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National Conference on e-governance adopts declaration

A Draft Correspondent | Mumbai

The two-day National Conference on e-Governance 2020 concluded on 8 February 2020 in Mumbai. The conference witnessed rich deliberations on issues, opportunities and challenges in transforming governance using digital technologies. Weaved under the broad theme of India 2020: Digital Transformation, the conference had in-depth discussions on six sub-themes:

- Digital Platforms and Digital Economy
- Improving Service Delivery
- Building Digital Trust - Transparency, Security and Privacy
- Digital Payments and Fintech
- National e-Governance Service Delivery Assessment (NeSDA) / Digital Service Standard (DSS)
- Skilling and Capacity Building

The Mumbai Declaration on e-Governance was unanimously adopted at the valedictory session. The Declaration seeks to take forward the e-Governance roadmap outlined in the Shillong Declaration of 2019. Improving public service delivery using digital platforms, especially in health, agriculture, education and land; propagation of successful e-governance solutions using emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and Machine Learning; encouraging steps to improve India’s rank in the United Nation’s E-Governance Development Index; supporting greater trust-building in digital services; developing India as a global cloud hub; fostering implementation of e-office and reforming public procurement system are some of the objectives of the Declaration.

In his keynote address at the valedictory session, the Union Minister of State for the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions Dr. Jitendra Singh said e-Governance is the key to the future of India's developmental journey in the 21st century whether it is e-NAM or Ayushman Bharat. The Minister told the delegates the litmus test for success of their projects is whether the initiatives taken by them serve the last person on the street or not. He said 'we need to fulfill the aspirations of the youth for which leveraging digital technologies is a must'.

Dr. Singh expressed satisfaction at the increased participation of regions across the country in conferences such as NCeG after the Government decided to hold such conferences in states as well. He said such conferences also help highlight the priority areas of the government such as Jal Shakti.

The Minister added the Government has walked its talk of being a government which is dedicated to the welfare of the poor by using technology to help reach the benefits of government schemes to them and advance their welfare. He reminded the delegates such conferences are in line with the Government's philosophy of Minimum Government, Maximum Governance.

Responding to the request of Maharashtra IT Minister, the Minister also announced that Government of India will extend all necessary support to the state government in holding the India Fintech Festival.

Addressing the concluding session, the Maharashtra Minister for Information Technology Satej Patil stated Maharashtra is the first state to have launched a fintech policy. He said the government has decided to develop Mumbai as the fintech capital of India. He also announced the state government would be holding the India Fintech Festival in Mumbai in March 2020.

In recognition of excellence in implementation of e-Governance initiatives, the National e-Governance Awards 2020 were presented at the valedictory session. National Health Authority, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare received Gold for Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana under the category 'Excellence in Government Process Re-engineering for Digital Transformation'. Antyodaya Saral Haryana of Department of IT, Haryana received the Gold for 'Excellence in Providing Citizen-centric Delivery'. IIT Roorkee’s Satellite-based Agriculture Information System: An Efficient Application of ICT received the Gold Award for 'Outstanding Research on Citizen-Centric Services'. A project by start-up firm Satyukt Analytics Private Limited, to provide farm-scale data from multi-satellite bagged the Gold for Innovative Use of ICT in e-Governance Solutions by Start-ups. T-Chits of Registration & Stamps Department, Government of Telangana was honoured with the Gold Award for Excellence in Adopting Emerging Technologies.

For the first time, the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances conducted an online hackathon seeking innovative solutions for redressal of citizen's grievances. Four lakh data points were made available to the contestants for developing the solutions. The awards for the Hackathon were also presented at the concluding session of the conference.

In his address during the valedictory session DARPG Secretary Dr. Kshatrapati Shivaji said the 23rd NCeG has been one of the best and most comprehensive conferences organized till now. He acknowledged the brilliant standard of discussions and presentations made by the participating delegates. He expressed confidence that 23rd NCeG 2020 has provided all participating State and UT Government teams with important takeaways that may be implemented in respective States/UTs.
Chief Secretary Government of Maharashtra Ajoy Mehta complimented the enthusiasm and dedication of the organising team and wished all the delegates bring the learning from this conference in actual practice. He said Sandbox and Blockchain policy is a flagship policy in the area of emerging technology which can be adopted by all the States/UTs and the Central Government.

An exhibition including a Wall of Fame was also organised during the event to showcase India’s achievements in the field of e-Governance.