E-governance grants raised 179% to R867 cr

Written by Kirtika Suneja | New Delhi | Updated: Mar 20 2012, 07:11am hrs
The flagship schemes of the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DEIT) for e-governance got a fillip from Pranab Mukherjee's Budget 2012-13 with the finance minister more than doubling the allocation for the programme. The programme has been allocated R867 crore for 2012-13 compared with R311 crore in 2011-12.

Mukherjees proposal of issuing Resident Identity Cards (RIC) bearing Aadhaar numbers for all the citizens and the creation of a National Information Utility for the computerisation of the public distribution system (PDS) is expected to increase e-governance activities.

The RICs will be issued to all residents of the age of 18 years and above under the National Population Register (NPR) and the first phase of this scheme is under implementation in 3,331 coastal villages. Besides, a proposal to roll out the scheme in the rest of the country has been given n-principle clearance by the Planning Commission.

On the other hand, a National Information Utility for the computerisation of PDS will become operational by December 2012 and would create an updated beneficiary database, stocks management and sale of commodities at fair-price shops. Computerisation of PDS has been taken up as a mission-mode project under the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP).

In another step that would push e-governance further, the government has also designed a mobile-based Fertiliser Management System (mFMS) to provide information on the movement of fertilisers and subsidies from the manufacturer to retailer level.

As per the Internet and Mobile Association of India, the announcement of the finance minister to use a mobile-based information system to track fertiliser movement and thereby fertiliser subsidy from the factory to the retailer is the best case example of using ICT power to take subsidies to the ultimate beneficiaries.

Modification of the Kisan Credit Card (KCC) to be used at ATMs is another case of IT-enabled financial inclusion.

The department had earlier pegged a total outlay for all e-governance projects at R30,000 crore, including both capital expenditure and the operational expenditure of which almost R10,000 crore has already been done and another R20,000 crore will be spent by 2014.