Jaya questions Umashankar’s suspension, says he is being victimised

Jaya questions Umashankar’s suspension, says he is being victimised

 
 
CHENNAI: Rallying behind suspended IAS officer C Umashankar, AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa on Wednesday alleged that the dalit officer was being victimised by the DMK government in Tamil Nadu for “exposing and questioning the atrocities” of chief minister M Karunanidhi’s family.

Reacting to the suspension of the 1990 batch IAS officer on the charge that he had entered the civil services using a bogus community certificate, she said it was the responsibility of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to vet the antecedents of every recruit and verify all their certificates. “When this is so, the Karunanidhi government suddenly claiming that Umashankar had entered the service using a forged community certificate gives room for speculation on the reasons behind this,” she said in a statement.

Jayalalithaa said Umashankar was appointed as managing director of Arasu Cable Corporation (ACC), which was launched in 2007 following a rift in Karunanidhi’s family. More than Rs 400 crore was invested in ACC for sophisticated electronic receivers and fibre-optic cable networking. However, once there was a reconciliation between Karunanidhi’s close family members and his grand-nephews, the Maran brothers, he was shunted out of ACC, she charged.

Earlier, in 2006, when Umashankar was MD of the Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu (ELCOT), it floated a joint venture company with New Era Technologies Ltd called ELNET, she said and added that ELNET, in turn, launched a subsidiary company called ETL Infrastructure Ltd. “This company purchased 25 acres of land at Pallikaranai near Chennai and constructed an IT park of 17 lakh square feet. It also got IT special economic zone status from the Centre by projecting itself as a subsidiary of the state-owned ELCOT. But later, ETL became a wholly privately-owned company,” the AIADMK chief said. She alleged that the officer was shunted out from ELCOT after he raised questions about the disappearance of it subsidiary from records along with its Rs 700 crore assets.

Umashankar had fallen foul of the Jayalalithaa regime of 1991-96 too. He first came into prominence when he detected irregularities in construction of cremation sheds when he was an official in Madurai district. Later, a CBI investigation was ordered into the scam and the trial is still going on.

Read more: Jaya questions Umashankar’s suspension, says he is being victimised – Chennai – City – The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/Jaya-questions-Umashankars-suspension-says-he-is-being-victimised/articleshow/6258486.cms#ixzz0vgkKLr6Q

Posted in CBI, CIC, CVC, DIT, egovindia, ekavi, ellakavi, Govt. of Tamilnadu, IAS Officers, MIT, NIC, PMO, President of India, Press, Umashankar NEWS Artices | Leave a comment

Seeking your support Reg UmaShankar.IAS – A honest officer being Harassed for exposing Political Scams..

Dear Friends,

This is an important mail reg GOVERNANCE – CORRUPTION – FAMILY POLITICS – MISUSE OF TAX MONEY. Makkal Sakthi Katchi spent nearly 50 days on this issue. Now seeking your support to take it further. SO PLEASE SPARE A FEW MINS AND READ THIS MAIL FULLY.. PLS… Your reading will make a difference..The issue is about the harassment by TN govt to a Honest IAS officer UmaShankar. ( Those who already know about the complete issue of Umashankar.IAS can directly goto the section ( “WHAT SUPPORT WE EXPECT FROM YOU?” )

 Before you read the mail – here is a quick intro about him. He is a 1990 batch IAS – In 1996, at the age of 31 he has boldly exposed CREMATION SHED SCAM   – When he was collector for Tiruvarur(1999-2001) he made it as the first e-district in India – In 2001-2006 he was put under a dummy post  – In 2006, when he was ELCOT MD, he introduced E-TENDER system – online bidding – E-Administration like GPS tracking of lorry routes to ration shops…
Hence in year 2000, THE WEEK magazine chose him as the “Man of the Millenium in who can bring change in Governance” 
NOW LET’S GET INTO THE SUBJECT..

1. On June17th,2010 a news published in all news papers in Tamilnadu. It is ” A honest IAS officer Umashankar.IAS went to court to get stay for the Vigilance Enquiry framed against him by Tamilnadu Govt for vindicative reasons..”. That news is attached.. Reg the vigilance enquiry the court gave a temporary stay.
2. Since We know Umashankar.IAS for last 10 yrs, we enquired more details about it. Met his lawyer and got the affidavit filed by him ( 150 pages.). You can find it in our website. Also you can send an email to info@makkalsakthi.net to get it.

3. After reading the full affidavit, we were shocked to see the bold steps taken by UmaShankar to Expose a 700 cr ETL Scam(happened with the blessings of a member of a powerful family in TN politics)  and Recommendation of Criminal action against Maaran brothers(Sun TV) for collapsing Arasu Cable TV(ACTV) by means of cutting ACTV’s cable. He also recommended for Nationalisation of many thousand crore worth company which did the cable cutting(SCV). SCV is also owned by Maaran brothers. ( Infact Rs.300crore of tax money was invested in ACTV, just for the sake of solving a family problem/quarrel  of TN’s high political power…!!!)
4. Now you can understand that, why Vigilance Enquiry is being initiated against UmaShankar. He never yielded to political powers and continued his whistle blower role in his capacity.
5. On June20th, we’ve organised for a protest(in Saidapet Chennai) to extend our solidarity to this honest IAS. Initially police gave permission for this. On June 19th, 8pm police called us and refused permission. The govt don’t want the news to be exposed.. But KALKI magazine wrote about it. Find it in attachment.
6. Again, Govt showed its ugly,corruptive face and tried to frame him under another means. The news on 23rd July is “Govt suspends IAS officer Umashankar” . On what ground ? ” “..Probe is going on to find genuineness of his caste certificate. Hence he is suspended!!” ie, He has produced fake certificate when he joined IAS..” . TN Govt finding this frivolous reason after 20 years to harass an honest officer..!!!
 
7. On July25th, we’ve organised a  protest(in Saidapet,Chennai). Again police denied permission for this.  We understood clearly that Govt don’t want its scams to be exposed.
8. Since the issue is a bigger one, we’ve called for a NGOs,Activists meeting on 26th July to discuss the further action to extend our solidarity and to mobilize public’s support for honesty.   Anticorruption movement, nALLORE VATTAM,5th Pillar, PAADAM, AID-INDIA, MANITHAM, LANJAM KODATHOR IYAKKAM, Ennangalain Sangamam are some of the organisations participated in the meeting . Nearly 40 people met.
9. On Aug 12th, a hall meeting is arranged to “To extend solidarity to this Honest IAS..And Asking the Govt to order for CBI enquiry on scams exposed by him..”. We  need to show that civil society is watching the Govt’s vindicative actions. The effort is taken by a group of organisations. This group will write to Chief secretary, governer, PM condemning the harassement to the honest IAS officer. As a next step, it may organise for protest or procession.. ( As of today the following are confirmed as speakers in the meeting: 1. Tamil Aruvi Manian 2. Devasagayam..IAS 3. Sivakami.IAS 4. Communist party of India(CPI). We are trying to call more celebrities like ArunaRoy, ArunthathiRoy, Kiranbedi,Tarun Tej Pal(Tehelka.com)..etc.  If you know anybody who can add value to the meeting and who has already have reasonable media introduction, pls suggest us..)
10. We’ve attached all the relevant docs/images related to the abovesaid points. Pls spare some time to read it.  We also have published more docs in our website http://www.makkalsakthi.net/

WHEN AN IAS ITSELF BEING HARASSED BY GOVT LIKE THIS WITH FALSE CHARGES! HOW COME AN ORDINARY CITIZEN WILL GET JUSTICE ? HIS BASIC HUMAN RIGHT ?

WE NEED TO MOBILIZE PUBLIC SUPPORT AND SHOW IT TO GOVT THAT PEOPLE ARE CONCERNED ABOUT GOVERNANCE, CORRUPTION, MISUSE OF POWERS….

