Government of Odisha have accorded priority to the development of the Information Technology Sector. In order to hasten up the progress, a separate Department of Information Technology was formed on 15 th March, 2000 with the objective of developing, coordinating and supervising all activities relating to Information Technology including computer hardware, software, communication and Electronics in the State.
ICT Policy, 2004
The IT Policy of Odisha , 1998 has been recently replaced by the ICT Policy of Odisha , 2004. The new policy is designed to unleash the power of IT for the betterment of the common citizens through e-governance and provide easy and comfortable access to information by public. A number of incentives have been announced in the ICT Policy, 2004. The major attraction is that IT and ITES sector have been made free from the hassles of clearance and routine inspections of controlling and regulatory authorities. It is contemplated to allow the workers to work in three shifts as per the requirement of this industry. IT and ITES units have been exempted from payment of Sales Tax for a period of 5 years from the date of their first billing. Important IT building Infrastructure are proposed to be exempted from power cuts. Interest subsidy up to 5% has been made available to new IT/ITES units on their long term loans availed from recognized Institutions and Banks. IT and ITES units are proposed to be provided electrical energy at industrial rates in stead of commercial rates. No stamp duty will be levied for allotment of Government land. Moreover, special incentive packages are proposed for attracting mega projects employing more than 500 people and with Rs.10 Crores or above investment.
Government have laid emphasis on the development of IT Enabled Services in the State. ITES has been declared as a Public Utility Service. This sector promises high rate of growth in the coming years with a potential to provide quality employment to the unemployed educated youth. The ITES sector has been dealt in detail in a separate section in the ICT Policy, 2004. A number of strategies have been included to provide required training and education to the young graduates and under graduates to be employed in this sector. Separate additional incentives have been provisioned for the promoters of ITES units.
The Odisha Computer Application Centre (OCAC), an agency under the Department of Information Technology, has framed an IT Vision for the State. A brochure highlighting policy incentives have been prepared through a reputed consultant. A CD highlighting Bhubaneswar as the IT Destination of the East has also been prepared to showcase IT infrastructure and to attract potential IT Entrepreneur to Bhubaneswar.
A State Information Technology Services Board (SITSB) has been constituted by Government in August, 2003 under Chairmanship of Chief Secretary to provide a forum and mechanism for overall co-ordination and monitoring of IT Sector. The other two members comprise Chairman, OCAC and Commissioner-cum-Secretary, Information Technology. The Board has been entrusted with the responsibility to oversee the mandate of Information Technology Services for good governance. The Board would co-ordinate with the Departments, Agencies and other stakeholders for leveraging the power of IT for speed and transparency.
Directorate of Information Technology
To facilitate smooth working in IT Sector, OCAC has been designated as the Directorate for Information Technology. It will also work as the Technical Secretariat for the State Information Technology Services Board.
The State Government have constituted an IT Think Tank (ITTT) Group under the Chairmanship of Minister, Information Technology to make assessments and identify focus areas and to accelerate e-Governance initiatives in the Government at par with other States and to facilitate frequent discussions and enable strategy level meetings.
E-Governance Initiatives of the Department of IT.
All Computers in all Departments in the Secretariat and adjoining offices of the Government are being connected into a common network called Secretariat Local Area Network. Office of the Chief Minister, Cabinet Ministers, Secretaries, Additional Secretaries and Department Computer centres have been already provided with connectivity. Around 175 nodes are operational in the network. The network has been built up on an optic fibre backbone keeping in view the future data transfer needs. The network has been connected to Internet with 2 MBPS radio link of National Informatics Centre (NIC). It is planned to extend the network to the level of Deputy Secretaries of all Departments of Government. It is also proposed to connect the offices located in the Heads of Departments (HOD) Building with the LAN.
An Intranet for sharing common information among Departments has been made operational. It provides a number of employee centric services such as information on allotment of quarters, rent status, information on matters relating to establishment such as personnel profile, leave status, telephone directory, grievance petition registration and enquiry, proceedings of important meetings in Departments, correspondence through e-Mail, Monthly Progress Reports, Important Forms, Circulars and Notifications, Government of Odisha Rules of Business, Gradation List of Secretariat Employees, Information on Budget matters etc., Net Meeting and chat facilities. The Intranet content is being progressively built up and updated.
Chief Minister’s Office has been connected to offices of RDC(South) and six District Collectors with video conferencing facilities. Steps are being taken to connect offices of all thirty District Collectors to the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO). This would provide facility to carry on important discussions and to review various activities of District Authorities.
For defining e-Governance requirements and identifying areas of e-governance, DFID has been requested to provide funds for undertaking a System Requirement Study. To begin with, DFID had organized a workshop during February, 2003 on e-Governance preparedness in the Government. DFID has also sponsored a one-week exposure visit of a team of officers from some Departments during November - December, 2003 to Bangalore and Hyderabad to enable appreciation of the IT infrastructure and e-Governance projects in these States.
