Dr Dinesh Kumar Tyagi, CEO, CSC e-Governance services India limited tells Saima Rashid that both state government and the people need to do their bit in order to have a sustainable development based on technology.
Dinesh Kumar Tyagi (DKT): e-Governance doesn’t involve any supercomputing, it is simply creation of such applications and services which will simplify the life of a common citizen. And you can use technology for the same. Real e-Governance is when a person in a village is able to access Government services without any inconvenience. The essence of e-Governance is to reach the beneficiary and ensure that the services intended to reach the desired individual has been met with.
KL: How can be e-Governance made possible in a village or an area where connectivity and electricity has no roots?
DKT: Well to introduce the usage of information technology at people’s doorsteps in far flung areas, Khidmat Centres and cyber cafe can be the best sources. Some 1000 Khidmat centres have been set up here in J&K.
KL: But most of the Khidmat Centres are non-functional?
DKT: Few days back, I was in Baramulla for a workshop conducted by girls running Khidmat Centres, they were very bright and efficient but then they have some complaints with the state, which won’t last for long. We need to organise the state and the people if we really need development.
KL: Apart from Khidmat Centres what other options do we have to make e-Governance accessible?
DKT: Well for that you need to approach Salman Khan to make him open his Khan Academy here as well. Salman Khan is an American teacher and founder of Khan Academy, which provides free online education platform. Don’t confuse him with Bollywood actor Salman Khan.
KL: Given Kashmir’s troubled history and tough geography how challenging is it going to be for you to make this project a success?
DKT: Kashmir is a difficult state. And e-Governance is a matter of time. In peaceful areas the creation of such applications and their accessibility is very quick and in remote places like Kashmir, it takes time. But then I am sure that sooner or later, e-Governance will make strong presence in J&K as well.
KL: You talked about the need of Connectivity in e-Governance, but Kashmir stays off-line most of the time. How can e-Governance survive here then?
DKT: Breakdowns don’t last long. State government is making every possible effort to increase the connectivity in the territory. And Kashmiri people are very efficient and hardworking, they simply need a platform. People should demand connectivity from the state rather than government jobs.
KL: How can one use e-Governance in education sector?
DKT: Technology has made life easier now. And education sector is no different. Take for instance online exams. A candidate can take any exam while sitting in his drawing room. All one needs to do is to authenticate him/herself by using a fingerprint scanner. It is quite easy to do. You just put your finger on the ID scanner and if your fingerprints meet the ones you have given while applying, the computer lets you take exam. So e-governance or technology is making life easier, you simply need a desktop or a laptop.
KL: Don’t you think e-Governance will ultimately strip people of their jobs as machines are taking over.
DKT: No, not at all. It rather creates employment. See when you create an access point, each access point will employ people, because he/she is getting services delivered. Govt is not only the best employer. We have created one lakh forty thousand centres and that led to creation of 10 lakh jobs. It’s a misconception that machines will increase unemployment, but we forget very often that we are the ones who create them, then how can we think machines can replace us.
KL: Where does India stand in global ranking in respect to e-Governance?
DKT: India is on 199th position. We shouldn’t forget the Gandhian theory, which says that India still lives in villages. That is why we are targeting rural areas for e-Governance, because urban people are involved with it anyway.
KL: How can one use e-Governance in medical science?
DKT: Once a doctor at Tata Memorial Hospital told me that in countries like USA and UK, 80 percent of the diseases are treated without even touching the patient. This is all possible because of telemedicine. Telemedicine is the use of telecommunication and information technologies in order to provide clinical health care at a distance. It improves access to medical services that are not otherwise consistently available in distant rural communities.
KL: What would be impact of e-Governance on Globalisation?
DKT: Of course, convergence. One doesn’t need to go abroad for foreign courses. Rather there are online platforms like Course Era where you get connected to world class professors and students from every corner of the world.