WHAT SUPPORT WE EXPECT FROM YOU?
1. JOIN IN OUR EGROUP: Please join our group http://groups.google.co.in/group/save_democracy/  So that you will be continuously updated about this issue. Also, the more friends joins in the group, will give us more moral support for the team in field who are heading against corruptive govt.
2. VOLUNTEER:  we want to propagate the message to FEW LAKH people. Particularly to youths. If you would like to volunteer for any online( blogging, website updation, Email campaigning…etc) or field activity in TN, pls let us know. We can form a team for it. ( Mail to info@makkalsakthi.net or call 9150040092 / 9443119564)
3. FINANCE :  Always Finance is a struggle for a public interest issue. But, everytime it is proved that people will contribute for good cause. The total cost for this campaign(till aug 12th) may goupto Rs.40,000/-. This includes the hall meeting, online message propagation, photocopying of affidavits, posters, flyers, travel expenses…etc.. This time want to take the issue to as much as we can.  THIS IS AN IMPORTANT POINT. THOSE WHO ARE NOT ABLE TO VOLUNTEER FOR FIELD/ONLINE WORK, PLS CONSIDER TO SPONSOR A LITTLE PART OF THIS COST. You can send your pledging message to info@makkalsakthi.net with your contact number. For any clarification you can call us @ 9150040092 / 9443119564 / 9150040095 /  9443562030  ( Our last one month Xerox bill itself Rs.3250/-  Each set(Spiralled one) of UmashankarIAS affidavit filed in court which exposes high level corruption and misuse of political powers, costs nearly Rs.100. Already we put 25 sets of this and gave it to people who will take it further. We want to spread it as much as  we can, but finance is a struggle for us.)
4. MEDIA:  If you own a media( blog, magazine..etc) pls do post/write about it. If you have media contacts pls refer it to us.
This campaign is a part of our  “SECOND FREEDOM STRUGGLE” TO REBUILD OUR COUNTRY. PLEASE BE PART OF IT…

—-
Senthil Arumugam,
State Steering Committee Member – Makkal Sakthi Katchi

Posted in C. Umashankar, Govt. of Tamilnadu | 4 Comments

IAS crusader refuses to give up fight against corrupt forces

IAS crusader refuses to give up fight against corrupt forces

Jaya Menon, TNN, Jul 31, 2010, 12.14am IST

CHENNAI: Growing up in Mettupatti, a hamlet in Tirunelveli district in southern Tamil Nadu, a young boy and his siblings were witness to the violent fights over religion between their parents. His father Chellakani Sadayandi, a dalit Hindu, could never accept his Christian wife’s devotion to her faith. But Suganthi Victoria remained steadfast. Ironically, years later, the boy, now 46 and a IAS officer, is fighting to clear the charge that he fudged his caste certificate to establish that he belonged to the Adi Dravida (SC) community.

It is rare in the history of bureaucracy in Tamil Nadu for a civil servant to be charged with forging his caste certificate. Rarer still, against an officer acknowledged as a crusader against corruption. While confronting the government of the day is nothing new for Umashankar, this is perhaps the most testing period in his 20-year-career. He has taken on the DMK leadership, accusing it of “vindictive action”, amidst speculation that the charge against him may be a fallout of a fight against sections in the bureaucracy.

Ironically, when the DMK came to power in May 2006, Umashankar was a favourite of the chief minister himself. After languishing for five years during the Jayalalithaa regime in an obscure post, he was handpicked for the job of ELCOT (Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu) chairman. He was in charge of one of the DMK’s showpiece welfare schemes: distribution of free colour TVs to the poor. ELCOT also played a role in setting up IT parks in tier II and tier III cities.

“The chief minister was very fond of me. At meetings he would make me stand beside him, and keep addressing me as Uma. He made it known to everyone that he liked me. But, I don’t know what has happened. He has completely gone against me,” said Umashankar, talking to TOI at his Thiruvanmayur residence, where visitors including senior officials continue to pour in.

If he is concerned about the crisis in his career, he is certainly not showing it. Frequent transfers and punishment postings have dogged him through his career. Umashankar says he was shunted out of ELCOT two years ago when he tried to dig up irregularities in ELNET, a sister concern, and later dropped from his post as head of Arasu Cable Corporation, set up at the peak of the feud between Karunanidhi’s family and the Maran brothers, to break the near-monopoly of Sumangali Cable Vision, the multi-system operator.

Now, facing a challenge to his continuance in the service, his energetic, garrulous demeanour reveals no signs of uncertainty. Winner of a national award for e-governance, he has now filed a complaint against the state to the National Commission for SC/ST for suspending him from service. “My vision, focus has not dimmed, despite all obstacles, the fire to fight corruption is still burning,” he says.

Born and raised in a small town, Umashankar completed his education in Tirunelveli before landing a job in the banking sector. The sixth son of a postmaster, he soon began to tire of his work in a remote tribal area of Madhya Pradesh. The eagerness to seek an IAS career was born out of this frustration. In his first two years in Vellore, Umashankar cracked down on large-scale black marketing of cinema tickets. Later, when he paraded some men for the same offence in Tiruvarur in 1999, the CM’s home district, his action evoked a volley of protests from theatre owners and DMK sympathizers who plastered posters against him on street walls and pulled down shutters of cinema houses for six days. An unrelenting Umashankar, then a district collector, refused to back down.

Tiruvarur became the first district in the country to adopt e-governance and the officer received an award in 2003 during the NDA regime for a paper on security solutions in e-governance. While a section of the bureaucracy consider Umashankar to be an intelligent officer and among the most IT-savvy, there are some who think he has “unnecessarily” pitted himself against the powers that be and “wasted” a good portion of his career.

It’s a career marked by frequent conflicts with authority. His first major confrontation with the powers that be was in 1995 when as additional collector of Madurai, he unearthed a scam in the construction of cremation sheds in graveyards under the Jawahar Rozgar Yojana scheme. This was among a slew of corruption cases that shook the then Jayalalithaa regime (1991 to 1996).

While it brought him into the spotlight and earned him the respect of the public, it took a toll on his domestic life. “Initially, I did not mind the frequent transfers as our children were young. But when I first heard about his suspension order, I panicked thinking of the financial crisis we will be facing,” says Surya, Umashankar’s wife, the daughter of an IAS officer, who served in Andhra Pradesh. “But I stand by whatever he does. My father was an extremely honest, upright man. Umashankar is very much like him,” she says.

Umashankar denies allegations about the genuineness of his caste certificate, saying his father remained a Hindu and that he converted to Christianity only two years ago. He is confident he would be cleared of the charges. “I will not leave the IAS. Though there are setbacks, they are only temporary. When I bounce back, nobody will be able to stop me from making an impact in Tamil Nadu.”

Times of India has published an article on Mr. C. Umashankar

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/IAS-crusader-refuses-to-give-up-fight-against-corruptforces/articleshow/6238906.cms

Posted in C. Umashankar, CBI, CIC, CVC, DIT, egovindia, ekavi, ellakavi, Govt. of Tamilnadu, IAS Officers, INDIA RTI, MIT, NIC, PMO, Umashankar NEWS Artices | Leave a comment

Presentation to Mr.Nandan Nilekani, CEO, Infosys on 10-4-06 on e-gov

11-4-06

Dear members,

This is to inform that a delegation of 6 members from egovINDIA yahoo group met Mr.Nandan Nilekani, CEO, Infosys and Member, National Knolwedge Commission on 10-4-06 at Infosys campus in Bangalore and submitted a paper on e-governance.
The meeting was organised by Mr.Sam Pitroda, Chirman, National Knowledge Commission.
The team was led by C.Umashankar, Moderator-1.
Other members who participated were:
1. Mr.Bhujanga (Spoke about citizen audit of e-governance packages and rating of e-governance software)
2.Mr.Veeresha
3.Mr.Dinesh (Spoke about Open source software, open standards and cross platform applications. He also presented on technical code audit of e-gov packages by the citizens)
4. Mr.Manohar
 and another.
The 50 minute meeting dealt at length various issues concerning e-governance in India.
Mr.Nandan Nilekani agreed with the views of egovINDIA group on many areas. The minutes are getting ready. He had requested the group members to prepare detailed technical paper on the issues agreed upon so that the NKC would have full technical details for submitting the same to Government of India as NKC's recommendations.

Attached below is the write up presented to Mr.Nandan Nilekani.

Regards.

Umashankar

Submission to National Knowledge Commission from egovINDIA – yahoo group, on relevance of e-governance in building a knowledge super power,
 
Dear Chairman and Members of the National Knowledge Commission,
 
Greetings from egovINDIA-yahoo group members.
 
