Governments across the world are focused on enabling a move towards a more inclusive governance framework with a focus on social equity and development parameters. Increasingly, participative decision-making, with due systems of transparency and accountability, is being seen as the new shift in the governance architecture which would involve strong and robust public involvement in the government process. At the heart of this move towards more participative governance is the idea of democratizing access to information to citizens to ensure improved service delivery and rights’ awareness.
To realise this, there is a need for creating a framework for a robust Public Information Infrastructure (PII) in the country with adequate standards and transparency to improve governance and public service delivery and to make information available to citizens in the best possible way.
Currently, the information infrastructures in the country are marked by the lack of a national approach in planning, implementation and monitoring - especially for central programmes, due to geographical barriers and state boundaries. They are also dependent on individual initiatives and local priorities for progress at state level. Further, there is lack of integration due to the absence of common technology, standards and processes. This leads to wasteful duplication of efforts on software, development, applications, infrastructures etc. leading to high costs. These duplications and multiple delivery systems, apart from leading to high costs for the exchequer, also create a cumbersome governance experience for the citizen, and in many cases entitlements of Government public delivery programmes don’t adequately reach the intended beneficiaries.
In this context PII shall aim to democratise information, improve governance and empower citizens and communities by:
- Creating access, connectivity, systems, processes, programmes, structures, standards and platform
- Integrating geographical (Centre/State) and sectoral boundaries and applications into a single, secure National Information Space.
PII will consist of:
The network connectivity infrastructure under PII will consist of two major components:
- A high speed multi-Gigabit network backbone being set up under National Knowledge Network (NKN) with PoPs up to district level;
- High speed broadband connectivity at all the Village Panchayats (around 250,000) across the country. Broadband connectivity at every Panchayat in the country will lead to the creation of the right eco-system at the local level in terms of applications, hardware and training to empower grassroots governance, enhance service delivery and unleash innovation opportunities.
- NKN has already been approved with an outlay of Rs. 5990 crores and is being implemented by NIC under DIT. NKN will provide network connectivity to around 1500 institutions across the country with gigabit capabilities consolidating multiple networks in the country and providing new virtual network facilities. NKN shall also create a foundation for hosting and providing access to Government applications.
- An implementation plan for creating a National Optical Fiber Network (NOFN) to provide Broadband connectivity to 250,000 Panchayats in the country is being worked upon under the aegis of the Department of Telecommunications. A High Level Committee has been set up to oversee, monitor and coordinate all activities related to the creation and implementation of the NOFN which is co-chaired by Mr Sam Pitroda, Adviser to the PM on Public Information Infrastructure and Innovations and Mr Nandan Nilekani, Chairman, UIDAI.
PII will leverage existing programmes such as Aadhaar or Unique Identity Programme to create a foundation for more transparent and efficient public service delivery. By providing a clear proof of identity, Aadhaar will empower poor and underprivileged residents in accessing services such as the formal banking system and give them the opportunity to easily avail various other services provided by the Government and the private sector. Further, PII will also be critical for the effective and timely implementation of the Aadhaar programme as it will provide the network backbone for back-end support needed for real time authentication of identity.
Geographical Information Systems(GIS) applications are critical to many aspects of governance and nation building and can power more open-government methods and, thereby, leverage economic and social development more effectively; help in reaching the gains of development to the intended beneficiaries; and also bring in accountability and responsibility of public and national development activities. A National GIS system will also be a core platform of the PII framework which will enable information sharing and collaboration among Government departments and between government and citizens. This national GIS architecture will map the country’s assets on the ground and improve policy planning and monitoring by encouraging sharing of information on a single platform.
Consultations with stakeholder for a vision document on GIS is worked upon by an expert group.
PII will move towards consolidation of Data centers to enable standardized development/ deployment platform with following key aspects
- Create Disaster recovery and Business continuity plan
- Ensure Co-hosting / Co-Location for hosting of Application/ Data
- Create Managed Data Center facilities
- Provide Information repository
- Create Data mining capabilities
5. Cyber Security
- Distributed security
- Self healing
- Graceful loss
- Graceful recovery
6. Applications and Service Delivery Platform
PII will manage and monitor creation of applications and their integration into a uniform Service Delivery Platform (SDP). An integrated service delivery platform shall be the people interface of Public Information Infrastructure. The applications and software which are used by the sectoral ministries and departments at the state and centre shall be collated into an integrated platform which can be used by citizens to meet information and service needs, especially at the Panchayat level. The essence of integrated service delivery platform shall be to institutionalize electronic service delivery at the last mile and it will be technology, device and vendor agnostic. The applications and services over the platform shall be scalable, sustainable, flexible, and secure.
Applications and the Service Delivery Platform shall
- Ensure real time information flow across government sectors and services,
- Act as a bridge between the sectoral schemes, payment agencies and UID database
- Address planning and monitoring needs of sectoral programmes and schemes run by Government
- Be a knowledge and information dissemination mechanism making villages as empowered centers for democratic governance.