Need: A CTO to implement Digital India initiative

|July 3, 2015 0
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MUMBAI, INDIA: A good CTO is essential to make the government function as unified machinery that operates with consistent standards of efficiency, transparency and responsiveness.

That is key to realizing maximum governance, minimum government, writes Rajeev Chandrasekhar, MP, Rajya Sabha, in an article in the Economic Times.

The focus of the CTO should be to design an architecture that achieves three broad goals:
1) Enable easy, transparent access for citizens and business to and from government,
2) Enable government departments to operate transparently and efficiently,
3) Connect various departments to ensure that government and policymakers operate in a seamless, transparent, responsive and data-driven manner.

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For this, the CTO should re-wire the government’s existing technology investment, connectivity and access mechanisms. The CTO can then help embed layers of applications, including security measures into the ecosystem that ensures that the government applies the same standards of responsiveness, transparency and access regardless of department, hierarchy or region. Creating such a standardized architecture will also save thousands of crores in procurement and administering efficiencies, he remarks.

Mature democracies such as the US have beaten India in recognizing the need for a chief technology officer (CTO). President Barack Obama made this appointment a center-point of his 2007 electoral campaign. Obama conceptualized the role of the CTO to be someone that would focus on transparency and ensure that each arm of the federal government makes its records open and accessible as the e-Government Act requires.

India needs to take a similar approach and use this as a precedent while rolling out Digital India. Digital India promises to transform India into a digitally-empowered society and knowledge economy. A CTO in the Prime Minister Narendra Modi government’s team can help the latter achieve its stated goals of minimum government, maximum governance, Chandrasekhar notes.

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