About the egovINDIA group:
egovINDIA-Yahoo group comprises of over 3000 members from all over the world. The members of the group have subscribed to process automation based true e-governance which has the capacity to empower the citizens of all walks of life such as the socially and economically downtrodden, women, minorities and people living in far flung areas. 
One of the moderators of the group is an IAS officer (Mr.C.Umashankar) who had commissioned India’s first e-district at Tiruvarur, TamilNadu during 1999-2001 using process automation techniques. The first e-district was rated 20 years ahead of rest of India by Times of India during 2001. The e-champion was chosen the bureaucrat of the next millennium by the Week Magazine in its millennium edition during the year 2000. The e-district continues to transact business using the e-governance systems till date. Mr.Umashankar served as Member (Special Invitee) of the National e-governance Action Plan implementation committee for a while during 2005.
The other moderator Mr.V.M.Kumaraswamy is stationed at Los Angeles, CA, USA. He is a post graduate in Management and has been deeply committed to the creation of a transparent and self confident India.
 
The group considers it a great opportunity to build India a knowledge super power through the NKC. We would like to put forward our views on e-governance and relevance of e-governance in achieving the knowledge super power status.
 
Relevance of e-governance vis-a-vis building a knowledge super power.
Public administration in India is marred by corruption and red tappism which had resulted in an anomalous situation whereby the laws of the lands are being twisted according to the executive/bureaucracy’s whims and fancies. The underlying problem is the Tottenham system that has been in use all over India since independence. The Tottenham system believes in creating multiple manual records for a single transaction on the belief that if one record gets destroyed, the other original record would come handy. This had resulted in a  situation where the bureaucracy in India works only to feed itself with more and more book keeping work, with hardly any concern for the citizen. The other result is rampant corruption and red tappism in public administration. Certain citizens have become more than equal in India due to these circumstances. This goes against the spirit of the Indian constitution.
Nearly 60 years into independence, India still witnesses a situation where a major portion of its population continues to remain marginalized. The well thought out schemes that were introduced for the betterment of the marginalized population had been thwarted by the vested interests using the Tottenham system which enables secrecy and corruption.  
Naxalism which had been considered a bane has been gradually gaining legitimacy due to the all round failure of the systems.
Corruption and red tappism pose a serious threat to the effort to convert India into a Knowledge super power. Only a self confident nation can become a knowledge super power. The citizens of the nation have to feel empowered to interact with their own governments and its multiple agencies confidently before emanating the same level of confidence in building a knowledge super power. 
e-governance has the magical power to bring about the much awaited change in public administration. All the ills of the Tottenham system can be got over using process automation based e-governance system. E-governance is the only viable route to a transparent governance system.
 
Having emphasised the need for e-governance to act as a foundation to build India a knowledge super power, we would like to focus on certain areas where India has to concentrate to  steer clear of pitfalls in the e-governance implementation.
 
Definition of e-governance:
"Information and Communication Technology (ICT) that empowers the Government, its citizens including the Government employees, weaker sections, women, people living in far flung and difficult areas and the business houses to transact businesses with government and its agencies online 24/7 "
This definition presupposes process automation at every level where e-governance is introduced. There is no scope for window dressing in such a professional set up. Utility bill collection system should not be confused with the process automation system that is being discussed here.
The litmus test for true e-governance is that the system should react at the same speed for a rich man as well as poor man. The same is the case when it comes to literate versus illiterate, men verses women and so on. The so called untouchables (Scheduled Castes) should feel themselves equal to the rest of the Indian citizens at least in their interaction with Government and its agencies online.
 
Agenda before the nation to achieve true e-governance
Having defined the concept, the egovINDIA group wishes to place its view points on how to achieve true e-governance.
Like any other advocacy groups, the egovINDIA feels strongly for and against certain policies and practices adopted at present by various governments in India, in the name of e-governance. The group considers strongly for any initiative in India that closely matches the above definition and it openly expresses its reservations when such policies are found to be in the interest of certain individuals or corporate only.
 
Requisites for a true take off in e-governance:
1.      Clear Information Technology and e-governance policy frame work from Government of India and respective State Governments.
The first mandatory pronouncement is that any e-governance initiative has to be process automation based system. A process automation system converts the existing manual workflow into electronic workflow with or without process reengineering. Process reengineering usually takes place when the system gets converted to the electronic form.
The resolve expressed by the executive is the most important factor for the commencement and survival of any e-governance initiative. Such a resolve has to be expressed through policy pronouncements followed by concrete rules and regulations.
 
2.      Expected outcome of e-governance initiative to be clearly spelt out before commencement. 
3.      A clear vision plan for the next 15-20 years with well defined and verifiable milestones is necessary.
4.      Objective evaluation of implementation of e-governance based on pre defined parameters to do course correction, if any.
5.      Legal framework to fund the e-governance movement.
6.      Government employees to be the first major stake holders: Involvement of all stake holders in e-governance initiative is essential to make it a success. The prime stake holders are the Government employees who at present handle the public administration using mostly the manual processing method. E-governance has to enable these employees to carry out their day-to-day functions online. The system undoubtedly has to talk their language and  it should provide them a complete solution. It had already been proved in the country’s first e-district that the Government employees are not monsters as depicted. The Government employees are ready to accept  e-governance system  as long as it satisfies their functional requirements with fool proof security and audit trail.
Enabling government employees to switch over to the e-governance system requires careful planning and execution. It is a case of prudent man management. There is a great role for e-champions in making this area a success.  
7.      Involvement of citizens and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in planning India’s e-governance policies.
8.      Qualifications of a CSO to advice and aid Government: It is preferable that the Government should engage the services of the CSOs which had not received any funding from Government for projects.
9.      Need for a Whistle Blowers’ protection Act: A strong e-governance system needs the  backing of a supporting Act such as the Whistleblowers’ protection Act. WBA would complement the e-governance system and make life easier for the citizens and business houses.
10.  Connectivity: Policy and funding for connecting all the 5 lakh villages of India. The Government owned BSNL had proved that it could provide digital connectivity to every nook and corner of the country. It had already achieved this feet by converting the entire analogue lines into digital lines even five years ago. The consumers had rated the BSNL as the most transparent billing company. BSNL’s broadband services (Data one) have been rated excellent by the consumers. Data One services have to be extended to the rural areas without any further loss of time. BSNL has its telephone exchanges touching Blocks and below the block level administrative set up. This is a huge strength on which BSNL can build India’s broadband revolution. All the Government installations, including schools, colleges, government / local body offices, hospitals, primary health centres and police stations  have to be connected using Data one services. BSNL had already proved that the Tax payers’ money spent on its infrastructure is a useful investment in bringing about the telecom revolution. This time, the Government of India has to come forward to fund BSNL for building the internet infrastructure to connect all the villages. Suitable tax holidays and tax concessions have to be provided to encourage the users to opt for the broadband services at the village level. It may not be a bad idea if the Government of India could announce 2006, the year of connectivity. The entire rural India should be broadband enabled within a period of 12 months to enable a quantum leap in knowledge revolution. Unless the rural schools get broadband connectivity, the dream of building a knowledge super power would not materialise. So, the earlier the rural areas get affordable broadband connectivity the better it is for the momentum to build a knowledge super power.
11.  Special treatment for difficult areas: Special provisions should be built for Bihar, North East, Hilly States such as Himachal and Uttranchal and Jammu & Kashmir to enable them to catch up with the rest of the States. For example, Bihar does not have electricity for major portion of its areas. There should be a special provision to provide power generators for the Government installations where e-governance is proposed in Bihar. Solar based power supply systems may also be considered. For these special efforts, suitable additional funding support has to be built into the plans. Similar is the case with North East and other difficult states.
12.  Addressing power problem using notebook PCs: An innovative solution could be thought about by providing notebook computers to the power starved areas with solar power back up systems so that these areas need not bother about investing in high cost power back up systems. The present day notebook PCs match the desktop PCs in performance as well as reliability. The price of the notebook PCs has come down drastically in the recent past. With suitable policy support, the Government of India could make the notebook PCs the default systems for Government offices. 
13.  Policy framework for e-champions within the bureaucracy, at all levels: For the Indian system, the role of e-champions from within the Government is a pre requisite for leading the e-governance momentum. These e-champions have to be identified on voluntary basis, trained and put in charge of strategising and implementing e-governance solutions.
14.  Need for change in civil service rules: Government employment should be thoroughly redefined. At present, the bureaucracy works on the principle of anonymity and secrecy. These principles go against e-governance based system which automatically seeks transparency in every sphere of activity. Anonymity of civil servants, though desirable, would be too difficult to achieve under a transparent system where everyone will be accountable for his/her commissions and omissions in a transparent manner. The rules the Central and State Civil Services need to be overhauled to suit the e-governance  based system.
15.  Women in e-governance: The country’s first e-district had proved that women employees far out numbered men in taking over the e-champion’s role. Similarly, the women beneficiaries outnumbered men in availing social security benefits through e-governance. Hence there is a need to have special focus on role for women in e-governance.
16.  Native language support in e-governance.
17.  Setting up of National and state level e-governance authority in the lines of Election Commission of India: In order to strategise, monitor and carry out course correction exercise, the Government may consider setting up of e-governance authorities in the lines of the RTI Commissioners. The authority should be vested with powers matching the Election Commission of India. At present, the e-governance initiative of the country is handled by a handful of IAS officers which is an aberration.
18.  Adequate representation to SC/STs, minorities such as Muslims and Christians, women, people from rural areas in e-governance committees.
19.  Transparency in all e-governance initiatives.
20.  IT in school education. Role of CSOs such as Azim Premji foundation in providing multi media education for the poor: Schools should be provided with multi media based education material across the nation. This would provide a level playing field to all the students, notably the rural students. India can become a knowledge super power only if it empowers its rural students to come up on par with the urban students.  In this connection, the NKC may consider recognising the role of Azim Premji foundation which has been supplying multi media based study materials to schools in different Indian languages free of cost. Azim premji foundation may be made the nodal agency for the entire nation to sphere head this movement.
21.  Citizen feedback on e-governance activities: There is a need to enable the common man to contribute to the development of e-governance in public administration by keeping a window open for the citizens to send their opinions and suggestions.
 
