‘Connectivity in NE is a great concern’

Correspondent Shillong, Aug 8 | Publish Date: 8/8/2019 12:44:24 PM IST
Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Thursday said connectivity in the North East is a matter of great concern and a core issue
“The connectivity issue is something that we really need to look at and no matter how many platforms we come out with, if the connectivity is not there, it will defeat half the purpose of all the exercise that we do,” he told delegates at the 22nd National Conference on e-Governance here.
Sangma said that the other big challenge that Northeastern states  as a whole faces in respect to connectivity is the proximity to the international borders which have poor connectivity as service operators are discouraged to have towers at the border areas due to policy provisions within 1-2 kilometres of international borders.“This is a big hindrance as well as it is a national security issue as people on the borders often use Bangladesh or Myanmar or perhaps even Chinese mobile network to stay connected with the other parts of the country,” he said.
The Chief Minister said that another important aspect of e-Governance is the data that the government collects to make quality decisions for better services to the people.
“We as a State Government are really looking forward in that line and the data driven governance when it is actually implemented can have an immense impact at the grassroots level,” he added.
He cited the example of the successful model of how technology is being used in Meghalaya in creating a database of expectant mothers, details of health infrastructure available and using that effectively to increase institutional deliveries in the State, without incurring extra cost.
“This has gone a long way in improving the figures of maternal mortality rates in the pilot district and this model will be replicated in the other districts within the current financial year,” Sangma said
Union Minister for Development of North Eastern Region, Dr Jitendra Singh proposed that the Conference adopts a ‘Shillong Declaration on e-Governance’ so that the important takeaways from the sessions may be referred to and developed upon in the future.
Singh highlighted the importance of increasing awareness among the common people about new citizen-friendly initiatives taken by the Government like the dashboards, portals and apps that have been set up by the Government to establish citizen-friendly governance.
He also informed that the Ministry of DoNER is keeping up with the pace of digitization and service delivery through electronic means. “It has constantly engaged itself with promoting e-governance initiatives that are being taken up by the North Eastern states and that it has extended its support to various externally aided projects proposed by different NE States in the field of Health (Telemedicine), Education (Digitization of Classrooms) etc,” he added.
Further, Dr. Singh added that for the last 5 years, the Government has made significant progress in the direction of achieving e-Governance mandate being discussed at the highest level. For making digital literacy universal, the Government has taken key initiatives like Aadhaar and Jan-Dhan Yojana and has laid down the target completion by 2022, i.e. the 75th Independence year of India.

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