In order to ensure public access to useful Government information, the official website of State Government has been redesigned. Information content is being enriched and updated regularly through designated Information Officers from various Departments. The public has access to the site from the URL http://odisha.gov.in. or www.orissagov.nic.in from any computer, loaded with standard web browser and connected to the Internet through a dial-up or lease line connectivity. This site is being integrated to form a portal of the State Government. Information on Government Schemes, Projects, Policies and Procedures are contained in the Portal. Various Tenders, Quotation Calls, Advertisements are being placed in it for public access. Many other important websites have been linked to find information from a single site.
A number of public services have been planned to be provided from this Portal. Various citizen services such as Payment of Utility Bills like Water and Sewerage Bills, Telephone Bills, Holding Tax, Filing CST Returns, payments of examination fees for Schools and Colleges, Filing IT Returns, Registration of birth and death and getting related certificates, getting various permits and licenses, downloading of Forms, tender documents and Government Orders etc will be made available to the public through State Government Portal. These services are proposed to be fee-based and will be available to the public from the information kiosks at an affordable cost.
A group of resource persons from important organizations in the State are working for the content creation and updation of the Portal.
The Ministry of Information Technology (MIT), Government of India have set up a Resource Centre at OCAC and Utkal University for Technology Development in Indian Language (Oriya) for development and promotion of Oriya language based computer tools and applications. Oriya Word Processor on Linux platform has been developed. Oriya spell checker, thesaurus in Oriya language has been developed. Bilingual chart and E-mail application in Oriya Language has been developed. This project will also promote Web based information dissemination and services including Net education and information on Art, Culture, tourist locations of Odisha etc with Oriya Language Interface to the Web.
Department of Computer Science and Application, Utkal University, Bhubaneswar has developed software for Optical Character Recognition (OCR) for use in office, press and media for converting content in image form to text form, Text to speech system for use by illiterate and visually impaired, Speech Recognition System to enable computer to function in command mode. A Bilingual E-Dictionary (English to Oriya), Oriya WordNet software for language Query and trilingual word processor (English – Oriya – Hindi) with facilities of editing and spell checking have also been developed.
Basic infrastructure for public access to Government Information and e-Services has been organized through a Self Employment District Sector Scheme for setting up Information Kiosks in urban and semi-urban locations in all the 30 Districts of the State. The project cost requires a maximum investment of Rs.2.50 lakhs and can be arranged from own sources or loan funds from commercial Banks. Government will provide 25% of the investment to the entrepreneur as subsidy, subject to a maximum subsidy of Rs.25,000/- per Kiosk. Two week’s need-based training will be imparted to the entrepreneurs free of cost by OCAC. Educated women and skilled handicapped persons will get special consideration. In addition to browsing the State Portal for Government information, Citizens would find it convenient to transact though the web from the nearest Kiosk for their daily information need.
A new Scheme for promotion of BPO firms by creating an enabling environment to grow up in a reasonable time to be self-sustainable has been made. In order to promote small and medium sector enterprise in BPO sector, the State Government has offered to the entrepreneurs, a central incubator facility under this Scheme . It has been proposed to locate 30 to 50 SME units providing a built up area of 200 to 300 square feet with an employment of 1000 persons in the scheme. No rent for space will be charged for the initial three years. Two week’s need based training will be provided to the workmen of the unit free of cost through OCAC. Trouble shooting such as maintenance of equipment will be provided through Central and State Agencies. Space will be provided to the entrepreneurs in any of the IT building infrastructure viz. OCAC Building, Fortune Towers and Tower-2000 at Bhubaneswar.
STPI, Bhubaneswar has been instrumental in the promotion of a number of IT and ITES units in and around the city. In order to disperse the spread of this sector to other regions, Government of Odisha in Information Technology Department have provided Rs.1.00 crore, as grant-in-aid, and built up area of about 16000 square feet at Rourkela for establishment of STPI facility centre. The Hon’ble Chief Minister of Odisha has inaugurated this centre on 02.12.2003. This centre would help enabling the IT/ITES units for their promotion and development. A proposal for establishment of a similar centre at Berhampur in line with STPI Facility Centre at Rourkela is under consideration of STPI, Government of India.
Department of Information Technology are implementing a Scheme for imparting basic Computer Training to school children in 400 High Schools throughout the State with an out lay of Rs.12.90 crores under EFC Grant. According to the Scheme, the schools will be provided with four computers each with peripherals and furniture. Two teachers from each selected school will be trained in computer skill sets who in turn will impart necessary training to the students.
Training of Government Employees in different Departments have since been arranged by the Department of Information Technology. The Department is organizing an orientation training for all the 600 Section Officers in the Secretariat through assistance from GA Department.