 
Advocacy areas:
The following are a few areas which the egovINDIA group strongly feels about. The NKC may consider these views while formulating its recommendations to Government.
1.      Focus on urban population or rural population? So far, the e-governance movement had focussed on urban citizens. The notable exceptions are the West Godawari (AP) and Akshya (Kerala) experiments. This is not the logical step to say the least. The population which is more affected by the Tottenham system is the rural poor because the poor do not have any bargaining capacity nor do they have the means to pay the illegal bribes. Today, the rural poor cannot get the Old Age Pension benefit unless they bribe the lower level officials. Nor they can get any government service unless they approach the government officials through touts, that too at a special cost.  Good governance is a matter of livelihood for the rural population whereas it is a matter of luxury for the urban people. The convent English speaking corrupt bureaucracy would always prefer to serve the urban population  because of various factors. Firstly, it provides them name and fame easily through the urban focussed print and other media. Secondly, it provides them illegal wealth or power or both. In the interest of the nation, the NKC may intervene and do the course correction. E-governance has to focus on providing services to the poor first, notably the poor in the rural areas before the same is taken up in urban areas.
2.      Role of private sector partner in e-governance: Should the private sector run the Government services sans the Government or Government servants’ involvement?  This question is being raised increasingly in the light of the replication of Andhra Pradesh’s e-seva in different states in different names. The case of Bangalore One in Karnataka is an example. The e-govINDIA group strongly feels that the private partner should be involved in software development, hand holding support and then maintenance of the software & database. Their role should not be extended to running the services on their own as it has many negative side effects. The first and foremost among the negative side effects is that instead of reducing corruption, such initiatives generate large scale e-corruption. Transparency is given a goby. None of the empowerment factors get enabled through such arrangements. Only the private partner gets empowered with more revenue. Madras University had shown the way for the rest of India by engaging a private partner to develop its e-governance software and then help the university with hand holding for nearly two years after the initial implementation. This is the right way to go. The NKC may study the Madras University pattern and take an appropriate view.
3.      Role of women Self Help Groups (SHGs) as partners for providing Government services. There is a tendency to hand over the utility bill collection operations to a private partner and then call it a great e-governance initiative. Suggestions to hand over such routine yet lucrative revenue bearing tasks to women self help groups had been met with ridicule by IAS officers manning e-governance positions. The group considers it a gross misadventure to leave out the women self help groups. It is the considered opinion of this group that the Government services should be front ended by the women self help groups. In the absence of women self help groups alone, the Governments should look for private corporate partners.
4.      Open source software should be the default software for e-governance operations: Open source software had come a long way to compete and even overtake proprietary software systems. The latest release of Novell Suse 10.0- open source version had been hailed to be a match, if not more than a match to the proprietary windows operation system. Open source movement offers a variety of rich and valuable software packages free. Open source office suite – openoffice.org, open source database system – Postgresql, open source report writing software – ireport,  open source GIS software – OpenGIS , Netbeans for linux for software development, Apache Tomcat, Resin, Jboss etc., provide a great deal of flexibility to the users to configure the e-governance system. Developed countries themselves have started adopting the open source systems and open standards. India needs to spell out a policy towards use of open source systems and open standards in e-governance operations. (It is quite strange that a few State governments and NISG have struck a deal with Microsoft for using Microsoft’s proprietary technology at huge cost. This is not a logical step because Microsoft does not offer any of its software free. Then why such MoUs? There seems to be huge corruption here).
5.      Setting up of open source support and research centres in every district: Open source software enables innovations. For a nation that aims at becoming a knowledge super power, it is extremely important that vital software packages that drive the computer systems should flow freely. Proprietary systems, by default cannot flow freely towards the needy. Only the open source software can be freely used by the research professionals and educational institutions. A GIS software or database software in the normal course costs a fortune. But the open source movement had provided these packages under GNU for free download. This freedom has to be encouraged through appropriate government assisted technical support centres at every district level. The District Informatics office under the control of NIC could be declared the open source support centre. The support centre’s services should be made available freely to the student community and all government offices.
6.       Mission mode projects – is the bureaucracy capable of heading mission mode projects? The term “mission” pre supposes sacrifice and helping others. Currently, the bureaucrats who were utter failures in the field in providing proactive public service to the common man had taken over the leadership positions in e-governance. This is not a healthy trend for building a self confident nation. Bureaucrats, by definition are not fit to head any mission mode projects as they are not meant to be missionaries. The rare exceptions are the missionaries who had joined the bureaucracy. It is time the entire e-governance leadership is handed over to the national and state level e-governance authorities as proposed in the earlier part of this write up.
7.      Indian e-governance effort should not result in a mere market for selling the ready made products of multi nationals: The trend at present has been to encourage development of ready made products and then purchase the same by various State Governments from the same companies. The case of e-seva/Bangalore one and e-procurement are the dangerous pointers. Governments have to acquire the source code and host the source code for free download by other Governments. The citizens also would be enabled to support the Government software packages by identifying and informing the lacuna found in the source code, if any.
8.      Compulsory e-governance in higher education: Our students undergoing higher education should have a first hand experience in using e-governance system during their college days.  This is one of the steps in making a self confident India, marching towards knowledge super power status.
9.      Knowledge commission and higher education - The case for more Deemed Universities and autonomous technical institutions: If India were to supply the global demand for technical manpower, it needs to encourage more private players to commence Deemed Universities. Colleges which had shown a credible trend for 10 years should be given autonomous status through automatic route. The unfortunate trend is that many colleges which apply for autonomous status are forced to wait for years by the State Governments which simply sit over the proposals. The current move to curb the independence enjoyed by the deemed universities is a retrograde step. The Government must allow the market forces to determine the weightage of the Deemed universities. Regulatory agencies such as the Medical Council of India and AICTU had enhanced the cost of education through bureaucratic delays and huge corruption.
10.  The role of NISG.
This paragraph had been withdrawn after detailed discussions.
11.  NASSCOM in NISG – role to be defined to save its name.
12.  Cheating in the name of e-governance. The case of n-logue
This paragraph had been withdrawn after detailed discussions.
13.  An aberration called Village Knowledge Centre (VKC): The Village Knowledge Centre concept is being pushed without making any assessment. The five star culture driven CSOs have been ruling the roost. The kiosk experiments have failed wherever it had been started. No assessment had been done on these failed experiments. In the absence of e-governance content, the kiosks can at the best act as e-mail centres and at the worst phonographic content suppliers. The NKC may take an appropriate view on this.
14.  Centralisation of e-governance planning by Government of India has to be given up in favour of States taking the lead: As on date, a handful of officials of Government of India have been acting the sole e-governance drivers. This is not a healthy trend for the nation. The National Institute of Smart Government has been formed with an aim to undercut the States.  With NISG under their control, these Government of India officials are able to operate like private agencies, taking over the role of the State governments as well as the central Government. Ideally speaking, the States should be given their due. Funds meant for e-governance should be distributed to the States. Leadership building at State level should be taken up instead of driving the e-governance movement through NISG which has neither any expertise nor legitimacy. The NKC may take an appropriate view on this subject.
 
