How Nagaland benefited from e-governance model of distant Estonia

New Delhi/Kohima, Dec 15 (IANS) The distant Baltic nation of Estonia was among the first in the world to put the governments’s entire citizen-centric services online. Now, the northeastern state of Nagaland is attempting to replicate this to not only improve governance but also to emerge as the IT hub of the region.

“The e-Governance initiatives taken by the Department of Information Technology and Communication (IT&C) of Nagaland is a forward-looking strategy and the recent award to Nagaland as a top performer in e-governance by the Computer Society of India is a great move towards the state’s objectives,” said Liia Hanni, Adviser to the Estonian President and part of the country’s delegation to the just-concluded second e-Naga Summit in state capital Kohima.

Hailing Nagaland for being a top performer on e-governance in the northeastern region, Estonia, during the summit, also extended technical support to help the state better its e-Governance initiatives.

Estonian delegates explained the many areas in which government officials, apart from the people, can be trained to further promote e-Governance — the only way to ease existing, hassling and cumbersome procedures and simultaneously usher in transparency and accountability.

Among the benefits will be e-tendering, better tracking of the increasing cyber crimes in the state, better monitoring of revenue collection and, most importantly, the elimination of touts that exist for each and every government procedure.

Thus, the perception of Nagaland — till now known for its decades-long separatist conflict — will not only change for the outside world but will also project the state as a potential IT hub by inviting MNCs to set up operations there.

(For the record, Estonia’s e-governance systems were put in place during the Soviet era and refined when the country joined the European Union after the collapse of the USSR.)

According to official records, Nagaland is the only state in the entire country to have portals of all the departments of the state government.

E-Governance “also ensures cost-effective public service delivery to the citizens. Nagaland is witnessing a paradigm shift in governance and all other spheres of life and information technology and electronic media is enabling knowledge-led economy,” said Paiwang Konyak, Nagaland’s Minister for IT&C, adding that the initiative is playing a key role in transforming Nagaland into a modern state by improving transparency and efficiency.

At the e-Naga summit, a brainchild of Nagaland’s Telecom Secretary and Commissioner K.D. Vizo, every year experts from various areas like engineers, legislators, police and media meet to encourage the spirit of innovation and use of technology for positive change in society, with the target audience comprising students, entrepreneurs, NGOs, government departments and industry professionals.

Vizo is also of the opinion that to improve internet connectivity in Nagaland, the government can opt for a High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS) — that can be operated from an unmanned airship or a balloon for wider internet connectivity at a cheaper cost than incurred through other means.

Surely, Nagaland is the state to watch!

(Rupesh Dutta can be contacted at Rupesh.d@ians.in <mailto:Rupesh.d@ians.in>)

–IANS

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