THE THIRD ‘e-Readiness Assessment Report 2005’ released by the Union Government’s Department of Information Technology (DIT) at the 10th national conference on ‘e-governance’ here on Friday, has ranked Andhra Pradesh as the first, followed by Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala in second, third and fourth positions respectively. Madhya Pradesh – the host of the conference — has been ranked 21st among 35 states & Union territories.
While Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala improved their rankings from fourth, third and eleventh respectively in 2003, Karnataka and MP slid down from first and 12th. The position of MP in the E-Readiness Reports 2003 and 2004 were 12 and 14 respectively, which has drastically come down to 21. Chhattisgarh’s ranking shows improvement, as from 19th in 2003, it has achieved 16th in the current report. The states to have ranked fifth to tenth positions are respectively Chandigarh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Delhi, Haryana and Goa.
As per the state-wise e-Readiness Index category, which is based on environment, readiness and usage — all the four southern states, Chandigarh and Maharashtra have been designated as the ‘Leaders’, whereas, MP and Chhattisgarh in the category of ‘Average Achiever’. Barring Sikkim, which is an ‘Average Achiever’ – the rest of the North-east states are in the ‘Least Achiever’ category.
The states ranked between seventh to tenth are the ‘Aspiring Leaders’. The e-Readiness Index in the assessment report prepared by the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) reflects the capacity of a state to participate in the networked economy in relation to the country at large.
The framework of analysis is based upon three important stakeholders – individuals, business and governments in the development & use of Information, Communication & Technologies (ICT); degree of usage of ICT by the stakeholders and a general macroeconomic and regulatory environment for ICT in which the stakeholders play out their respective roles. e-Readiness study has increasingly become popular and a platform to compare different level of state development.
According to the report, the logical underpinning being the environment for ICT offered by the concerned state governments. The NCAER has considered three broad categories to develop the index – environment, readiness and usage. The indicators considered for the environment are market, political & regulatory and infrastructure, and those for readiness and usage are individual, business & government.
In the Sub-Index Environment category – MP is at level-4, below 19 states, including Chhattisgarh. In the Sub-Index Readiness category and Usage category – MP is in level-2 and level-4 categories, again below six and 21 states respectively. In the overall category, Chhattisgarh – the new state carved out of MP in 2000 comparatively fared better.
The NCAER in its findings has observed that among the northern states Chandigarh and Haryana have shown vast improvements, while the developing states like MP and Rajasthan have indicated the existence of high involvement of skilled labour in IT service area due to its high employment multiplier. The developed states like Maharashtra and Gujarat due to their ‘vertical linkages’ are low employment multipliers.
“The report is an indicator to show ability of states to participate in the IT network and the new technology is supply-driven, in comparison to old one, which is demand-driven,” said NCAER’s senior fellow and team leader of the Report, R Venkatesan.
“Capacity in government structure needs to be enhanced and there should be flexibility to take people from outside on government’s board,” suggested director general of National Informatics Centre (DIT), Dr B K Gairola.
“The focus of the states should be on how to translate the drive into practice, to better its index ranking and environment towards e-governance implementation,” told Union Additional Secretary, DIT, R Chandrashekhar to Hindustan Times.