Dated the 10th April 2006 at Bangalore.
 
 
 
 
Signed
Moderator, egovINDIA- yahoo group.
 
 
Enclosure:
1.      Mail sent to Mr.Sam Pitroda, Chairman, NKC dated 23rd December 2005.
2.      Book on Tiruvarur e-governance titled “e-governance-the success story of Tiruvarur, the road covered and the road ahead” – 2001
3.      CD-ROM containing video of e-governance camp held in Tiruvarur district.
 

C.Umashankar IAS., (TamilNadu Cadre)
e-governance expert.

Moderator:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/eGovINDIA
http://sugame.com/umashankar

Chennai:
Ph: 91-44-52054443

Posted in 2006 Writeup by C. Umashakar IAS, C. Umashankar, CBI, CIC, CVC, DIT, egovindia, ekavi, ellakavi, Govt. of Tamilnadu, IAS Officers, INDIA RTI, MIT, NIC, PMO, President of India, Press | Leave a comment

Hii .. on building a good e-gov roadmap for India – your intervention is needed

Date: Thu, 22 Dec 2005 19:51:37 -0800 (PST)
From: Umashankar C <umashankarc@yahoo.com>
Subject: Hii .. on building a good e-gov roadmap for India – your intervention is needed
To: sam.pitroda@c-sam.com
CC: vmkumaraswamy@yahoo.com

 

23rd Dec.2005
 
Dear Mr.Sam Pitroda,
 
Mr.Kumaraswamy, the founder-moderator of egovINDIA has been on my trail to write to you on e-governance plans in India.
Yes, you are one of the few leaders in the country who can bring about change in e-governance plans. The need of the hour is to make e-governance work for the common man, through the very same government / local body employees. Process automation based e-governance is the only route that can empower a nation in the long run. This had not been recognised by the bureaucrats who lead the movement at this moment. We seek your intervention to do a complete course correction.
I have written a 14 page long write up detailing my views on Indian e-governance scenario. Kindly go through the same and decide about your intervention.
 
I would like to meet you to discuss about these issues.
Please let me know your convenient time and venue so that I can come to your place and discuss the action plan.
 
Regards.
 
Umashankar
044-42054443
9444382827
 

C.Umashankar IAS., (TamilNadu Cadre)
e-governance expert.

Moderator:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/eGovINDIA
http://sugame.com/umashankar

Chennai:
Ph: 91-44-52054443

Posted in 2005 write up by C. Umashankar IAS, C. Umashankar, CBI, CIC, CVC, DIT, egovindia, ekavi, ellakavi, Govt. of Tamilnadu, IAS Officers, INDIA RTI, MIT, NIC, PMO, President of India, Press | Leave a comment

Submission to National Knowledge Commission from Mr. C. Umashankar IAS of eGovINDIA Group

Submission to National Knowledge Commission from eGovINDIA Yahoogroup, on relevance of e-governance in building a knowledge super power,
 
April 10 th 2006
 
Dear Chairman and Members of the National Knowledge Commission,
 
Greetings from eGovINDIA yahoo group members.
 
About the eGovINDIA group:
eGovINDIA-Yahoo group comprises of over 3000 members from all over the world. The members of the group have subscribed to process automation based true e-governance which has the capacity to empower the citizens of all walks of life such as the socially and economically downtrodden, women, minorities and people living in far flung areas. 
One of the moderators of the group is an IAS officer (Mr.C.Umashankar) who had commissioned India’s first e-district at Tiruvarur, TamilNadu during 1999-2001 using process automation techniques. The first e-district was rated 20 years ahead of rest of India by Times of India during 2001. The e-champion was chosen the bureaucrat of the next millennium by the Week Magazine in its millennium edition during the year 2000. The e-district continues to transact business using the e-governance systems till date. Mr.Umashankar served as Member (Special Invitee) of the National e-governance Action Plan implementation committee for a while during 2005.
The other moderator Mr. V. M. Kumaraswamy is stationed at Los Angeles, CA, USA. He is a post graduate in Management and has been deeply committed to the creation of a transparent and self confident India.
 
The group considers it a great opportunity to build India a knowledge super power through the NKC. We would like to put forward our views on e-governance and relevance of e-governance in achieving the knowledge super power status.
 
Relevance of e-governance vis-a-vis building a knowledge super power.
Public administration in India is marred by corruption and red tappism which had resulted in an anomalous situation whereby the laws of the lands are being twisted according to the executive/bureaucracy’s whims and fancies. The underlying problem is the Tottenham system that has been in use all over India since independence. The Tottenham system believes in creating multiple manual records for a single transaction on the belief that if one record gets destroyed, the other original record would come handy. This had resulted in a  situation where the bureaucracy in India works only to feed itself with more and more book keeping work, with hardly any concern for the citizen. The other result is rampant corruption and red tappism in public administration. Certain citizens have become more than equal in India due to these circumstances. This goes against the spirit of the Indian constitution.
Nearly 60 years into independence, India still witnesses a situation where a major portion of its population continues to remain marginalized. The well thought out schemes that were introduced for the betterment of the marginalized population had been thwarted by the vested interests using the Tottenham system which enables secrecy and corruption.  
Naxalism which had been considered a bane has been gradually gaining legitimacy due to the all round failure of the systems.
Corruption and red tappism pose a serious threat to the effort to convert India into a Knowledge super power. Only a self confident nation can become a knowledge super power. The citizens of the nation have to feel empowered to interact with their own governments and its multiple agencies confidently before emanating the same level of confidence in building a knowledge super power. 
e-governance has the magical power to bring about the much awaited change in public administration. All the ills of the Tottenham system can be got over using process automation based e-governance system. E-governance is the only viable route to a transparent governance system.
 
Having emphasised the need for e-governance to act as a foundation to build India a knowledge super power, we would like to focus on certain areas where India has to concentrate to  steer clear of pitfalls in the e-governance implementation.
 
Definition of e-governance:
“Information and Communication Technology (ICT) that empowers the Government, its citizens including the Government employees, weaker sections, women, people living in far flung and difficult areas and the business houses to transact businesses with government and its agencies online 24/7 ”
This definition presupposes process automation at every level where e-governance is introduced. There is no scope for window dressing in such a professional set up. Utility bill collection system should not be confused with the process automation system that is being discussed here.
The litmus test for true e-governance is that the system should react at the same speed for a rich man as well as poor man. The same is the case when it comes to literate versus illiterate, men verses women and so on. The so called untouchables (Scheduled Castes) should feel themselves equal to the rest of the Indian citizens at least in their interaction with Government and its agencies online.
 
Agenda before the nation to achieve true e-governance
Having defined the concept, the egovINDIA group wishes to place its view points on how to achieve true e-governance.
Like any other advocacy groups, the egovINDIA feels strongly for and against certain policies and practices adopted at present by various governments in India, in the name of e-governance. The group considers strongly for any initiative in India that closely matches the above definition and it openly expresses its reservations when such policies are found to be in the interest of certain individuals or corporate only.
 
Requisites for a true take off in e-governance:
1.      Clear Information Technology and e-governance policy frame work from Government of India and respective State Governments.
The first mandatory pronouncement is that any e-governance initiative has to be process automation based system. A process automation system converts the existing manual workflow into electronic workflow with or without process reengineering. Process reengineering usually takes place when the system gets converted to the electronic form.
The resolve expressed by the executive is the most important factor for the commencement and survival of any e-governance initiative. Such a resolve has to be expressed through policy pronouncements followed by concrete rules and regulations.
 
