"Your people are your most important asset."
N.R. Narayana Murthy, Founder & Chief Mentor
Infosys Technologies Limited
Importance of Human Capital:
The term human capital is recognition that people in organisations and businesses are important and essential assets who contribute to development and growth, in a similar way as physical assets such as machines and money. The collective attitudes, skills and abilities of people contribute to organizational performance and productivity. Any expenditure in training, skill development, health and support is an investment, not just an expense.
Although an organisation or business is a separate legal entity, it ceases to exist if it has no people or people lacking skill-sets to support its operations. Leaders, directors, members, employees and support staff are required to maintain an organization's existence. This phenomenon is prevalent across all the industries; be it manufacturing or construction or healthcare. With the emergence of Knowledge economy, the human capital has assumed great significance.
E-Government, the emerging arm of knowledge economy, which is about providing Government's services to its stakeholders in a most convenient and efficient manner involves transformation of processes using information and communication technologies (ICTs). Experience of implementing e-Government has shown us that people are one of the critical success factors which makes or mars the success of an e-Government initiative. Political leaders and policy makers are starting to recognize that having good people who are skilled and motivated can make a significant difference. To grow and adapt to the environment where change is the only constant thing, the e-Government leadership must recognize the value and contribution of people.
Experience has shown us that many of the e-Government Projects were not able to see the light of the day due to the lack of champions who have the right skill sets, knowledge, aptitude and leadership qualities. Government staff lacks the inability to conceptualize and design appropriate financial, technical and business models. The deficiencies in project management skills result in scope, time and cost creep. The lack of institutional mechanisms to drive and sustain these e-Government initiatives further complicates the matters for Government decision makers. For instance many states in India do not even have an IT/e-Government department or just have a skeletal department that is not designed to deal with the complexity of issues involved.
The National e-Governance Plan (NeGP), a momentous initiative of Government of India which seeks to implement e-Government in the country has identified capacity building of the Government staff at all level as one of the top priority item which needs to be taken up at the National level. To achieve the goals of NeGP, this is the first gap that needs to be addressed. Other gaps related to Human capital are (DIT 2002):
Demystifying Capacity Building : The term capacity building has many meanings attached to it. Some of them are:
- Lack of correct information on the human resource requirements to support the State e-Governance mission
- Lack of personnel with appropriate background and aptitude
- Inadequate skill sets of personnel already deployed
- Lack of appropriate institutional framework to handle the capacity building
- Lack of proper policy to fill the gap through sourcing from private sector
- In-adequate expertise and skills within the state training institutions to lead training programs for the policy makers
- It is about training of personnel.
- It is about hiring of new people.
- It is about setting up new structures
- It is about hiring consultants.
- It is about undertaking study tours to learn best practices.
- It is about skill development of staff on newly procured hardware/software
- It is about enhancing the existing skills and competencies?
- Although all of these definitions are true, but none of them is representative of the term capacity building in entirety.
To put in perspective, capacity building is all of the above and much more. It is an approach and concept that allows us to address day to day and strategic challenges of e-Governance without disruption.
Capacity building is all about enabling right people with right knowledge, skill-sets and attitude. The right mix of all these components helps in overcoming complex challenges thrown in the process of implementing e-Government projects.
Why Capacity building?  The nature and scale of e-Governance initiatives envisaged with in NeGP presents plethora of challenges to the government departments as well as implementation agencies. The implementation of these projects in a "mission/projectized mode", by departments requires major managerial and technological expertise to work hand in hand. There is also a need to manage the entire programme at the State level in a coherent manner with consistent strategies for cost optimisation and integration. For achieving this, the Governments need to provide the overall direction, standardization and consistency across initiatives and at the same time, have the resources and flexibility to drive the plan.
Hence while designing the NeGP, GoI recognized the importance of building human capacities in terms of necessary knowledge and skills to conceptualize, initiate, implement and sustain e-Governance initiatives. It is equally important to foster an attitude and mindset that is receptive to ICT based administration and ICT based delivery of services. The Government recognizes that mere development of e-Governance strategies and induction of technology will not help deliver the quality of services envisaged unless human resources are aligned to provide the right services to the right customers from the right sources with the right tools at the right time.
To counter the challenges posed by lack of capacities with in Government departments, it is desirable to develop a capacity building roadmap (CBR), which will represent a realistic approach for the realization of the NeGP both at the central and the State level. The strategy for the realization of the plan is to develop a Comprehensive e-Government Human Resource Plan. The core competencies of e-Government Human Resource may be described as:
- knowledgeable (technical and professional skills and combinations thereof)
- Communication skills (ability to share that knowledge),
- Interpersonal skills (ability to motivate in a group leadership and teamwork environment).
Appreciating the importance of building roadmap for capacity building, Department of IT, Govt. of India assisted the state Governments in creation of CBRs. NISG played a stellar role in the development of these roadmaps. The CBR addresses four key stages of program management life cycle.
- Current situation
The CBR complements the implementation of e-Government roadmaps in a planned manner and it is desired that all the departments / ministries invest in preparation of capacity building roadmap.
Having invested in CBR, it is incumbent upon the states to take the recommendations forward through various approaches.
Key Components of capacity building: The figure below illustrates the key components of capacity building. The figure is representative of the fact that Capacity Building is not just regular trainings, change management, learning's from assessment studies or establishing governance structure in isolation. There is a need to institutionalize all of these. The policies, guidelines and standards for various components of e-Government projects will speed the up the implementation process.
Conclusion: The e-Government is a journey for any Country, which has to be aligned across the Country. Keeping in view the enormous task of driving a National e-Governance Plan in accordance with the overall spirit of service orientation, most states and ministries at the central level are inadequately equipped in terms of personnel and the skill-sets needed to handle the host of issues involved. It will be of utmost importance for any Government to steer the e-Government initiative in a focused way, by developing a Capacity Building Roadmap (CBR). CBR is a document that enables development or sourcing of the human resources required to design, develop and implement large-scale e-Government program and projects and to sustain these capacities. The capacities can be internal or external as appropriate and possible. The capacities are to be built in individuals and in institutions. Even new institutions can be contemplated as e-Government is relatively a new discipline. Only by investing in Human capital can the dream of NeGP be realized.
 Various documents on Capacity Building by NISG (2005-2007)
 S.R. Das and R. Chandrashekhar, Capacity Building for e-Governance in India