Technology Disrupts Technology Project In Indian Offices

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Photo: The Economic Times of India

An ambitious Indian government plan to digitize all office files, to create paper-free work places, is being obstructed by desk staffers who, to the tune of 70% of them, use their desktop units to play YouTube videos – consuming huge amounts of bandwidth in the process.

The Economic Times’ New Delphi bureau said the issue was discussed last week at an e-office conference for all ministries. A presentation was made by the Rural Development Ministry, among the first to execute the ‘e office’ plan. It featured a demonstration of how a 700-page file could be scanned in about six minutes and how a digitized file could be retrieved in roughly five minutes.

But the high use of bandwidth for YouTube viewing has become such a problem that unless ministries curb their workers’ enthusiasm for them – whether they are or aren’t watching Larry David – the e office initiative simply won’t succeed, RDM Joint Secretary Santosh Mathew said.

Also impeding it, Mathew noted, is the fact that many junior-level workers are using monitors so small that they can’t read digitized files.

The glut of small monitors in the hands of lesser staffers is a result of them having been handed down through the ranks as higher-ups were upgraded to larger screens.

Mathew also sees a challenge in getting junior-level workers to go along with the e office scheme because it will enable managers to monitor their activities. High-ups already have the ability to determine who is spending ‘company time’ on video-watching, and the government is encouraging them to do so.

Mathew also noted that Cabinet Secretary P.K. Sinha would soon be writing to all ministers, asking them for a cut-off date after which they’d no longer be accepting paper files.