Nilekani to head new e-governance panel

Nandan Nilekan, chairman of the Unique Identity Authority of IndiaWith Nandan Nilekan, chairman of the Unique Identity Authority of India, once again to the fore, the union finance ministry yesterday set up a seven-member committee to advise the government on a host of IT initiatives in various areas such as income tax, the new pension system (NPS), and the proposed Goods and Services Tax (GST).

Announcing the setting up of the technology advisory group for unique projects (TAGUP), to be headed by Nilekani, an official statement said the other members are Securities and Exchange Board of India chairman C B Bhave, information technology secretary R Chandrasekhar, former chairman Provident Fund Regulatory Development Authority Dhirendra Swarup, former member of the Central Board of Direct Taxes S S Khan, former member (CBEC) P R V Ramanan, and president of the ICICI foundation for inclusive growth Nachiket Mor.

The group has been given six months to outline a roadmap to roll out five projects - the tax information network (TIN), the NPS, the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA), the expenditure information network (EIN), and the GST.

''These five projects alone have immense transformative power and will change the country's growth trajectory. The challenge is to find ways to rapidly roll out these complex systems, to achieve and to sustain high levels of reliable performance,'' the ministry said.

The committee, the statement said, has been constituted in pursuance of finance minister Pranab Mukherjee's Budget speech for 2010-11, in which he proposed to set up the TAGUP under the chairmanship of Nilekani ''for an effective tax administration and financial governance system through the creation of IT projects which are reliable, secure and efficient''.

The committee is expected to suggest a roadmap to roll out these systems along with any changes in legal and regulatory requirements that may be needed for the purpose. It has also been asked to suggest technology architecture, including the possibility of introducing open protocols to implement these projects.