Nearly half a century since it came into existence, the government is now looking to revamp and restructure the National Informatics Centre (NIC) – its the technology arm – to help the organisation keep pace with the growing need for digital technologies in the country.
The government has issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for selection of a consultant for NIC’s organisational restructuring.
The NIC comes under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), and it was established in 1976 with the objective to provide technology-driven solutions to the Central and State Governments. It is mandated to design and develop IT Systems for the government and provide ICT Infrastructure to the government. It also works as an advisory unit for the government over the adoption of the latest technology and ensure cyber resilience.
“For NIC to play the envisioned role and fulfil its mandate of providing technology-driven solutions to the Central & State Governments, a complete revamp of organisation, operating model, and ecosystem integration is essential. There is a need for thorough re-assessment of the NIC with respect to its structure, size, quality of personnel, human resource policies, roles & responsibilities and other tech & non-tech enablers that help the organisation performs effectively to deliver targeted outcomes,” said the RFP document.
The document has invited proposals from “qualified management consulting firms” to help develop a comprehensive restructuring plan and implementation roadmap to ensure that NIC is well equipped to fulfil its strategic vision.
Noting that the vision of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to make India a $1 trillion digital economy by 2024-25 and boost the digital ecosystem in the country to support the transition of India into a developed nation, the document added that in order to “position NIC to fulfil the rising expectations of the citizens from digital government services and the requirement for a national-level digital ecosystem for 21st century Digital India, there is a need to suitably restructure NIC for achieving the desired objectives.”
On the issues facing NIC, the document noted that there is a significant gap in the existing workforce of NIC and the manpower required to support the ongoing and the planned initiatives. Additionally, the current skillset of the NIC officials need to be reviewed in lieu of the transformational change in the software technologies and the core skills required to design and build public digital systems in the current times.
The organisation employs nearly 4,000 people, with over 3,500 people in tech-related roles. About 25% of the present manpower is expected to retire in the coming few years.
“Currently, a lot of NIC services are offered for free to government entities and States and are funded by the Central budget. Most of the budget goes into the maintenance of existing network, infrastructure and the salary bill of the employees which leaves very little scope for upskilling, investing into new technologies such as Cloud etc,” the document said.
Further, the Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) with the Centre and the States were signed 40 years back and these need to be reassessed to clarify the accountabilities and mandates of NIC given the evolving demand and supply landscape in the present context.