E-Governance is the application of Information-Technology in the processes of Government functioning to ensure the highest standard of services to the citizens by providing instant access to selected Government information, and interfaces for communicating with the various government functionaries, wherever and whenever they need it. The Government of Himachal Pradesh is committed to provide the general public, especially living in distant rural areas of the State, with the benefits of Using Information Technology (IT) in Governance at their doorstep.
Since the Internet has proved its potential as a powerful and effective means of disseminating information, it is here that the importance of having good government web-enabled interfaces comes into light. The Web-enabled Government-Citizen Interface, named LokMitra is one such step of the Himachal Pradesh State Government in that direction, in order to make people aware of government policies and programmes, and also providing an interface to interact with various government functionaries and solicit their active and direct contribution in the process of governance. The National Informatics Centre, Himachal Pradesh State Unit, also identified as the E-Governance Wing by the State Government in its Information Technology Policy-2001, is designing & developing necessary software and implementing the project.
The Common Service Centre (CSC) scheme popularly known as the Lokmitra Kendra project in Himachal Pradesh aims to establish 3366 e-Governance centers at the Panchayat level in the state. The scheme, as approved by the Government of India, envisions CSCs as the front-end delivery points for Government, private and social sector services to rural citizens of India, in an integrated manner.
The centers are being established under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode thus leveraging the support of various stakeholders such as State Governments, local bodies, opinion makers, and agencies/ institutions involved or having interest, commercial or otherwise, in rural areas/ markets.
The project envisages various direct/indirect social as well as economic benefits to the rural masses:
- Better dissemination of government information at the remotest corner, resulting in better awareness among rural masses about various Govt. Schemes and bringing in transparency.
- Saving in time & cost of people visiting District headquarters time and again for getting information, lodging complaints & inquiring their status etc.
- Reduction in response time by the concerned departments and increase in their accountability to people of the State.
- Virtual Extension Counters for the Government, by way of using these Centres for getting the departmental Data entered and transmitted from time to time.
- A platform for the people to interact with each other on areas of mutual interests e.g. matrimonial, sales/purchases etc.
- Additional income opportunities from Citizen Information Centres by using them for General Training, Word Processing and Data Entry jobs, and extending Internet Access.
- Employment generation by opening up of Citizen Information Centres throughout the State in the private sector.
- Facilitating the growth of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) throughout the State.
Presently 3701 Lokmitra Kendras have been established in Himachal Pradesh for providing G2C services such as Electricity Bill Collections, Jamabandi, and several services.
- Employment exchange services (Job Portal)
- Land Records (Unauthenticated copy)
- Electoral services
- Public Grievances (Lokvani / Lokmitra mode)
- HRTC / Railway Booking
- Registration for pension schemes
- Availability of all Government forms
- All information related services hosted through web eg. Blood donors, Hotel directory, RTI
- E-Kalyan scheme (for disbursal of pensions once banking services penetrate down to the level of Panchayats)
- Issuance of Himachali Domicile, Caste and Agriculturist Certificates based on web based data
- Examinations results
- AGRISNET Portal services
- Complaint / FIR registration with Police
Following two private partners have been selected as Service Centre Agencies (SCA) for implementing the scheme:
1. M/s Zoom Developers Pvt. Ltd. for Kangra Division covering Kangra, Una and Chamba Districts
2. Consortium of M/s Terasoft Ltd. and M/s GNG trading Pvt. Ltd. for Shimla and Mandi Divisions
State Designated Agency
SITEG (Society for Promotion of Information Technology and e-governance) under the aegis of DIT has been appointed the nodal agency for executing the project in a PPP model. It will facilitate the e-readiness of the state. Facilitate integration of Government services into the CSC scheme. The SDA will also facilitate training, capacity building, and awareness about the scheme.