2.      Expected outcome of e-governance initiative to be clearly spelt out before commencement. 
3.      A clear vision plan for the next 15-20 years with well defined and verifiable milestones is necessary.
4.      Objective evaluation of implementation of e-governance based on pre defined parameters to do course correction, if any.
5.      Legal framework to fund the e-governance movement.
6.      Government employees to be the first major stake holders: Involvement of all stake holders in e-governance initiative is essential to make it a success. The prime stake holders are the Government employees who at present handle the public administration using mostly the manual processing method. E-governance has to enable these employees to carry out their day-to-day functions online. The system undoubtedly has to talk their language and  it should provide them a complete solution. It had already been proved in the country’s first e-district that the Government employees are not monsters as depicted. The Government employees are ready to accept  e-governance system  as long as it satisfies their functional requirements with fool proof security and audit trail.
Enabling government employees to switch over to the e-governance system requires careful planning and execution. It is a case of prudent man management. There is a great role for e-champions in making this area a success.  
7.      Involvement of citizens and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in planning India’s e-governance policies.
8.      Qualifications of a CSO to advice and aid Government: It is preferable that the Government should engage the services of the CSOs which had not received any funding from Government for projects.
9.      Need for a Whistle Blowers’ protection Act: A strong e-governance system needs the  backing of a supporting Act such as the Whistleblowers’ protection Act. WBA would complement the e-governance system and make life easier for the citizens and business houses.
10.  Connectivity: Policy and funding for connecting all the 5 lakh villages of India. The Government owned BSNL had proved that it could provide digital connectivity to every nook and corner of the country. It had already achieved this feet by converting the entire analogue lines into digital lines even five years ago. The consumers had rated the BSNL as the most transparent billing company. BSNL’s broadband services (Data one) have been rated excellent by the consumers. Data One services have to be extended to the rural areas without any further loss of time. BSNL has its telephone exchanges touching Blocks and below the block level administrative set up. This is a huge strength on which BSNL can build India’s broadband revolution. All the Government installations, including schools, colleges, government / local body offices, hospitals, primary health centres and police stations  have to be connected using Data one services. BSNL had already proved that the Tax payers’ money spent on its infrastructure is a useful investment in bringing about the telecom revolution. This time, the Government of India has to come forward to fund BSNL for building the internet infrastructure to connect all the villages. Suitable tax holidays and tax concessions have to be provided to encourage the users to opt for the broadband services at the village level. It may not be a bad idea if the Government of India could announce 2006, the year of connectivity. The entire rural India should be broadband enabled within a period of 12 months to enable a quantum leap in knowledge revolution. Unless the rural schools get broadband connectivity, the dream of building a knowledge super power would not materialise. So, the earlier the rural areas get affordable broadband connectivity the better it is for the momentum to build a knowledge super power.
11.  Special treatment for difficult areas: Special provisions should be built for Bihar, North East, Hilly States such as Himachal and Uttranchal and Jammu & Kashmir to enable them to catch up with the rest of the States. For example, Bihar does not have electricity for major portion of its areas. There should be a special provision to provide power generators for the Government installations where e-governance is proposed in Bihar. Solar based power supply systems may also be considered. For these special efforts, suitable additional funding support has to be built into the plans. Similar is the case with North East and other difficult states.
12.  Addressing power problem using notebook PCs: An innovative solution could be thought about by providing notebook computers to the power starved areas with solar power back up systems so that these areas need not bother about investing in high cost power back up systems. The present day notebook PCs match the desktop PCs in performance as well as reliability. The price of the notebook PCs has come down drastically in the recent past. With suitable policy support, the Government of India could make the notebook PCs the default systems for Government offices. 
13.  Policy framework for e-champions within the bureaucracy, at all levels: For the Indian system, the role of e-champions from within the Government is a pre requisite for leading the e-governance momentum. These e-champions have to be identified on voluntary basis, trained and put in charge of strategising and implementing e-governance solutions.
14.  Need for change in civil service rules: Government employment should be thoroughly redefined. At present, the bureaucracy works on the principle of anonymity and secrecy. These principles go against e-governance based system which automatically seeks transparency in every sphere of activity. Anonymity of civil servants, though desirable, would be too difficult to achieve under a transparent system where everyone will be accountable for his/her commissions and omissions in a transparent manner. The rules the Central and State Civil Services need to be overhauled to suit the e-governance  based system.
15.  Women in e-governance: The country’s first e-district had proved that women employees far out numbered men in taking over the e-champion’s role. Similarly, the women beneficiaries outnumbered men in availing social security benefits through e-governance. Hence there is a need to have special focus on role for women in e-governance.
16.  Native language support in e-governance.
17.  Setting up of National and state level e-governance authority in the lines of Election Commission of India: In order to strategise, monitor and carry out course correction exercise, the Government may consider setting up of e-governance authorities in the lines of the RTI Commissioners. The authority should be vested with powers matching the Election Commission of India. At present, the e-governance initiative of the country is handled by a handful of IAS officers which is an aberration.
18.  Adequate representation to SC/STs, minorities such as Muslims and Christians, women, people from rural areas in e-governance committees.
19.  Transparency in all e-governance initiatives.  
20.  IT in school education. Role of CSOs such as Azim Premji foundation in providing multi media education for the poor: Schools should be provided with multi media based education material across the nation. This would provide a level playing field to all the students, notably the rural students. India can become a knowledge super power only if it empowers its rural students to come up on par with the urban students.  In this connection, the NKC may consider recognising the role of Azim Premji foundation which has been supplying multi media based study materials to schools in different Indian languages free of cost. Azim premji foundation may be made the nodal agency for the entire nation to sphere head this movement.
21.  Citizen feedback on e-governance activities: There is a need to enable the common man to contribute to the development of e-governance in public administration by keeping a window open for the citizens to send their opinions and suggestions.
 
