September 9, 2000, the Andhra Pradesh Assembly
witnessed history when Speaker K Pratibha Bharathi
received a petition from farmers of the remote Siddhapur
village under Nandipet Mandal in Nizamabad
through email, seeking an increase in the remunerative
prices for their produce. No doubt, the era of
e-governance has arrived.
What is e-governance?
E-governance is part of the Government's policy
/ strategy to use the online media as a tool for governance,
to ensure a more transparent and open communication
forum as well as to involve the participation of citizens
levels. This is carried out through the use of e-mail,
Web publishing, Intranet Development and promoting citizen
Potential of e-governance
The AP government has best described the potential
advantages of e-governance with its concept of SMART
governance. SMART stands for Simple, Moral,
Accountable, Responsive and Transparent.
CM Naidu, has his own information system, called
the Chief Minister Information System (CMIS).
CMIS is a three-tier architecture with a browser as
frontend, Pilot Internet Publisher 6.2 version as
middleware and Pilot Analysis Server 6.2 version
as the backend. He therefore receives daily information
reports on happenings in every corner of the state.
Government to Citizen
On April 19, 2000, Siddapur became the first
'wired' village in the State. Under the scheme
of TWINS (Twin Cities Network Services), the
State set up a citizen service internet centre in Banjara
Hills with 17 more on the cards. Such community
Internet centres easily solve the issue of access. Once
that is done, citizens at all levels can readily access
policy statements, land records, forms, etc. Thus everyone
from a laptop owner sitting in Hyderabad to a poor farmer
in a remote village has equal access to vital information.
The inherent interactivity of the media ensures that
citizens at all levels can respond and question their
leaders through petitions and letters, down to the district,
taluk and village levels.
Under the scheme, CARD (Computer-aided Administration
of Registration Department), has replaced the traditional
form of manually registering documents on immovable
property transactions. The MPHS (Multipurpose Household
Survey Project), maintains a database of land records
and socio-economic data of citizens.
Government to Government
Besides, e-governance enhances communication between
government departments. The Andhra government, under
varying schemes like APSWAN (Andhra Pradesh State
Wide Area Network) and SKIMS (Secretariat Knowledge
& Information Management System), has linked 23
district headquarters with the state secretariat in
Hyderabad. If Naidu's vision translates to reality,
people in Andhra Pradesh will soon be able to get their
driver's licenses, ration cards, register property and
pay bills online. Little wonder that the governments
of Karnataka and even Madhya Pradesh are following suit.