| 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
The initiative is highly creative and innovative as explained below:
a. It is the first whole-of-government, centrally hosted and cloud based platform for delivering e-Authentication service to various department at National, State and local levels.
b. It is a unique nationwide initiative which any central, state or local government department/agency can onboard immediately through an online self-service mode by registering on the e-Pramaan department portal. They need not have to create their own authentication management portal.
c. Departments need not have any technical expertise as MeitY provides complete handholding and 24x7 support.
d. Departments need not to worry about the technological advancement in the area of e-authentication and the implementation of standard based authentication for their applications.
e. Departments need not to go through the tedious process of managing the authentication details for the users and updating them on time to time basis depending upon the prevalent threats w.r.t to identity thefts.
f. Departments also has the flexibility of upgrading or downgrading of strength of authentication based upon the sensitivity of the application in a single click ,without impacting the overall working of the application.
| 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
In an endeavour to enhance the trust of users amidst the online environment, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Government of India has conceptualized “e-Pramaan: Framework for e-Authentication”.
The development and implementation of e-Pramaan on a pan India level has been undertaken by C-DAC, a scientific society. The aim is to provide a seamless authentication service to the users.
The target population for e-Pramaan has been all the citizens availing e-Governance services as offered by various state and national level departments. As e-Governance services have made deep inroads on the back of increased IT awareness and installation, the population covered is substantial.
| 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
The National e-Governance plan of Government of India took a holistic view of the e-Governance activities in India and integrated them into a collective vision. It was evident that a massive countrywide IT was being laid down, reaching to the remotest corner of the country. As a result, many government departments provided their services to the users through electronic means. The online service delivery mechanism generated the need for electronically authenticating the identity of the users so that each service or benefit scheme reached its intended recipient in a secure manner. With this in background, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) conceptualised the idea of e-Pramaan in an endeavour to increase the trust of citizens in the online environment. CDAC Mumbai was chosen as the implementation agency for the project. And once the seed were sown for the idea, work was started in earnest towards creating this framework.
First, a draft framework was prepared and published on the ministry website and circulated to all line ministries and departments for feedback and comments from different stakeholders. After extensive consultation, the framework was approved and released. Under this framework, a key implementation strategy was to develop e-Pramaan framework was undertaken.
Further, a phase wise implementation plan was developed and deliverables were decided. Also, based on the requirements, a budget for approx. $ 4 MM was proposed by CDAC for execution of the project. The budget was approved by MeitY, an administrative approval was given and the development on the project started. Regular meetings between MeitY and the CDAC Team have ensured that the project has been on track and the milestones have been achieved well before the deadlines.
Also, CDAC Mumbai has mobilized a team of 20 resources to execute the project.
| 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
The stakeholders involved in the design and implementation of the initiative are:
a. Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Govt. of India: Conceptualized, owned, funded, supervised and monitored the entire initiative.
b. Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC): Implemented the initiative.
c. National e-Governance Division (NeGD): Provided consulting support.
From MeitY, the core team members involved in the initiative were as follows:
i. Project leader: Dr. Rajendra Kumar, IAS (Indian Administrative Service), Joint Secretary, MeitY: Provided overall leadership and led the conceptualization, drafting of the policy framework, design and implementation of the entire initiative from the beginning. Worked till 2015.
ii. Project officer: Ms. Kavita Bhatia, Director, MeitY: Involved in the implementation of the initiative from the beginning.
From C-DAC, the core team members involved in technical development of the e-Pramaan framework and its implementation are as follows:
i. Principal Investigator: Dr. Zia Saquib, Executive Director, CDAC Mumbai : Led the standards development, technical design and implementation of the e-Pramaan
ii. Co-Investigator: Dr. Padmaja Joshi, Joint Director (Software Quality), CDAC Mumbai: Overall Project Management, Standards development, technical design and implementation of the e-Pramaan
iii. Technical Team Leaders:
a. Mr. Vijay Jain, Principal Technical Officer, CDAC Mumbai: Involved in standards development, technical design and implementation
b. Ms. Cini Radhakrishnan, Principal Technical Officer, CDAC Mumbai Involved in standards development, technical design and implementation.
iv. Integration Team Leader: Mrs. Rekha Nair, Principal Technical Officer, CDAC Mumbai: On-Boarding of departments on e-Pramaan and handholding support to all the government departments and agencies.
v. Aadhaar Based Services
a. Mr. Rajeev Srivastava, Senior Technical Officer, CDAC Mumbai: Involved in facilitating aadhaar based services for e-Pramaan and co-ordination with UIDAI.
b. Mrs. Nirmala Salam, Principal Technical Officer, CDAC Mumbai: Involved in facilitating aadhaar based services for e-Pramaan and co-ordination with UIDAI.
| 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
Initiative was effective not only for Citizens but also for Departments providing e-Governance services to citizens.
a. Centralized and cloud based infrastructure: A centralized and cloud based infrastructure for the initiative has been created and made operational by MeitY. As the entire infrastructure is cloud based with a very simple on- boarding mechanism, departments and agencies need not create their own infrastructure. This has saved substantial costs, time and effort on their part. Centralized e-Authentication service and integration with cloud based infrastructure has also encouraged the departments to conduct significant business process reengineering (BPR) of their existing processes to take maximum advantage of the new platform. This has helped them in simplifying their procedures, introducing greater transparency, and providing various secured options of identity verifications to citizens.
b. Dedicated Project Team: A dedicated project team consisting of 20 technical professionals has been put in place at C-DAC, the implementing agency, for spearheading the technical development work and provide complete handholding support to all the government departments and agencies.
c. Benefits to Departments
• Multi Technology Support of Integrating the Department Applications
• Common User directory
• Cost and Time saving by reducing the duplication of similar effort at each application level
• Configurable up-gradation of authentication factors using authentication chaining
• Supports for role authorization
d. Benefits to Citizens
• Single Window access to e-Governance services
• Unified Digital Profile
• Secure and seamless Single Sign On (SSO)
• Data Security and Privacy
• Authentic service access
| 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
In the successful implementation of e-Pramaan the team had to face many challenges and ambiguities which are common in a project of such a scale. However, due to the resilience of the team it was possible to overcome these challenges and come up with feasible solutions.
a. Forging a consensus for formulation of a policy framework for e-Authentication was a major challenge as all the relevant stakeholders had to be consulted and brought on board. MeitY notified the Framework for e-Authentication after extensive consultations with all the stakeholders. It now acts as the prime driver for a whole-of-government approach towards e-authentication enablement. The challenge of forging a common understanding and consensus among stakeholders was overcome by conducting the consultation process totally transparently and laying out the objectives of the initiative and strategies for implementation clearly.
b. Convincing government departments across the country to expeditiously integrate with e-Pramaan was another major challenge. An extensive awareness drive was launched to convey the unique value proposition and benefits of the platform as a one stop gateway fore-Authentication.
c. Capacity building of the departments/agencies for e-Authentication was a major challenge as most of the departments lack capacity for readily using the platform. This was overcome by providing complete handholding support to them for integrating with e-Praaman.
d. A generic profile was needed for structuring the user data which was acceptable to all. The National Demographic Standard was then used as a base and it was acceptable to all.
e. The user departments needed a seamless integration with application. Thus, SAML connectors were developed in various languages, i.e. PHP, .Net and Java, thus ensuring smooth integration.