Wednesday 21 October 2020

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Infrastructure | InfoTech

Faleiro aspires to be E-CM, sans E-culture

 

Following footsteps of AP chief minister Chandrababu Naidu, his Goa counterpart Luizinho Faleiro also aspires to be E-CM, though the E-culture is totally missing in the administration at present.

"I am fully aware of it. But E-culture can develop only when everybody in the administration takes it up as a mission", admits Faleiro. He appears quite determined to inculcate such culture among the bureaucracy, which still does not sound prepared for it.

The plans made by the newly formed Information Technology Council however are quite ambitious. Within three to four years, Faleiro's Congress government wants to convert the tourist state into IT state.

For the dream come true, the council has to however widen its scope beyond merely creating Goa as yet another corridor for the IT multinationals to set up their shop here in the software technology parks and IT habitats but works to develop the IT consciousness among the 75 per cent literates in the tiny state.

Devang Mehta, the NASSOCOM president and advisor to the state IT council, feels Goa can be posed as a model state before the country. "Besides the level of education, its small size would make it possible", he opines.

In fact the plan is to achieve computer literacy at school level within three years while making foundation course a compulsory subject in all the colleges. Training the government servants and to habituate them with computers has also begun.

While the plans are afoot for SWAN (state-wide area network), computerisation of several key departments like the sales tax, excise, transport, water supply and land survey is also in progress.

But the department of tourism, considered to be backbone of Goan economy, is yet to install even a modem to use the e-mail service while the computer here is used as a mere typewriter. The inefficient NICNET service used by the state government is yet another hurdle in promoting the IT culture.

"But the Department of Telecommunications has now come forward to provide state-wide INTERNET backbone", says Faleiro. The DoT service, processed through the VSNL, is still unreachable in all the semi-urban villages while the city service is also not run in a fully professional manner.

It is a fact however that the IT consciousness is rising at a very fast pace in the tourist state while most of the PCOs in the coastal villages are also now seen with e-mail services and cyber cafes mushrooming even in villages of semi-urban nature.

Besides e-governance, the plan is to also provide e-tourism, by providing on-line facilities for booking flight tickets, hotel stays and even the package tours. E-commerce through houses would be the next step to promote international trade and marketing.

Providing citizens with smart cards is another plan to facilitate state services like ration, licences or payment of bills. The plan is to also build a multi-media centre to promote art, culture, music and the handicraft of the tourist state.

Faleiro is also quite enthusiastic in converting his Janata Darbars into a hi-tech affair by using video conferencing facility through the V-SAT. "The E-CM will then rule Goa with much more efficiency and transparency", he claims.


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