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Hindi best suited medium for e-communication in States

One, attempt should be made to bring those outside the digital divide within the fold and reach the benefits of e-governance to common man in rural areas, reports Debobrat Ghose.

india Updated: Feb 04, 2007 01:46 IST

Two major ideas emerged on Saturday, the concluding day of national conference on 'e-governance'.

One, attempt should be made to bring those outside the digital divide within the fold and reach the benefits of e-governance to common man in rural areas.

Two, local language, especially Hindi, is ideally suited as the medium of e-communication in the State.

Addressing the concluding session, State IT Minister Kailash Vijayvargiya urged the information technology (IT) professionals to interact with the people living in villages in local language.

"The professionals need to establish a rapport with rural people and that could only be possible when Hindi is the communication medium," he pointed out.

"If we could make IT reach 100 crore people, India could emerge a superpower and it is possible through IT experts," he said, addressing the IT professionals as 'e-pundits'.

Showing concern over the lucrative offers made by the IT companies to those experts working in the government sector, Vijayvargiya said serious thinking needs to be done on how they could be retained.

He even suggested on forming some kind of cadre similar to IAS & IPS for the IT officials in the government. 

In his welcome address, additional secretary, Department of IT, Union Government, R Chandrashekar said the turnout of participants - 1,300 participants in two days - attested to the fact that awareness for the IT  increased manifold and Madhya Pradesh was part of it.

 "It shows serious efforts are being made in the State in IT sector," he added. The Additional Secretary (AR& PG), Union Government, Rahul Sarin, made  a power point presentation and highlighted the main observations during the two-day sessions.

"From the yesterday's speech of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, a lesson could be drawn that e-democracy is a must for e-governance," added Sarin. Both Chandreshekhar and Sarin maintained that serious thinking needs to be done for setting up of premier IT institutions.

The plenary session of the day broadly focused on two themes - "Accelerating transformation - Community participation in e-governance' and 'Integrated rural service delivery'.

Describing  information communication technology (ICT) as a mechanism of governance, Agriculture Secretary Pravesh Sharma said it should be seen whether we are equipped with capacity and ready to link the ongoing social mobilisation.

"A large number of IT initiatives have been taken in the country, which exist in small
pockets, but not a single could be scaled at a large level," he pointed out.

The thrust should be on translation of ICT aspiration to ICT-based transformation in rural areas.

Chairing the panel, former chief secretary Nirmala Buch said interaction should not only be with the government but also among the groups engaged in the process.

During the discussion, Anwar Jafri, representing an NGO, said right kind information is never available to citizens. "One fails to know the right status of a project, causes of its failure or utilisation of government funds, which are kept away from common man's reach due to existing nexuses," he said, adding that transparency plays a key role in e-governance.

Emphasising using easy available common tools of communication like radio, television and mobile phones, chairman of Manthan Award, Osama Manzar said the focus should be on dissemination of information.

"Community radio is a fine example and we shouldn't try to depend much on hi-tech media. Best is the oral medium, which should be used at large to make ICT reach at grass-root level," he suggested.       

Presenting a success model used in West Bengal at block-levels in communication, the CEO of GRASSO, Shantanu Sengupta said service delivery model should be such that one needs not to be educated to understand the services available. "Capacity-building is the most important aspect," he added. The IT principal secretary, Padamveer Singh, summed up IT initiatives taken up by the state government.

Email Debobrat Ghose
: dghose@hindustantimes.com