8 years on, SWAN still not complete

It is more than eight years but India’s SWAN (state wide area network) is still not completed.

SWANs in 4 states/UTs, namely Andaman & Nicobar, Daman & Diu, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Jammu & Kashmir are still in the process of implementation. The government has sanctioned a total of Rs 48.07 crore for 4 states/UTs. Andaman & Nicobar has been sanctioned Rs 5.25 crore, Daman & Diu Rs 2.5 crore, Dadra & Nagar Haveli Rs 2.78 crore and Jammu & Kashmir Rs 37.54 crore.

SWANs in 31 states/UTs, namely Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Goa (implemented under state scheme), Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Lakshadweep, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Orissa, Puducherry, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal are operational.

In March 2005, the government of India had approved establishing 35 SWAN networks across the country at a total outlay of Rs 3,334 crore to be incurred by the Department of IT under grant-in-aid of Rs 2,005 crore, over a period of five years. Under this Scheme, government of India provided technical and financial assistance to the states/UTs for establishing SWANs to connect all state/UT headquarters up to the block level via district/sub-divisional headquarters.

The government was planning to provide a minimum bandwidth capacity of 2 Mbps per link. Each of the state/UT can enhance the bandwidth up to 34 Mbps between SHQ (state headquarter) and DHQ (district headquarter) and up to 8 Mbps between DHQ and BHQ depending upon the utilization.

SWAN implementation happened through two modes– Public Private Partnership (PPP) model and NIC Model. In PPP model, an appropriate agency through a suitable competitive process was chosen for establishing, operating and maintaining the network. In NIC model, National Informatics Centre acted as the prime implementation agency for establishment, operation and maintenance of the Network.

But the big question is whether the state government has done the next level of connectivity be it horizontal and vertical connectivity in last eight years. If yes, one has to see how many such connectivity has taken place in the last eight years within the state. The real benefit will happen only when state departments gets connected to SWAN network so that data can be automated without delay and citizens can benefit in the long run.

To monitor the performance of SWANs, the department of IT & Electronics has appointed Third Party Auditor (TPA) agencies. As on date, 23 sates i.e. Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Tripura, Orissa, Maharashtra, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand, West Bengal, UP, Lakshadweep, Andhra Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Mizorum have empanelled TPA agencies for monitoring the performance of the SWAN in their respective State. Remaining states/UTs are in the process of empanelment of TPA.

With lot of MMP (mission mode projects) under implementation be it commercial taxes, e-district, e-panchayat, treasury computerization and PDS, the role of connectivity will get enhanced and also there will be an increased bandwidth demand. So, earlier the SWAN gets completed along with vertical and horizontal connectivity, the better it is for the country.

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