 
Advocacy areas:
The following are a few areas which the egovINDIA group strongly feels about. The NKC may consider these views while formulating its recommendations to Government.
1.      Focus on urban population or rural population? So far, the e-governance movement had focussed on urban citizens. The notable exceptions are the West Godawari (AP) and Akshya (Kerala) experiments. This is not the logical step to say the least. The population which is more affected by the Tottenham system is the rural poor because the poor do not have any bargaining capacity nor do they have the means to pay the illegal bribes. Today, the rural poor cannot get the Old Age Pension benefit unless they bribe the lower level officials. Nor they can get any government service unless they approach the government officials through touts, that too at a special cost.  Good governance is a matter of livelihood for the rural population whereas it is a matter of luxury for the urban people. The convent English speaking corrupt bureaucracy would always prefer to serve the urban population  because of various factors. Firstly, it provides them name and fame easily through the urban focussed print and other media. Secondly, it provides them illegal wealth or power or both. In the interest of the nation, the NKC may intervene and do the course correction. E-governance has to focus on providing services to the poor first, notably the poor in the rural areas before the same is taken up in urban areas.
2.      Role of private sector partner in e-governance: Should the private sector run the Government services sans the Government or Government servants’ involvement?  This question is being raised increasingly in the light of the replication of Andhra Pradesh’s e-seva in different states in different names. The case of Bangalore One in Karnataka is an example. The e-govINDIA group strongly feels that the private partner should be involved in software development, hand holding support and then maintenance of the software & database. Their role should not be extended to running the services on their own as it has many negative side effects. The first and foremost among the negative side effects is that instead of reducing corruption, such initiatives generate large scale e-corruption. Transparency is given a goby. None of the empowerment factors get enabled through such arrangements. Only the private partner gets empowered with more revenue. Madras University had shown the way for the rest of India by engaging a private partner to develop its e-governance software and then help the university with hand holding for nearly two years after the initial implementation. This is the right way to go. The NKC may study the Madras University pattern and take an appropriate view.
3.      Role of women Self Help Groups (SHGs) as partners for providing Government services. There is a tendency to hand over the utility bill collection operations to a private partner and then call it a great e-governance initiative. Suggestions to hand over such routine yet lucrative revenue bearing tasks to women self help groups had been met with ridicule by IAS officers manning e-governance positions. The group considers it a gross misadventure to leave out the women self help groups. It is the considered opinion of this group that the Government services should be front ended by the women self help groups. In the absence of women self help groups alone, the Governments should look for private corporate partners.
4.      Open source software should be the default software for e-governance operations: Open source software had come a long way to compete and even overtake proprietary software systems. The latest release of Novell Suse 10.0- open source version had been hailed to be a match, if not more than a match to the proprietary windows operation system. Open source movement offers a variety of rich and valuable software packages free. Open source office suite – openoffice.org, open source database system – Postgresql, open source report writing software – ireport,  open source GIS software – OpenGIS , Netbeans for linux for software development, Apache Tomcat, Resin, Jboss etc., provide a great deal of flexibility to the users to configure the e-governance system. Developed countries themselves have started adopting the open source systems and open standards. India needs to spell out a policy towards use of open source systems and open standards in e-governance operations. (It is quite strange that a few State governments and NISG have struck a deal with Microsoft for using Microsoft’s proprietary technology at huge cost. This is not a logical step because Microsoft does not offer any of its software free. Then why such MoUs? There seems to be huge corruption here).
5.      Setting up of open source support and research centres in every district: Open source software enables innovations. For a nation that aims at becoming a knowledge super power, it is extremely important that vital software packages that drive the computer systems should flow freely. Proprietary systems, by default cannot flow freely towards the needy. Only the open source software can be freely used by the research professionals and educational institutions. A GIS software or database software in the normal course costs a fortune. But the open source movement had provided these packages under GNU for free download. This freedom has to be encouraged through appropriate government assisted technical support centres at every district level. The District Informatics office under the control of NIC could be declared the open source support centre. The support centre’s services should be made available freely to the student community and all government offices.
6.       Mission mode projects – is the bureaucracy capable of heading mission mode projects? The term “mission” pre supposes sacrifice and helping others. Currently, the bureaucrats who were utter failures in the field in providing proactive public service to the common man had taken over the leadership positions in e-governance. This is not a healthy trend for building a self confident nation. Bureaucrats, by definition are not fit to head any mission mode projects as they are not meant to be missionaries. The rare exceptions are the missionaries who had joined the bureaucracy. It is time the entire e-governance leadership is handed over to the national and state level e-governance authorities as proposed in the earlier part of this write up.
7.      Indian e-governance effort should not result in a mere market for selling the ready made products of multi nationals: The trend at present has been to encourage development of ready made products and then purchase the same by various State Governments from the same companies. The case of e-seva/Bangalore one and e-procurement are the dangerous pointers. Governments have to acquire the source code and host the source code for free download by other Governments. The citizens also would be enabled to support the Government software packages by identifying and informing the lacuna found in the source code, if any.
8.      Compulsory e-governance in higher education: Our students undergoing higher education should have a first hand experience in using e-governance system during their college days.  This is one of the steps in making a self confident India, marching towards knowledge super power status.
9.      Knowledge commission and higher education – The case for more Deemed Universities and autonomous technical institutions: If India were to supply the global demand for technical manpower, it needs to encourage more private players to commence Deemed Universities. Colleges which had shown a credible trend for 10 years should be given autonomous status through automatic route. The unfortunate trend is that many colleges which apply for autonomous status are forced to wait for years by the State Governments which simply sit over the proposals. The current move to curb the independence enjoyed by the deemed universities is a retrograde step. The Government must allow the market forces to determine the weightage of the Deemed universities. Regulatory agencies such as the Medical Council of India and AICTU had enhanced the cost of education through bureaucratic delays and huge corruption.
10.  The role of NISG.
This paragraph had been withdrawn after detailed discussions. Copy provided at the bottom of the email.
11.  NASSCOM in NISG – role to be defined to save its name.
12.  Cheating in the name of e-governance. The case of n-logue
This paragraph had been withdrawn after detailed discussions. Copy provide at the bottom of the email.
13.  An aberration called Village Knowledge Centre (VKC): The Village Knowledge Centre concept is being pushed without making any assessment. The five star culture driven CSOs have been ruling the roost. The kiosk experiments have failed wherever it had been started. No assessment had been done on these failed experiments. In the absence of e-governance content, the kiosks can at the best act as e-mail centres and at the worst phonographic content suppliers. The NKC may take an appropriate view on this.
14.  Centralisation of e-governance planning by Government of India has to be given up in favour of States taking the lead: As on date, a handful of officials of Government of India have been acting the sole e-governance drivers. This is not a healthy trend for the nation. The National Institute of Smart Government has been formed with an aim to undercut the States.  With NISG under their control, these Government of India officials are able to operate like private agencies, taking over the role of the State governments as well as the central Government. Ideally speaking, the States should be given their due. Funds meant for e-governance should be distributed to the States. Leadership building at State level should be taken up instead of driving the e-governance movement through NISG which has neither any expertise nor legitimacy. The NKC may take an appropriate view on this subject.
 
Dated the 10th April 2006 at Bangalore.
 
Signed
Moderator, egovINDIA- yahoo group.
 
Enclosure:
1.      Mail sent to Mr.Sam Pitroda, Chairman, NKC dated 23rd December 2005.
2.   Book on Tiruvarur e-governance titled “e-governance-the success story of Tiruvarur, the road covered and the road ahead” – 2001
3.      CD-ROM containing video of e-governance camp held in Tiruvarur district.


C.Umashankar IAS., (TamilNadu Cadre)
e-governance expert.

Moderator:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/eGovINDIA
http://sugame.com/umashankar

Chennai:
Ph: 91-44-52054443

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These TWO sections are removed after discussing with Mr. Nandan M. Nilekani  of NKC in Bangalore. This is for both of your file.
 
The role of NISG. Should a private limited company control the Indian e-governance movement? It is a peculiar happening in India that a private company registered under Section 25 of the Indian Companies Act (National Institute of Smart Government) has been controlling the e-governance activities of not only the central government but also many state governments. The states stand in queue before this private company to receive funding assistance for their e-governance activities. This group is of the opinion that NISG had directly encouraged corruption and lack of transparency. It has been promoting certain chosen corporate for the detriment of a host of companies which believe in honesty and fair play. The NKC may take an appropriate view on this subject based on the huge volume of materials written on the egovINDIA group.
 
Cheating in the name of e-governance. The case of n-logue and Mr.Ashok Jhunjanwalla: In the name of providing connectivity and internet to the rural masses, the women self help groups of TamilNadu and elsewhere are being deprived of their livelihood by a clever business plan played by Prof.Ashok Jhunjanwalla of IIT, Madras. This scam is targeted at the subsidy money received by the women self help groups from Government of India. Though the said IIT Professor knows that a 32 kbps outdated wireless system is not good enough for video conferencing, he has been promoting falsehood only to gain income though business. Mr.Jhunjanwalla is a Director in the company which markets this outdated wireless product. It is to be noted that every district has a District Blindness Control society headed by the respective District Collectors which monitors and supports blindness control. The entire funding comes from international agencies. Thousands of poor people get 100% financial assistance every year through this exercise. Whereas Mr.Jhunjanwalla has been promoting falsehood by stating that his outdated wireless system could provide a solution to the blindness of the people through video conferencing (Tele medicine). What could never be accepted in urban India is being sold to the rural women self help groups using Government contacts/orders with no benefit accruing to the poor women. The NKC may look into this affair and stop the cheating that goes in the name of e-governance.


C.Umashankar IAS., (TamilNadu Cadre)
e-governance expert.
Currently on Election Commission of India deputation as ELECTION OBSERVER for Purbasthali Assembly Constituency, West Bengal.
(From 12-4-06 to 13-5-2006) – Ph: 9474114968 (mob)

Moderator:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/eGovINDIA
http://sugame.com/umashankar

Chennai:
Ph: 91-44-42054443

Posted in 2006 Writeup by C. Umashakar IAS, C. Umashankar, CBI, CIC, CVC, DIT, egovindia, ekavi, ellakavi, Govt. of Tamilnadu, IAS Officers, INDIA RTI, MIT, NIC, PMO, President of India, Press | Leave a comment

About C. Umashankar IAS – 2007

C. Umashankar IAS
C. Umashankar IAS., (TamilNadu, India)
Formerly Member, Special Invitee, National E-governance Action Plan Implementation Committee

Ex-Joint Vigilance Commissioner, TamilNadu
C. Umashankar IAS

Service: Indian Administrative Service (IAS) – TamilNadu Cadre (1990)

Current Position: MD of ELCOT

Former Commissioner for Disciplinary Proceedings, Salem, TamilNadu.

