Shri V.S. Achuthanandan MLA, Chairman, Administrative

Reforms Commission,

Shri Tom Jose, Chief Secretary, Kerala

Shri K.V. Eapen, Secretary, Department of Administrative

            Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG), Govt. of India,

Shri Ajay Kumar, Secretary, Department of Defence Production,

Govt. of India,

Shri K. Jayakumar, Director, Institute of Management in


Shri M. Sivasankar, Secretary, Electronics and Information

Technology Department,

Shri C.P. Nair, Member, Administrative Reforms Commission and

Former Chief Secretary,

Smt. Neela Gangadharan, Member, Administrative Reforms

Commission and Former Chief Secretary,

Dear Resource Persons, Participants,

Sahodaree Sahodaranmare,

Ellavarkkum Ente Namaskaram.

       I am very happy to inaugurate this National Seminar on
e–Governance for better governance
, organized by the Administrative Reforms Commission, Government of Kerala, in connection with its study on People Centric Services.

       Let me at the outset, compliment the Administrative Reforms Commissionled by Shri V.S. Achuthanandan, for collaborating with the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances, Government of Indiaand the Institute of Management in Governmentfor organizing this conference to provide a formal platform for exchange of reform related ideas and successful practices.

       I am informed that Administrative Reforms Commission’s study about People Centric services aims to recommend steps to improve the efficiency of the State Administrative system in 13 core areas of governance.

       As we all know, the concept of good governance and reforms in administration are as old as our history.  The fact that the ministry which handles Administrative Reforms has been placed directly under the overall charge of the Prime Minister and assisted by a Minister of State reveals the strategic importance of this function.

       The idea of good governance has been part and parcel of our development as a society, right from the days of ancient Kings and emperors. Our epics and mythologies have considered happiness of the people as the true happiness of a ruler.  At the dawn of Independence, our first Prime Minister Pt. Jawaharlal Nehruhad emphasized the welfare of the people as the prime goal of Indian democracy.

       During the last seven decades of Independence, we have seen different styles of governance both at the Centre and in various States. The political ideologies that governed the policies of each government may have been different, but all of them have worked with the goal of ensuring people's welfare and the nation's progress.

       Today, we live in an era driven by technology. Changes in technology are happening at the speed of thought and our scientists and technocrats are now touching the Moon and Mars and during us with the idea of Space Tourism. At the same time, down here on our soil, the realities are so harsh that people have to resort to extreme steps to get some services they deserve as citizens. It is to eliminate such situations that the very idea of e-Governance was introduced.

       As we all know, people approach the administrative system for various reasons. The majority of the people approach offices for benefits which would make their day to day lives easier.    The administrative machinery exists to translate the policies of the Government into action in such a way that the people enjoy the welfare measures. The job of each office would be to process people's demands in tune with the rules and to ensure that benefits reach the truly deserving people. But, the process of service delivery often involves many delays and hurdles. It is here that e-Governance gives people some hopes about transparency and speed of service delivery.

       We are all aware of the State government's efforts to implement an Information Technology policy by working on sub policies related to e-Governance, Industry Facilitation, Digital inclusion, digital Procurement, Digital capacity building, Cyber security etc. We have made great progress in Aadhaar enrolment and in spreading Akshaya Centres in almost all villages. And, Kerala enjoys a prime position in terms of connectivity and mobile penetration. We had also established ourselves as a fully digitally literate State, with the goal of becoming fully digitally empowered.


       This well set technology framework has enabled us to provide many services including fee payments, Ration cards, and Encumbrance certificates online.  Almost all departments have call centres for giving information. The only limitation is that we are yet to fully automate the processes involved in online delivery.  This means that to get a certificate online, one has to follow the same old manual system. This has to be addressed immediately.

       E-Governance also brings in an air of suspicion especially in Revenue and land record matters. I admit that there are   properties which are plagued by legacy issues, but if we look at our urban and semi urban areas, every plot of land is marked by walls or fencing. I feel we should start bringing such undisputed land records into the e-Governance platform so that the rest would soon follow. The work will be challenging, but I am certain that our society will benefit from its implementation.

       A French Statesman once said that War is too important to be left to Generals alone. I would say that this applies to
e-Governance also, since it is a matter to be decided and finalized by Legislatures, Judiciary, the Executive and the civil society. Privacy and Security issues are often raised against
e-Governance measures, which handle massive date bases. It goes without saying that we need very stringent measures to protect people's privacy and to ensure cyber security. Who knows, tomorrow's wars may be fought not with missiles, but with bugs and viruses designed to bring a society to standstill. The increasing demand to ensure Aadhaar linking for social media accounts so as to avoid disinformation campaigns is also to be seen in such a perspective.

       Therefore, along with the full implementation of
e-Governance initiatives for people centric services, I would suggest frequent discussions on the ways of improving the process, technology and the security of the initiative.  I say this in the light of a recent newspaper report on the arrest of an employee who manipulated our salary software and take away lakhs of Rupees. Such reports are a warning to be careful.
I hope this Seminar would consider such threats and put forward innovative ideas to take our e-Governance attempts to perfection.


       I am informed that the Administrative Reforms Commissionis now engaged in studies on sustainable development governance issues, Personnel Reforms, Secretariat reforms, Grievance redressal mechanisms etc.  Our reforms should also include provisions to make the right choices of people to hold high offices in society. Along with procedures, we must also consider issues of propriety and suitability in terms of such nominations. Propriety and suitability are not just a matter of opinion, they point to the credibility and accountability of a system.  After all, the basic lesson in governance is that an office means responsibility and not authority.

       Let me conclude with the hope that our e-Governance initiatives will be strengthened in the years to come so that Kerala would enjoy the status of a truly modernized society where the fruits of e-Governance would benefit even the weakest sections.

       I compliment the organizers for conducting this function in a befitting manner.

Ellavarkkum Ente Aashamsakal

Nanni / Jai Hind