It details inter alia recommendations for various IT-intensive projects of the Finance Ministry
Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) Chairman Nandan Nilekani, who was handpicked by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to head the Technology Advisory Group for Unique Projects (TAGUP), on Friday submitted the seven-member group's report to Mr. Mukherjee, detailing, among other things, specific recommendations for various IT-intensive projects pertaining to the Finance Ministry.
Mr. Mukherjee said the report was submitted “at the right time” and would help in various IT projects such as Tax Information Network (TIN), New Pension Scheme (NPS), National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA), Expenditure Information Network (EIN) and Goods and Service Tax (GST). He lauded the report as a result of good teamwork.
Among the recommendations, the TAGUP has suggested that for complex IT-intensive projects, National Information Utilities (NIUs) working in the spirit of partnership with the government be put in place to handle all aspects of IT systems.
The report noted that while strategic control is to be retained by the government at all times, NIUs should be set up as private companies with a public purpose. They should be financially independent and empowered to take quick and efficient business decisions pertaining to attracting and retaining talent, procurement, rapid response to business exigencies and adopting new technologies, among other things.
On challenges to human resource, it said strong support from the top leadership within the government, dedicated team at the level of project implementation, and ownership and commitment at various operational levels were necessary concomitants of success of any project.
“The group recommends that every project should have a dedicated Mission Leader within the government with a Mission Execution Team. The team should be manned by personnel, who possess a diverse set of skills, including intimate familiarity with the government processes, specialisation in verticals such as technology, outreach, law, as well as the ability to manage a large decentralised organisation, among others. The group also recommends certain monetary and non-monetary incentives for the team,” it said.
The report also addresses the challenges faced by large complex IT projects in the government, and then applies this framework to the evaluation of GST, TIN, EIN, NTMA and NPS at hand.
The group was asked to address and make recommendations on a host of issues — human resource, including modification in government rules, procedures, etc; appropriate placement of tasks and allocation of responsibilities within the government; contracting, commercial terms and charges, including procedures for competitive bidding, pricing models and suggestions on user charges; road map from start-up to going concern for each of these projects, which would also focus on legal/regulatory change, if any; technology architecture and ways for co-ordination among the Centre, States and local governments; accountability and self-corrective mechanisms; and protection of individual's right to privacy with focus on safeguards in the IT systems to protect legal and constitutional rights, etc.