Bhubaneswar: In the week marking the successful completion of four years of the government’s present term, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik took a review meeting of all the departments of the State.
Electronics and Information Technology Minister Tusharkanti Behera briefed the Odisha CM on the important initiatives undertaken by the E&IT department and the transformational impact of these initiatives on governance and citizens.
After the review by the Chief Minister, the E&IT Minister while briefing the media said, “The Electronics and Information Technology Department has made important contributions in successfully implementing the government’s transformative agenda. The department facilitated investments into the state, helped create considerable employment, enabled transformational public service delivery, provided technological assistance to ensure unified and decentralized governance, and facilitated development of an extensive telecom infrastructure in the state.”
The E&IT department has created a conducive investment eco system in the state for attracting investments in IT and electronics sector. In the last four years, the major global and domestic companies which have made investments in Odisha include Deloitte, IBM, Happiest Minds, PwC, Concentrix, Incture, Coforge, OPX America, Black Knight, Chubb, Tetrasoft, Yovant, Innovare, Ampin Solar and Waaree Energies, among others. Recently, the government also notified four dedicated policies – IT Policy, Electronics Policy, Data Centre Policy and BPO Policy – prepared by the department. These policies provide diversified and best-in-class incentives to attract more investments into the state.
Technological assistance provided by the department is also enabling transformational public service delivery and unified and decentralized governance in the state. On the Odisha One portal launched by the government in 2021, more than 640 citizen services are available. Odisha One is providing convenient, transparent, and 24/7 public service access to citizens.
Similarly, Mo Seba Kendras have brought government services at the doorsteps of citizens and provided an avenue of enterprise to rural youth and WSHGs under Mission Shakti. More than 6,900 MSKs have already been set up, and this number will rise to 8,000+ in near-term.
The initiatives of the department have also brought greater productivity and efficiency into government functioning. The coverage of Odisha State Workflow Automation System (OSWAS) has been extended across all departments in secretariat, all directorates/HoDs, all district collectorates, and DG and SP offices of Odisha, encompassing approximately 15,000 userstoday and resulting in prompt decision making at all levels. The number of users were approximately 1,300 in 2013 and approximately 7,000 in 2020. State HQ, Directorates, and District HQs have been connected through Odisha State-wide Area Network (OSWAN). VC facility has also been made available all the way from State level to Block level.
Optical Fibre Connectivity has been provided to all GPs, thereby ensuring a digitally connected and digital ready population.
The E&IT Department introduced Mo Sarkar in 2019, a first of its kind initiative –nationally and internationally – which involves the government taking suo moto feedback from citizens on behaviour of government functionaries . This scheme has made citizens a direct stakeholder in governance and also led to various disciplinary actions against defaulting officials by different departments. Calls for citizen feedback are made from all levels of government, ranging from the CMO to department officials and collectors.
The Department has also contributed to many other flagship schemes of the government. Through the Jan Sunani (Public Grievance Redressal) portal launched in 2021, citizens are now easily able to register their grievances through a variety of channels: website chatbot, mobile app, WhatsApp chatbot, physical visit, and letter through post.
The Student Academic Management System (SAMS) enables online admission in all state colleges, including junior, vocational, and sports colleges. Only 1 common application needs to be filled while applying to any college and the entire process has been made seamless and student friendly. Covering 2100 colleges in 2012-13, it has grown rapidly to cover over 4400 colleges in 2021-22.
The Department has also played a catalytic role in several other outstanding achievements. IT exports have increased by almost two and a half times, increasing from Rs 2317 crores in FY 2013-14 to Rs 5500 crores in 2021-22. IT workforce has increased from approximately 9,800 in 2010-11 and 20,000 in 2018-19 to around 40,000 in 2022-23. Most notably, the expenditure for IT enablement of government process re-engineering and services has increased by approximately30 times in 10 years, increasing from Rs 43.97 crores in FY 2012-13 to Rs 1,290 crores in FY 2022-23. Due to IT enablement, social benefits are transferred directly to the bank accounts of beneficiaries. While in the FY2017-18 an amount of Rs 10,881 crores was transferred directly, in the year 2022-23 an amount of Rs 25,878 crores has been transferred.
These transformations have made Odisha’s citizens digital ready who access health services through a smart card and apply to colleges through a centralized online admission system.
The upcoming initiatives of the E&IT Department will further catalyze Odisha’s transformation. District Data Centres are planned to be setup in Sundargarh and Jeypore. MSKs and VC facility will be extended to all GPs and smart MSKs will be established in all Block HQs. A cable landing station is also being established at Puri. Under the O-Chip program, infrastructure and investment support will be provided to semiconductor design startups and MSMEs. Through a CoE, training will be provided to 3,000 people in emerging tech areas. A fab and fabless policy will also soon be notified. Wi-Fi coverage will be extended to colleges and universities, impacting approximately 7 lakh students. VC facility will also be extended to government schools.
As all these implemented and planned initiatives demonstrate, the Odisha government has made considerable efforts to fulfil its promises to the people of the state, and the state’s Electronics and IT department has played a notable role in this endeavor. For its efforts, the department has also been the recipient of numerous national awards which include the National e-Governance Silver Award 2019-20 under category ‘Excellence in Government Process Re-engineering for Digital Transformation’ DARPG, GoI for Odisha’s single window investment portal GOSWIFT, the National e-Governance award 2021 for Bhubaneswar Land Use Intelligence System, the National Geospatial Award 2023 of FICCI and Planet Lab USA for Village Wise Plot Level Analysis of Paddy Crop Growing Areas, the State Category Award of Excellence 2021 given by Computer Society of India, and the National e-Governance award 2016 for Paddy Procurement System (PPAS).