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Kerala students to spread e-governance awareness

Thiruvananthapuram, July 15, 2013, DHNS: 1:11 IST
The Kerala State Information Technology Mission (KSITM), in partnership with college students, has come up with a new project to extend the scope of the state’s e-governance initiatives.

In its initial phase, the project titled e-jaalakam (e-window) is designed as a capacity-building programme that covers women and school students in Kochi. The call is to look beyond social media networks and encourage citizen empowerment, according to promoters of the programme.

The Department of Economics at St Theresa’s College in Kochi is KSITM’s partner. The Mission has trained 20 students from the department who will, through residents’ associations and school managements, impart awareness on e-governance programmes to women and students.

The programme includes downloading of birth, marriage and death certificates, online tracking of files in government offices, Aadhaar, ration and electoral roll cards, application for revenue and income certificates and services provided by the Motor Vehicle Department. The KSITM has plans to extend the programme with similar initiatives that cover access to the entire range of government services available online.

Josius Benny, Manager, e-governance at KSITM, said the mission plans to devise similar programmes for other districts. “Such programmes help minimising time spent on applying for services, tracking the applications’ progress and ensuring delivery of these services. There’s a need to create more awareness on a web world outside of social media. Though the first phase is focused on women and students, we are open to backing similar projects that cover other groups,” he told Deccan Herald on Wednesday.

Benny, who is also in charge of the ITES Habitat Centre in Kochi, said similar initiatives would create awareness on both the services available and the right to make use of them. Pearly Antony, assistant professor, Department of Economics at St Theresa’s, said there were limitations in accessing some of the e-governance services in Kochi.

“The 20 students have been trained in using close to 45 government sites offering various services. We are trying to cover the entire spectrum of services available in the city,” she said. According to Nirmala Padmanabhan, head of the department, the programme creates greater opportunities to women and children in moulding themselves as participatory citizens and promotes gender inclusion in governance. Federal Bank has associated with the college on e-jaalakam.

The e-jaalakam project is expected to complement state initiatives like the Akshaya e-literacy centres. According to government figures, more than 30 lakh people have been trained by these centres on basic IT skills.

The team is also in talks with coordinators of the government’s “IT@School” project that has already covered about 50 lakh students.

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