Tamil Nadu is going the extra mile to promote start-ups by developing the existing ecosystem to give it an edge over other states. Amid the buzz about the new start-up policy expected to be announced during the Global Investors Meet, to be held from 23 January, the state’s technology backbone is being strengthened on a war footing.
E-offices in the secretariat, amendments to the Tender Transparency Act and promoting emerging technologies in the sphere of governance, are some of the works-in-progress.
TN IT Secretary Santhosh Babu said, “We need to involve ourselves in technology. We are pushing to see if we can become an e-secretariat, with some departments already coming forth to be part of this initiative. We have already embarked on training programmes. As many as 12 departments have completed the exercise.”
There are also teams working on exploring the potential of Artificial Technology (AI) in healthcare delivery, rural development and such areas. Efforts are being made to rope in top-notch graduates from institutions such as MIT who can be deployed in Centres of Excellence (CoEs). The search is on to onboard specialists in blockchain, IoT and other latest technologies to see how routine governance issues can be resolved.
As the idea is to offer citizens hassle-free services, the state is keen on cutting down on the additional costs incurred and efforts expended by citizens for the same. “No one should feel the need to visit a government office as such a process involves a transaction cost or an interaction. People pay taxes and government officials receive salaries to ensure seamless services are available to all. The internet should be the only interface required and with ample bandwidth, one should experience governance rather than put up with it,” the senior official submitted.
Babu said efforts are on to roll out ‘Truth’ or ‘Smart’ contracts, wherein online portals can interact with the government. “We are talking to experts on the potential of processing transactions on blockchain and if we can make TN blockchain ready. We are optimistic and cautious about such emerging technologies, and it is imperative that all stakeholders to work in tandem,” he added.
Five HoDs under the IT Secretary – representing, TNeGA, Elcot, Tag TV, TN Virtual academy and TN Fibrenet Corporation are working in this direction.
On the sidelines of a workshop on Design Thinking organised by Intellect Design, he spoke about the rationale to amend the Tender Transparency Act. “Even if a start-up comes up with a world class product, it would never be part of a government tendering process as it would not meet the turnover criteria and such conditions. We need to offer some relaxation in this, for which we are working with the finance department. When the government becomes the first use case, then it works easily. For example, using a floor meter for water – if it must be made into a product, it must go through a tendering process and it will be cumbersome. Instead, say, the metro water uses it, then, it is easily done. As we are governed by the act, it needs to be amended, which involves lot of deliberation.”