eGovernance with its attendant benefits accruing to the citizens, has become an effective tool for the transformation of governance. While the Government has found eGovernance an aid to assist it in the effective delivery of its schemes and programmes benefiting the citizens at large, the benefits accruing from it has also generated expectations of the citizens from the Government for expanding the eGovernance mode for delivery of more services.
The Government of India has accordingly in 2006 adopted the National eGovernance Plan (NeGP) with the objective: "Make all Government services accessible to the common man in his locality, through common service delivery outlets, and ensure efficiency, transparency, and reliability of such services at affordable costs to realise the basic needs of the common man". This is being implemented through 31 Mission Mode Projects (MMPs); 11 Central, 13 State and 7 integrated MMPS, spanning multiple Ministries/Departments.
eGovernance, however, is a technology intensive activity requiring a high degree of specialised skills, including both domain knowledge and technical skills. Governments both at the Central and State level, are currently woefully short of such skilled resources.
The first meeting of the Prime Minister’s Committee on National eGovernance Plan, while observing that lack of qualified human resources, in sufficient numbers, is the biggest constraining in the adoption of eGovernance, approved the preparation of an HR Policy for taking NeGP forward. Pursuant to the decision of the PM’s Committee, an expert committee was constituted under the Chairmanship of Shri Nandan Nilekani, Chairperson, UIDAI to recommend the HR framework and policy for eGovernance, which would address the need for harnessing talent from the government as well as from the open market. The Committee included officials from different Ministries of the Government of India, representative from the State Government, NASSCOM and other experts and Stakeholders.
The Committee had a number of deliberations amongst the members, had stakeholder and industry consultations, obtained responses from the Line Ministries of the Central Government and from the State Government and studied international best practices.
The Committee has a made a number of wide ranging recommendations which, it is expected, would aid the setting up of appropriate HR structures and mechanisms for eGovernance and fast track the successful implementation of the NeGP, contributing to the realisation of good governance in the country.
Some of the more important recommendations are:
1. Institutional structures of eGovernance: The Committee has recognised that the existing structures in most of the Ministries and States are inadequate to support the implementation of the MMPs and other key initiatives. It has further observed that inter-linkages between various entities are weak and accountability is diffused. Having regard to the need for appropriate organizational structures that are required to be put in place both at the Centre & States for programme and project management of eGovernance, the Committee among its various recommendations has proposed putting in place CIO structures in Central Line Ministries, EDS Directorate in States/UTs and Dedicated Project Teams for managing projects. The enhancement of NIC’s role as a Technology Advisor to the Government and its strategic role in MeitY, Line Ministries & States has also been emphasized. Other entities that require strengthening & continuity are the National eGovernance Division at the Centre and SeMTs in the States
2. Developing Human Resources within the Government for e- Governance: In regard to the HR policies for eGovernance, the Committee has deliberated on the need for growing the resource pool in the Government and various policy interventions that are required to build internal competencies. Its recommendations in this regard include putting in place a competency framework, tenure for project teams and various monetary and non-monetary incentives including performance linked incentives.
3. Inducting External Talent into Government: The Committee has taken into consideration the realization that competencies outside the Government ought to be leveraged and an enabling framework for attracting, retaining & optimally utilizing such skilled persons needs to be put in place. It has accordingly included in its recommendations the appointment of open market personnel on stable contracts, delegation of powers, accountability & competitive ‘near-market’ salaries and enabling provisions in the Recruitment Rules for inducting external talent for undertaking eGovernance initiatives.
4. Training and Capacity Building: The Committee in its report has recorded its firm view that the existing training initiatives need to be strengthened and a comprehensive training framework needs to be put in place so that Government employees are able to conceptualize and implement all projects using technology enabled platform. The Committee has discussed the need for training & implementation plans for all levels in the Government, from the highest political and administrative leadership and officers requiring specialized skills to those providing mediated access. The recommendations of the Committee in this regard include, among others, mandating ICT skills and embedding eGovernance training at all levels, CIO training and other specialized training programmes, linking training with monetary and non-monetary incentives & disincentives & setting up of an eGovernance Academy as a Centre of Excellence and think tank in this area.
5. Other Recommendations: To meet the increased demand of eGovernance, the Committee has observed that there is a need for a large pool of academically qualified resources. To meet this requirement, the Committee, has made recommendations regarding changes in the college curriculum for building a pipeline of knowledgeable pool of candidates for the Government as well as the private sector. Other recommendations in the Chapter relate to a Knowledge Portal with a Centralized Document Repository, Collaboration Portal & Knowledge Management System.
6. Funding: The implementation of various recommendations made by the Committee will require funding to a limited extent. The Committee has accordingly recommended that provision of funds should be made for implementing the recommendations made by it.
Further, it has also been rightfully established that it is necessary to meet the critical gap of resources in the Government for taking NeGP forward. The task also included strengthening the presence of IT personnel in the Ministries/Departments and State Governments and harnessing the IT talent that exists outside the Government.
Below is the link to the detailed HR policy for eGovernance: