Thiruvananthapuram

Kerala to be first digital State

Kerala is expected to be declared the first digital State in the country shortly, on the strength of its digital infrastructure and e-governance initiatives. Discussions are on to get Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make the declaration, Chief Secretary Jiji Thomson said here on Thursday.

Delivering the inaugural address at the Knowledge Sharing Summit organised by the Kerala State IT Mission and Computer Society of India, he said the State had succeeded in leveraging ICT for economic growth and making government services affordable and accessible for the masses. Bridging the digital divide is our priority, he said.

Mr. Thomson highlighted several initiatives under the Digital Kerala programme. “While the action online monitoring system has helped clear roadblocks to project implementation, several e-governance initiatives have ensured better service delivery and transparency. As many as 3,378 government offices including district and block headquarters and taluk offices are networked and more than 40 government departments and PSUs are using the e-procurement system.”

Digital society

Principal Secretary, Information Technology, P.H. Kurian, who presided over the function, said the high mobile and Internet penetration and the increasing use of smart phones had hastened the evolution of Kerala as a digital society.

In his keynote address, Director, Kerala State IT Mission, K. Mohammed Y.Safirulla said projects like the Kerala State Data Centre, Kerala State Wide Area Network, National Optical Fibre Network, and National Knowledge Network had provided the foundations of digital infrastructure while digital literacy programmes, e-governance initiatives, and e-services helped the State become digitally inclusive.”

Next level

He said the Bharat Net programme to provide affordable broadband connectivity, the m-Governance project using a single mobile application to access a variety of government services, establishment of Wi-Fi hotspots in government schools, the drive to make government offices paperless and convert Akshaya centres into e-banking kiosks would take Kerala to the next level of digital empowerment.

In his address, CSI national president Bipin V. Mehta stressed the need to revamp and restructure the National Informatics Centre and the union Department of Electronics and IT to equip them for the Digital India programme. Surendra Kapoor, chairman, Special Interest Group, e-Governance, CSI, also spoke.

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Printable version | Sep 24, 2020 12:05:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/kerala-to-be-first-digital-state/article7973745.ece

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