technologies can help the National Informatics Centre (NIC) transform its operations to play a bigger role in Digital India initiatives, a report said.
According to the report by a high-level committee chaired by Infosys co-founder S Gopalakrishnan, there is a critical shortage of manpower at NIC as its HR strength remained more or less stagnant in spite of increasing workload.
Besides, upgrading the knowledge of NIC professionals with the help of latest technology tools was stated as another challenge for the organisation.
“The Committee has recommended setting up an advisory committee, to be headed by Department of Electronics and IT Secretary with participation from academia, industry, research institutes and DG NIC and senior members from the organisations,” Gopalakrishnan said.
The committee has also suggested to engage in more public-private partnership models to carry out various projects under NIC.
“NIC is a very important part of connectivity platform, which has a footprint across all villages in India. They do good work. But with changing times and challenges, they need to play a bigger role. NIC will play a huge role in India’s transformation,” Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters here.
He added that the committee has submitted its report and the recommendations made will be looked into with priority.
Other members of the HLC include J Satyanarayana (Advisor to Andhra Pradesh government on IT), N Balakrishnan, Aruna Sharma and Neeta Verma.
Set up in 1976, NIC has implemented many “network centric” application software for programme implementation in various ministries and departments.
Some of the major e-governance initiatives supported by NIC include eCourts, eHospital, eDistrict, Land Records, ePanchayat and India Portal , among others.
The report said the IT infrastructure within NIC District Centres, State Centres and National Centres need to be extended to block level.
“Also, most users are concerned with routine IT services and infrastructure. Outsourcing these activities instead of hiring manpower to run them should improve services…Software development may be outsourced with the strategic control rested with NIC,” the report said.