Guest lecturer for Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore on 1) e-governance training program for senior officers of Government of India and 2) Reinventing
government – Post Graduate Diploma program.
Guest Lecturer for National Productivity Council, New Delhi on Transformation of administration using e-governance.
Qualification: B.Com., (1984)
Additional Qualification: Designing and implementing multiple e-governance ERPs at field level and State headquarters level with effect from February 1999 onwards. E-mail ID: umashankarc@gmail.com,
Experience in e-governance and Information Technology
The following ERPs / e-governance software packages were designed by C.Umashankar and developed by a team of Programmers under his supervision:
ERP for Taluk office administration where land records, land revenue and financial accounting, issue of various certificates, social welfare schemes such as National Old Age Pension scheme, Distress Relief Scheme and Accident Relief Scheme, Patta Pass Book scheme etc. (VB6/DB2) – design, validation and implementation (1999-2000)
ERP for District Rural Development Agency with linkage to its constituent offices. (VB6/DB2) – All centrally sponsored rural development schemes and State sponsored schemes – design, validation and implementation. (2000)
Design, validation and implementation of Block Automation Software with linkage to DRDA server. All Centrally sponsored rural development schemes, State sponsored schemes, Noon mean scheme, HRD admin and Panchayat monitoring Software (2000)
Regional Transport Office (RTO) – public interface software in Tiruvarur Collectorate (1999). This software successfully manages the receipt of application for all classes of licenses (learner and well as permanent driving licenses), registration of vehicles etc. PPP model.
ERP for Universities and Educational institutions. This includes Admission & administration Examination administration, Financial accounting, scholarship, library, hostel administration, campus medical dispensary administration, vehicle workshop administration, CRM etc. (J2EE/DB2/Postgresql for Linux Also VB6/DB2)
Core banking software for Agriculture co-operative banks. (VB6/DB2) – 1999-2000
ERP for Local body automation (Town Panchayat).This includes HRD, Financial accounting, purchase and stores, automated tax computation and online grievance handling. (VB6/DB2) – 1999-2000
HRD software for Government offices titled OFFICE MANAGER. (J2EE/Postgresql 8.0 for Linux; VB6/DB2) – 1999
ERP for Police Station administration. (VB6/DB2) – 2000
Design and implementation of Optical Mark Reader based computerization of Fair Price shops at Tiruvarur. (Successfully implemented in 55 Fair Price shops) – (VB6/DB2) – 1999-2000
Design and validation of Paperless office cum document management solution for Government and large private organizations. (J2EE/Postgresql 7.4 for Linux) – 2000, 2003.
Design for GIS based application for capturing Field Measurement Books (maps) of villages. (SICAD-OPEN – GIS software / DB2) – Implementation in Kodavasal Taluk of Tiruvarur district. 1997, 1999-2000.
Design and validation of software for building question bank and generating various types of questions for use by large scale recruitment agencies, colleges, schools etc. (VB6)
Design and validation of HR management solution with budget and financial accounting linkage for Orissa Government titled PROSPER (PROcess based PERsonnel automation System), using open source technology (linux/postgresql). – 2004
Design and validation of ERP for manufacturing and Service Industry under Postgresql / Linux / Tomcat environment.

Accomplishments so far:
     

The first e-district was conceived and implemented in Tiruvarur when I served as District Collector there during 1999-2001. The district had been rated as 20 years ahead of rest of India by a leading newspaper Times of India�.
     

Tiruvarur achieved over 85% paperless automation level in all its seven Taluk offices during my Collectorship and continues to maintain the lead over rest of India. Manually written registers in conventional Taluk services have been done away with. In their place system generated registers are being used. The transition commenced on May 16th 1999 when the National OAP (Old Age Pension) software was formally commissioned by the former Chief Minister of Tamilnadu Mr.M.Karunanidhi. The process reached full circle with the commissioning of annual audit of village accounts Jamabanthi software during February 2000.
     
The Taluk offices use an ERP specifically designed to cater to their requirement. The ERP titled, Taluk Automation Software has modules for HRD, Land record administration, National Old Age Pension scheme, Distress and Accident Relief Scheme administration, Agricultural Laborers’ insurance scheme, Community certificate issue, income and solvency certificate issue, birth and death registration and issue of certificates etc. These packages were developed with bilingual data entry interface. It also has bilingual front end toggling facility.
     

The district uses the award winning disaster recovery tool named SUPERCOP. The Government of India gave away merit citation award during November 2003 for the write up on the disaster recovery software used in Tiruvarur district.
     

In the rural development scenario, Tiruvarur piloted India in automating all the activities of the District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) which is the nodal agency for rural development at the district level. The DRDAs were inter linked to all the 10 Block offices spread over the district which are its direct executing agencies. The ERP titled Valarum Ooragam (Rural Development) has scheme (project) handling, Finance, HRD, technical estimate preparation and social welfare scheme automation modules. There is hardly any other matter that had been left out from the Rural Development ERP. This was accompanied by a comprehensive ERP for handling projects, financial accounting, noon meal scheme, HRD admin, social welfare schemes such as marriage assistance scheme, etc.

Founder Member and Moderator of egovINDIA Yahoogroup.
groups.yahoo.com/group/egovINDIA 
The eGovINDIA group had been formed by experts in the field of e-governance all over India and abroad to discuss, share and promote e-governance in India. As on date this is the most vigorous group in India which focuses fully on implementing true e-governance solutions in India.
Books published so far:
E-governance – the success story of Tiruvarur , the road covered and the road ahead –April 2001.
Articles/papers written/published:
The nuts and bolts of e-governance – Oct 2000.
Land Records Systems revisited: A technical paper on how to capture map details of lowest village land record maps – Field Measurement Book (FMB) using GIS. Paper published GIS@Development, October, 2003 issue.
http://www.gisdevelopment.net/magazine/gisdev/2003/october/landsr.shtml
e-Governance: The key players
Published in the e-gov Magazine:
http://csdms.in/egov/contribute.php?pg=1
Awards received:
Selected by THE WEEK, a leading English magazine in India as the Man of the Next Millennium (who has the potential to change the face of India during the next millennium) from among all bureaucrats in India. This selection came on the eve of their Millennium edition during the year 2000.
ESCAP – Chosen by a wing of the UN to represent Tiruvarur in an exhibition cum Seminar that was held in Bangkok to show case Tiruvarur e-governance successes.
Awarded a merit citation award by the Government of India for the paper written on the Disaster recovery tool used in Tiruvarur. The award was handed over on 13th November 2003 at Chennai by the Deputy Prime Minister of India.
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An IAS officer who established first e-district in the country, possibly the first in Asia. His e-governance made procedures simpler for the public and introduced transparency in the administration.
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Tiruvarur e-Governance Project
Transformation of the India’s first e-district by tech. savvy I.A.S. officer Mr. Umashankar.
  View  case file>>
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Process Automation based e-governance implementation in core government functioning in Tiruvarur district of TamilNadu. (India)
Mr. Umashankar, IAS, MD of ELCOT, Interview on OSS by Hindu Businessline dated 19th Feb 07
http://www.thehindu businessline. com/ew/2007/ 02/19/stories/ 2007021900130400 .htm
Can Tamil Nadu Live Without Microsoft?
http://egovernance.wordpress.com/2007/01/06/can-tamil-nadu-live-without-microsoft/
Tiruvarur e-Governance Project
Transformation of the India’s first e-district by tech. savvy I.A.S. officer Mr. Umashankar.
http://egovindia.wordpress.com/tag/process-automated-egov/
A whistle Blower’s tale:
Copy of Madras High Court’s judgement in the Cremation Sheds scam dated 27th Feb.1995. Mr. C. Umashankar, IAS was the Prosecution Witness Number One.
http://sugame.com/umashankar ( Details about Cremation Sheds Scam is here )

Posted in 2007 writeup by C. Umashankar IAS, C. Umashankar | Leave a comment