Benefits of Triple P
Sandeep Raina, Senior Vice President, Cisco India & SAARC
Although rapid socio-economic and technological changes in the recent past have contributed to sustainable development across the globe, governments across the world are under pressure to deliver services to citizens more effectively and efficiently. In countries like India, which are experiencing rapid economic growth, delivering government services at citizens' doorsteps is a critical milestone for the government. Technology is the backbone of this endeavor and IT systems are a critical foundation for the government to become more connected to citizens, businesses and partner agencies.
However, governments alone do not have all the resources to provide the required infrastructure and facilities to their citizens. For the common man in distant villages to benefit from the access to various citizen services, huge investments are required, that are not possible for the government to deploy without private participation. Solutions enabled by partnerships between government agencies and private companies i.e. public-private partnerships (PPPs) are key to the success of any e-Governance implementation.
PPPs combine public sector organizations' knowledge of local communities with private companies' technical expertise and implementation experience. Private participation brings efficiency along with funding and ensures that e- Governance spreads to the nook and corners of the country. Through partnerships with the private sector, the government can bring in its resources and provide the much needed sustainability and scalability. The private sector brings expertise and professionalism to help execute government projects.
Given the private sector's experience in implementing technology, it can help modernize infrastructure and become a critical factor for rolling out projects quickly and successfully. Through PPPs the government gets access to ideas and technology, while the private sector tastes the benefits of the scale that only governments can provide. This model has worked successfully in a number of countries globally as well as in India - at the local, state and national levels.
PPPs in India
Some of the projects enabled by PPPs in India include the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) whereby the Government hopes to extend affordable citizen services to all Indians, including those in distant villages. Through the NeGP, the government is making significant investments for automation of land records, taxes, driving licenses and passports. Private involvement in the NeGP includes creating infrastructure, delivering services in the form of mission mode projects and creating awareness.
Other similar endeavors taken up by the Indian Government include the State Wide Area Network (SWAN), State Data Center (SDC), Unique ID (UID), Common Service Centres (CSCs) programme, National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGA), treasury management initiatives, and Unreserved Ticketing Solution (UTS) for the Indian Railways. Also included is the e-Forms application project which aims to create an integrated information infrastructure to enhance the utility and reach of citizen services through CSCs, by leveraging the common infrastructure of SWAN and SDC at the State level.
CSCs have the potential to offer web-enabled e-Governance services to rural areas and provide high-quality, cost-effective video, voice, data content and services in areas such as education, health and entertainment. Similar PPP models can be devised to provide rural farming communities with vital e-content on various agriculture and agro-business related issues. Farmers can get weather guidance, updates about the market (prices, quality etc.), and relevant government schemes, sell their produce directly to the distributors and get a better realization for it.
Given the above, private partnerships can help the government become better connected with its people, create new economic opportunities and support development of local communities. Since e-Governance will occupy centre stage in India in the near future, such partnerships can spur innovation and create a society where everyone can lead long, healthy, productive, and fulfilling lives through the effective use of technology.