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October 8, 2013

e-District Project for Rural Bengal

e-District Project for Rural Bengal
West Bengal Government is planning to spend Rs 41 crore to roll out a the much awaited e-District project across 19 districts of the state. Each district has been allotted around Rs 2.14 crore for implementation of electronic citizen-centric services.
“West Bengal is ahead of many other states when it comes to e-governance; the Trinamool Congress government introduced online file tracking systems in all of its department“, said Minister of Information technology, Partha Chatterjee in a meeting organized by FICCI. He added, “besides e-Districts, by 2014 every district of the state would have an IT hub with incubation centers“.
The Right Turn
Previously, the government had launched the e-District pilot project in two districts – Bankura and Jalpaiguri in the state but the project gained real impetus when the new Government under Trinamool Congress took over. Immediately, District e-Governance society was formed in both the districts and Data digitization by Webel was completed.
The huge potential of e-governance was correctly assessed by the Trinamool Congress leadership; when the new government was formed in 2011, it received immediate attention of the Chief Minister. One of the most important steps taken by the Trinamool Congress government was the implementation of `Authorization of documents through Digital signatures`.
The primary objective of the e-District project is to provide support to the basic administrative unit i.e., “District Administration“ and improve the G2C experience. This would optimally leverage and utilize the three infrastructure pillars, the State Wide Area Network (SWAN) for connectivity, State Data Centre (SDC) for secure safe data storage and Common Service Centers (CSCs) as the primary front-end for service delivery.
e-District Application
Recently, under the initiative of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the West Bengal e-District Application was launched. A comprehensive and web enabled service portal, this application acts as an electronic gateway into the Government`s portfolio of services. It is an end-to-end integrated solution, which caters to the needs of various departments of the state government and provides various e-Governance services to the citizens. It provides an interface for citizens to avail various citizen-centric services like applying for licenses, pensions etc. through its e-District Application.
At present, the following services are available through the e-District Application –
1>              Certificates                          Income, Caste, Domicile
2>              Pension                               Old Age, Widow and Disability
3>              Ration Card                        New Ration Cards, Updating of Ration Cards, Issue of Duplicate Ration Cards
4>              Social Welfare (ICDS)       Supplementary Nutrition Program
5>              Industry Service                  District level Incentives, Credit Assistance under PMEGP
6>              RTI services                        Information Services, Grievance Redressal
7>              Revenue Court                   Case Hearing, Appellate Hearing
8>              Licenses                              Issuance and renewal of Fire arms, Issuance and renewal of Explosive Licenses

E-governance kiosks (Tathyamitra) are being set up in the districts to help citizens in applying for online services.  The extended version of e-Districts has been translated to “e-gramin haat“ which has been launched by the administration along with the professionals. This initiative has given a broader canvas of market to the rural producer groups and a little bit of support from government would give hype to this initiative of capturing the worldwide market.