Saturday 5 February 2011

TAGUP Report Submitted To Finance Minister Of India

Ministry of Finance, Department of Economic Affairs has constituted the Technical Advisory Group for Unique Projects (TAGUP) vide their O.M. dated 1“ June 2010. The Terms of Reference of the Committee has also been laid down in the above O.M. This Committee has been constituted in pursuance of the Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s Budget Speech (2010-ll).

Finance Minister vide Para 104 of the Speech had inter alia proposed to set up a Technology Advisory Group for Unique Projects under the Chairmanship of Nandan Nilekani for an effective tax administration and ļ¬nancial governance system through creation of IT projects which are reliable, secure and efficient.

There are five projects of the Government in the recent years which have come to involve complex system development as listed below-

(a) The Tax Information Network (TIN)
(b) The New Pension Scheme (NPS)
(c) The National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA)
(d) The Expenditure Information Network (EIN)
(e) The Goods and Services Tax (GST)

Nandan Nilekani, now Chairman of UIDAI and TAGUP has recently handed over the TAGUP Report to the Finance Minister. Praising the report as a good teamwork, the Finance Minister said that an effective tax administration and financial governance system calls for creation of IT projects which are reliable, secure and efficient.

TAGUP has made the following key recommendations in its Report:

(a) 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.

(b) 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.

(c) 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.

(d) 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.

(e) 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.

(f) 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.

(g) 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.

(h) 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.