Shri Nandan Nilekani, Chairman, UIDAI and Technology Advisory Group for Unique Projects (TAGUP) handed over the TAGUP Report to the Union Finance Minister, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, here today.  Speaking on the occasion, Shri Mukherjee said that this report has been submitted at a right time and would help in various IT projects like Tax Information Network (TIN), New Pension Scheme (NPS), National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA), Expenditure Information Network (EIN), Goods and Service Tax (GST). He said that an effective tax administration and financial governance system calls for creation of IT projects which are reliable, secure and efficient.  Shri Mukherjee said that this report  is a result of a good teamwork.

Finance Minister Shri Mukherjee had earlier announced in his Budget Speech 2010 to set-up a Technology Advisory Group for Unique Projects (TAGUP) under the Chairmanship of Shri Nandan Nilekani.  Pursuant to this, Ministry of Finance, Department of Economic Affairs had constituted the Technical Advisory Group for Unique Projects (TAGUP). The Members of the Group were-

1.      Shri Nandan Nilekani, Chairperson

2.      Shri C.B. Bhave, Chairman SEBI

3.      Shri R. Chandrasekhar, Secretary, Department of IT

4.      Shri Dhirendra Swarup, Former Chairman PFRDA

5.      Shri S.S. Khan, Former Member, CBDT

6.      Shri P.R.V Ramanan, Former Member, CBEC

7.      Dr. Nachiket Mor, President, ICICI Foundation for Inclusive Growth

TAGUP was requested to address and make recommendations on the following issues

i.            Human resource including modification in government rules, procedures etc;

ii.            Appropriate placement of tasks and allocation of responsibilities within Government;

iii.            Contracting, commercial terms and charges including procedures etc for competitive bidding, pricing models and suggestions on user charges;

iv.            Road map from start up to going concern for each of these projects, which would also focus on legal/regulatory change, if any;

v.            Technology architecture and ways for co-ordination between Centre, States and Local Governments;

vi.            Possibility of introducing Open Protocols and utilization of open source components of other e-government projects;

vii.            Security challenges of malicious attacks on the system;

viii.            Accountability and self corrective mechanisms; and

ix.            Protection of individual’s right to privacy with focus on safeguards in the IT systems to protect legal and constitutional rights etc.

The Group which handed over the TAGUP Report to the Finance Minister, here  today has made the following key recommendations in their Report:

1. The Group recommends that for complex IT intensive projects (especially for those referred to in the Terms of Reference and generally to IT mission critical projects in Government) National Information Utilities (NIUs) working in the spirit of partnership with Government be put in place to handle all aspects of IT systems.

2. While strategic control is retained by Government at all times, NIUs should be set-up as private companies with a public purpose.  They should be financially independent and empowered to take quick and efficient business decisions pertaining to attracting and retaining talent, procurement, rapid response to business exigencies, and adopting new technologies, among other things.

3. Human resource Challenges: Strong support from the top leadership within Government, dedicated team at the level of project implementation, and ownership and commitment at various operational levels are necessary concomitants of success of any project.  The Group recommends that every project should have a dedicated Mission Leader within the Government with a Mission Execution Team.  The Mission Execution Team should be manned by personnel, who possess a diverse set of skills including intimate familiarity with the Government processes, specialization in verticals such as technology, outreach, law, as well as the ability to manage a large decentralized organization, among others.  The Group also recommends certain monetary and non-monetary incentives for the Team.

4. Multiple Levels of Government:  Many of these projects span the Central, State and Local Governments.  A critical aspect of the success of such multiple-level IT projects is that the solution must be incentive compatible across stakeholders.  Common functions should be included in a single application platform shared by all stakeholders.  Such a single application platform, while respecting the constitutional autonomy of all Governments involved, may be deployed in a decentralized environment, but its development must necessarily be centralized.

5. The Group has also made recommendations in the areas of contracting, incubation, solution architecture, openness, transparency, and protection of the individual in case of large, complex IT intensive projects.

6. The Report addresses the challenges faced by large complex IT projects in Government, and then applies this framework to the evaluation of the five projects (GST, TIN, EIN, NTMA and NPS) at hand.

7. The Group also noted that the Empowered Group on IT infrastructure for GST in its IT Strategy for GST has recommended the setting-up a Goods and Services Tax Network which has the characteristics of an NIU as per this Report.

8. Specific recommendations relating to the five projects of the Ministry of Finance have been given in the Report.

The Report can be accessed on the Ministry of Finance website: http://finmin.nic.in/

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