see, the IT silos are worse than the non-IT ones. The team was taking time in making the interface through which citizens could feed in data. On a couple of weekends I wrote the software, so people could go out on the field and start enrolments...sometimes, things related to IT are simple, but the consultants make it complex! They must be told to keep IT simple and not make things unnecessarily complex.
Goenka: Is it getting difficult to hire technology talent for government?
Chandrashekhar: Well, the answer is both yes and no. we have some of the very talented people in NIC, but it needs to be re-invented. Fortunately, things have changed.
It was pretty difficult to hire because govt. cannot pay much and there were rules that were coming in the way of hiring. But when NISG came onto the scene, we created an environment where people could be hired at near-market salaries. A new HR policy was created for e-governance and a two-way channel was created for the industry to work on for a couple for years.
Goenka: There is speculation about the new government keeping a distance from UID. What do you think will be the future of Aadhaar?
Sharma: It is for the government to decide what to do on UID. From the standpoint of policy it is one of the best things done in the country. A large no. of [UID-related] programmes is aimed at the citizens. The entire cost of Aadhaar is around Rs80,000 crore in one year...now is the time to leverage it.
Chandrashekhar: The emphasis now has to shift to actual application. Getting the project started at citizen interface is very important to stabilise it. Getting the ecosystem in place, as we see more and more applications like banking, telecom, etc... when these large apps start using Aadhaar, it will stabilise and, given the sheer convenience it brings, will spread like wildfire.