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Wiring transparency

Rahul Sachitanand     February 28, 2011
Technology, specifically, wiring village panchayats, creating central tax databases and even connecting 1,500 disparate educational institutes, as part of a knowledge network could usher in a new era of cleaner, faster and more transparent governance. The move to wire panchayats across India - 250,000 of them using high-speed broadband - should give residents in these villages quicker access to certificates and records and make local officials more accountable and have the cash registers ringing for providers of networking gear.

"I'm particularly thrilled about the allocation announced for rural telephony as this will surely give a fillip to boosting connectivity for villages," gushes Naresh Wadhwa, who helms Cisco India, a unit with over a $1 billion in revenues.

The centralized processing centre for taxes, today grinds through 1.5 lakh returns, compared to 20,000 when it started a couple of years ago. Two more centres are expected to become operational in Manesar and Pune by May next year and a fourth in Kolkata soon after. The Technical Advisory Group (TAG) constituted after last year's budget had proposed a GST Network (GSTN) for managing IT systems including the common GST portal which will integrate central and state tax departments, says Vilas Kanyal, Head-Asia Pacific, Mastek, a Mumbai-based IT services firm. "The common infrastructure and service platform will unify the revenue consolidation process of the government departments at both state and central levels," he says.

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