Govt begins exercise to digitize official record of deptts in Civil Sectt

Rs 5 cr earmarked, task to be completed within one yr

Mohinder Verma

JAMMU, Jan 17: In order to save huge money being spent on the transportation of files in the Civil Secretariat during the Bi-Annual Darbar Move, Governor’s Administration has begun an exercise to digitize official record of the departments through Jammu and Kashmir e-Governance Agency (JaKeGA) and process is planned to be completed within a period of one year.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that successive Governments in the State made announcements a number of times about digitization of record of all the departments in the Civil Secretariat in order to save huge money being spent on transportation of files during Bi-Annual Darbar Move. But these announcements were never translated into reality.
The necessity of digitization of record was also felt following devastating fire in a portion of the Civil Secretariat at Srinagar in the month of July 2013 in which official record of six departments and service books of over 300 employees suffered extensive damage. However, no seriousness was shown in initiating formal steps towards giving practical shape to the announcements.
The concerned authorities were again caught napping in September 2014 when official record of several departments suffered extensive damage due to flooding of Civil Secretariat at Srinagar. Following the devastating floods, much hype was created over the decision to immediately start digitization of official record but the seriousness faded away within few months and the issue remained confined to the official meetings.
However, Governor’s Administration, while paying required attention towards the issue, has started an exercise to digitize the record of the departments in the Civil Secretariat, sources said while disclosing that in the recently held Committee of Secretaries meetings chaired by the Chief Secretary B V R Subrahmanyam a considered decision to scan and digitize the complete official record of all the Administrative Departments in the Civil Secretariat was taken.
“The objective behind this exercise is to reduce expenditure and efforts involved in the physical transportation of files of all the departments in Civil Secretariat during the Bi-Annual Darbar Move and also to obviate the chances of wear and tear of the paper documents and their loss”, sources said.
They informed that State Administrative Council headed by Governor Satya Pal Malik has already taken a decision to provide Rs 5 crore for the task to the Jammu and Kashmir e-Governance Agency.
Moreover, in order to avoid transportation of large number of computers and other electronic equipment with each Durbar Move, an amount of Rs 15 crore has been provided to the Jammu and Kashmir e-Governance Agency for purchase of hardware and software for the Civil Secretariat. Henceforth, the computer infrastructure for Jammu will remain stationed at Jammu and the same will be left at Srinagar while moving to Jammu.
“The scanning and digitization of official files and record and their storage in an easy-to-retrieve digital format through a tailor made Data Management System (DMS) by authorized users of the files will be put in place”, the Information Technology Department has communicated to all the Administrative Secretaries through a formal circular.
According to the sources, the back-end preparation in this regard has been initiated by the Information Technology Department and in the initial phase 7 to 10 departments will be shortlisted for the scanning and digitization depending upon the capacity of installed infrastructure.
“There are around 40 departments in the Civil Secretariat and rest of the departments will be taken up in subsequent phases but there are instructions for completion of entire exercise within a period of one year”, a senior officer of the Information Technology Department said when contacted.
In response to a question, he said that in the first phase key departments will be taken up for digitization of record and all the Administrative Secretaries have already been asked to give their formal consent for being considered in the first phase.
They have been asked to furnish information like total number of files, number of files currently in use, archival and approximate number of pages.