`Community of developers can only boost e-governance'

CHENNAI NOV. 13. Electronic governance or e-governance is the latest buzzword for governments trying to eradicate poverty, address corruption in their bureaucracies and make themselves more responsive to their citizens. So far, only a handful of state governments have tried to go on-line with any seriousness. The southern states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala pioneered the move to digitise the vast and complex workings of government.

Addressing a two-day national conference on e-governance, which began here today, most speakers wanted the infrastructure to be in place before making the government totally digital. The Chief Financial Officer of Tata Consultancy Services, S. Mahalingam, said to obtain e-governance there should be community of developers rather than centralised approach. He said e-governance should be used as a vehicle to create knowledge society, which would lead to improvement of common man.

E-governance was all about integration and interaction, said Keith Budge, Regional Managing Director, Oracle (South Asia).

If the government had to achieve this, it would have to follow six steps such as leveraging of Internet, commoditise basic functions, sharing of common data model, integration of applications, scalability of basic engineering and enabling business intelligence.

Bhaskar Pramanik, Managing Director, Sun Microsystems (India), said there were multiple challenges ahead for achieving total e-governance. Today's e-governance had a simple front-end and complex back-end. Data centres were becoming more complex. And, a major question under e-governance was fraud prevention and access to services, he added.

On e-governance and bank, R. N. Ramanathan, Chief General Manger (IT), State Bank of India, said banks got into the service chain since payment was involved. SBI had been practising three approaches such as people related, technology related and process-flow related.