Washington: To accelerate implementation of its National e-Governance Plan (NeGP), the World Bank has approved USD 150 million loan for India.

NeGP is aimed at transforming the service delivery system across the country.

While this World Bank loan will not target specific services per se, it will initiate policy and institutional actions that will impact all the services.

The loan will support NeGP - approved in May 2006 as a national programme - to operate on a single common IT infrastructure, thus allowing faster and easier sharing of information between departments, saving infrastructure costs and lowering cost of service delivery for citizens as well as government agencies, the Bank said in a statement.

Citizens will no longer have to go to multiple departments, but will have the option of accessing e-services either through the internet on the government's common website, or through a 'single window' Common Service Centres (CSC), set up to assist villages or remote areas, it said.

"The Government of India's aim of providing web-enabled anytime, anywhere access to information and e-services can have significant social and economic benefits. Reducing the financial and opportunity costs of obtaining specific services through enabling policy measures can go a long way in transforming service delivery in the country," said Roberto Zagha, World Bank Country Director in India.

Venu Rajamony, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, said the NeGP has plans to significantly widen citizen access to e-services.

"We hope this loan from the World Bank will support NeGP in its efforts to ensure efficient, cost effective, accessible and transparent delivery of public services across the country," he said.

The World Bank said NeGP has identified 27 priority projects to be transformed using e-services, each one to be owned and spearheaded by a relevant ministry or agency of the national and/or state government.

The programme is also expected to have significant social benefits for the poor, particularly in relation to services like social welfare schemes, pensions, certificates, dues and recovery, PDS-related services for food and essential items, rural health, compensation and relief packages, grievance services, and for the use of the Right to Information, it said.

(Agencies)