The Identity project emerged as a result of our dissatisfaction at the nature of the debate that was emerging on the area of digital governance in India.
Over the past three years we have conducted numerous field visits in seven Indian states.These visits include numerous video-conversations, some short and others very long, with a diverse number of those who were involved with this entire process of participating in the emergence of a digital ecosystem of governance. These are interviews with people being enrolled into the Aadhaar programme, with district-level Panchayat and other officials, with numerous State government bureaucrats, with private enrollment representatives, representatives of various governmental services, with operators and other members of this digital workforce. Conversations are often long, spontaneous and deliberately unstructured: and the focus is mainly on a vérité style using amateur video.
Some key issues that we shortlisted for detailed inquiry were issues of migrants, both domestic and across international borders, homelessness in cities, and the financially excluded. Each of these areas was discussed in considerable detail at major public consultations held in Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Bangalore, in partnership with the CSDS, the Mahanirban Calcutta Research Group, and the Urban Research and Policy Programme Initiative of the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore. All videos of all presentations made at these events are also available here.
CSCS also has an extensive text archives of material on the field as a whole, available on http://eprints.cscsarchives.org
Interview with Bidyut Datta, Senior Technology Officer, Directorate of Information Technology (DIT) in which he describes the technology backbone of several IT enabled government services within the guidelines of the National eGovernance Plan (NeGP). Bidyut Datta describes the State Wide Area Network (SWAN), a network of optical fibres that connects the State Data Centre (SDC), which hosts the eGovernance applications with the Common Information Centres (CIC) and Common Service Centres (CSC), physical locations at Gram Panchayat levels with computer aided front ends where citizens can access these services. In addition, he speaks about Agartala City Area Network (ACAN)and State Service Delivery Gateway (SSDG) as additional networks for the delivery of citizen centric services. From the digitized services he listed, tele ophthalmology centres, known as Vision Centres in the state seems the most celebrated. The interview also tries to determine the state imagination driving this massive trend towards digitization of services.