Government have been continuously striving to attract investments from entrepreneurs and Industrial houses from outside into the State. For promotion of Bhubaneswar as the IT destination of East, Chief Minister has written to the IT majors of the country requesting them to consider establishment of their IT venture at Bhubaneswar. Representations are routinely sent regularly to major IT Events like Bangalore IT.com, GITEX etc. In a recent visit to Odisha , Sri Ratan Tata, Chairman, Tata Sons had interacted with the Chief Minister, Odisha . Sri Tata has promised investments in the areas of IT and Tourism sector in the State. Tata Consultancy Services, a group company of the Tata’s has offered to install Secretariat Automation System – Smart Gov, a flagship product of the Company. The Tata Consultancy Services has successfully implemented this system in the Secretariat of Andhra Pradesh. A similar system is being installed on a pilot basis in the Department of Information Technology.
e-Governance activities in other Departments of Government
Revenue Department :
Computerization of Records and Maps in Registration Offices in the State has been undertaken by Inspector General of Registrations, Odisha , Cuttack. The District Sub-Registrar Office, Khurda at Bhubaneswar has been computerized on a pilot basis and is operational. Thirteen more Registration Offices are under computerization.
Land records are being computerized through the Directorate of Land Records & Surveys, Board of Revenue, Cuttack. The objective is to facilitate easy maintenance and updation of changes occurring due to consolidation of land holdings, natural calamities, creation of irrigation facilities or on account of legal changes due to transfer of ownership, partition, lease, land acquisition etc. The computerized data will provide easily reproducible storage media for reliable and preservation over a long time at low cost, providing fast and efficient retrieval of information. Ownership and plot-wise details with accurate copy of the Records of Rights (RORs) shall be made available to the landowners. Creation of Land Information System and Data Base shall be used for effective Land Reforms, Revenue Administration and Development Planning.
Finance Department :
Preparation of a database of all the Government employees in the State is being pursued by the Finance Department with DFID assistance. Information collection is being done in four phases. Part of the information collected has been compiled and converted into a database. The database will be placed in the web for administration and access by Government Departments.
This project is under progress by the Directorate of Treasuries & Inspection, Odisha , Bhubaneswar. Under this, all the 30 District Treasuries, 6 Special Treasuries and 125 Sub-Treasuries are being computerized. The objective of the project is to ensure timely compilation of Treasury Accounts as per the Finance Commission guidelines for computerization of accounts. Computerization would facilitate automated account keeping as well as transaction processing. It will expedite consolidation and compilation of accounts. On-line transaction processing will help in monitoring cash flow. Computerization would facilitate smooth integration with the Accountant General and the Finance Department .
Computerization of the Department has been taken up as an essential component of the VAT implementation programme in Odisha funded by the DFID. The programme involves development of Software and Infrastructure development. The objective of the initiative is to achieve high efficiency in VAT Administration, quick disposal of registration application, acknowledgement of receipts of all applications, returns etc., quick information on tax collection, quick identification of defaulters and non-filers of returns, faster issue of statutory forms, reduction of interface between the dealers and the staff to avoid the perception of harassment.
Infrastructure for computerization is complete in all the places except the offices under Cuttack-I Range, Cuttack-II Range and Cuttack-II Circle. Computers have been installed in all the sites except Head Office and Cuttack-I Range and Cuttack - II Range and some of the minor check gates. VAT software has been developed.
Panchayati Raj Department :
Web-monitoring of Poverty Alleviation Schemes.
The Department has offered the following two software through its website contained in the State Portal:-
Ruralsoft is a Web based Application for monitoring of physical and financial progress of Poverty Alleviation Schemes. In this, data entry is to be done at DRDA level and flow of Information will be from DRDA to Government of Odisha and Government of India.
Priasoft (Panchayati Raj Institution Accounting Software) is a software package that addresses the monitoring of allocated funds, expenditure pattern, local revenue generation and allows transmission of intended reports to various monitoring agencies. Priasoft is a move towards strengthening local self-governance.
Commerce and Transport (Transport) Department
Computerization of Transport Sector:
The objective is to streamline issue and renewal of Driving License, Registration of Motor Vehicles, Issue and Renewal of Permits, Collection of Motor Vehicle Taxes etc. using IT tools.
The functions of the State Transport Authority/ Transport Commissioner viz. supervision and control of the R.T.O offices and border check gates and Issue and renewal of permits for passenger and goods vehicles are being computerized.
Similarly, the functions of the Road Transport Authorities such as Issue and renewal of permits for goods and passenger vehicles, Issue and renewal of licenses to drivers and conductors, Registration of vehicles, Issue and cancellation of fitness certificates, Enforcement mechanisms to improve road safety, Supervision and control of the border check gates, Collection of M.V. revenue etc are also being automated.
Initiatives have been undertaken for Introduction of smart cards for driving licenses, introduction of smart cards for registration certificates, modernization of border check gates including e-connectivity, creation of a data bank of licenses, registration certificates & motor vehicle taxes.
State Transport Authority, four RTO offices and seven Check Gates have been computerized. Six RTO offices are proposed to be computerized in the second phase. Issue of Computerized Driving License have been started from RTO, Bhubaneswar