By March, all 14 districts will be linked into the network of e-districts: Chandy

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Saturday declared Ernakulam as the State’s sixth e-district. Mr. Chandy said his government would make up for Kerala’s setback in the information technology sector in e-governance.

“While Kerala, with its record in education, could have taken the lead in harnessing IT, we were apprehensive about the merits of computerisation when the entire world embraced it and went far ahead,” said Mr. Chandy. He was making an oblique reference to reluctance on the part of the Left parties in welcoming computerisation in the 1990s.

“In IT, we couldn’t come on par with other States in India. Karnataka took the lead with IT exports to the tune of Rs.77, 000 crore, while with just about Rs.4,000 crore we couldn’t come any closer. It is time we made up for this loss by embarking on e-governance in a big way,” he said.

e-district network

By March, all the 14 districts would be linked into the network of e-districts, well ahead of the 30-month deadline set by the Centre for implementing the project, he added.

A total of 23 services (certificates) doled out by the district’s 124 village offices have been digitised in the first phase of the project primarily to save time and to obviate cumbersome procedures.

Certificates can also be obtained through 26 Akshaya Centres currently plugged into the network.

The project, brought into being with support from the State IT Mission, National Informatics Centre (NIC) and agencies like BSNL, seeks to render the process of issuing various certificates — caste, nativity, identity, relationship, succession, encumbrance, location, income, domicile, community, possession, non-attachment, inter-caste marriage, life, valuation, widow/widower, religious/caste conversion, destitute, family membership and non re-marriage — transparent and easy.

Further, the applicant is informed of the status of his/her application by way of SMS.

Awards of excellence

Minister of Revenue Adoor Prakash, who presided over at the function, told the press earlier in the day that the department had instituted awards of excellence for its staff, from District Collectors down to Village Officers, across the State on the basis of their performance in 2011-12.

Kannur district collector Ratan U. Kelkar won the maiden award for the best collector while Kottayam collector Mini Antony bagged a special award.

The awards, to be given away at Kottayam on Sunday, would honour a deputy collector, a Tehsildar and three village officers from each district.

A host of survey officials would also be commended on the occasion.

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