Focus on Technology Keeps Gujarat in Star Category
Technology has been the mainstay of Gujarat’s socio-economic development in the recent years. The State has used technology effectively to make the government’s interface with different stakeholders better. It has helped streamline the business process. As a result, Gujarat has emerged among the most favourite destinations for investments and business. Gujarat is the first state to provide Internet connectivity to all Gram Panchayats.
Technology has been the mainstay of Gujarat’s socio-economic development in the recent years. The State has used technology effectively to make the government’s interface with different stakeholders better. It has helped streamline the business process. As a result, Gujarat has emerged among the most favourite destinations for investments and business. Gujarat is the first state to provide Internet connectivity to all Gram Panchayats. All the 13,685 Gram Panchayats were provided computers in 2008-09 and all are connected with Internet. Moreover 7,400 Gram Panchayats have been provided Direct Digital Reception System, KU Band, Dish Antena and television facilities. Citizen can get e-services like birth and death certificate, character certificate, income certificate, electricity bill collection from all Panchayats through e-GRAM software.
Gujarat is a Star performer in this year’s SKOCH Governance study. The State won 21 SKOCH Orders-of-Merit and 4 SKOCH Governance Awards—1 Platinum and 3 Gold.
Gujarat has registered an impressive economic expansion in the past one-and-a-half decade. Gujarat’s economy expanded by an average of about 10 per cent a year between 2003-04 and 2012-13, much higher than the national average of about 7.9 per cent. However, the State’s GSDP growth has slowed in the past few years. According to the Ministry of Planning data, Gujarat GSDP growth slowed to 6.7 per cent in 2015-16. It was recorded at 7.7 per cent in 2014-15; 8.3 per cent in 2013-14 and 10.8 per cent in 2012-13. So, there is a gradual decline in the GSDP growth of the State. Gujarat GSDP was pegged at `9,84,971 crore in 2015-16, according to the advance estimates. Accounting for about 5 per cent of the country’s population and 6 per cent of land area, the State has metamorphosed into one of the fastest growing state economies, overcoming its limitations in resource base and its climatic constraints. In the year 2012-13, the State contributed more than 7 per cent to India’s GDP, 12.8 per cent to manufactured and 6.4 per cent to primary sector output of the country, according to Socio-Economic Review, Gujarat State, 2014-15.
Gujarat has used modern technology extensively to make doing business in the State easier. With the objective of making doing business easier for MSMEs, Industries Commissionerate, Gujarat has introduced an online module for assistance in terms of service delivery, awareness, cost-benefit analysis, feedback, monitoring, e-payment and communication. Commercial Tax Department has introduced Value Added Tax Information System (VATIS) with an objective to facilitate trade and commerce by minimising human interface. The entire VAT system has been computerised under the scheme. Pain areas for the taxpayers like obtaining new registration, amendments to it, issuing CST forms and way bills and scrutiny, cross check of Input Tax Credit (ITC Profile) and refunds, have been taken up for process re-engineering and eservices ahead of assessment, recovery, enforcement, check post and appeals module. At the same time, programme is so designed that dealers are neither called frequently to the office for verification nor inspector visits place of business of the dealer.
Home Department has initiated a project called eGujCop that envisions creating a dynamic world-class model police organisation by providing innovative IT solution that would not only facilitate law enforcement for community safety but would also aim to build centralised crime & criminal information repository and deliver quality citizen centric services in a proactive and efficient manner. The eGujCop system provides an integrated system spanning the areas of detection, investigation and prevention of crime, a centralised crime and criminal repository and reports, which enable tactical to strategic decision-making.
To assist grassroot level planning and decision-making, Directorate of Economics and Statistics, General Administrative Department (Planning), has prepared Village Profile and Taluka Planning Atlas. This Geographical Information System (GIS) based planning atlas captures holistic data covering 304 indicators of 11 sectors, i.e., demography, education, health, electrification, animal husbandry, irrigation, land use, roads & transportation, communication, water supply & sanitation and community development.
Surat Municipal Corporation has introduced a number of projects to make the city cleaner and ensure good quality water supply. It has become the first corporation in Gujarat as well as western region to achieve Open Defecation Free status. The Corporation has introduced Rooftop Grid Connected Solar Power Plants for municipal services. Vadodara Municipal Corporation has launched Public Awareness Programme (IEC Activities) for making the city open defecation free and ensure better solid waste management.
Gujarat has used technology effectively to improve governance and make doing business easier. The State under the leadership of Narendra Modi, who was Chief Minister of Gujarat from September 2001 to May 2014, took several pioneering steps to attract investments and make the citizen-government interface better. Modi, who is now the Prime Minister of India, has often said that his governance model is based on the philosophy of “minimum government, maximum governance.” Modi’s successor in Gujarat taking forward the mantra of leaner government with focus on technology. Gujarat has been a leader in setting up of core ICT infrastructure like State Wide Area Network (SWAN), State Data Centre (SDC) and e-GRAM, Common Service Centres (CSCs) as also in the use of advanced technologies like GIS and mobility solutions.
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