December 2004

Suchana Mitra (the info friend)

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Introduction
The Kotmi Sonar project implemented by the All India Society for Electronics and Computer Technology (AISECT) at the village Kotmi-Sonar, district Janjgir (then in Madhya Pradesh, now in Chattisgarh); was the first of its kind in Madhya Pradesh prior to the well-publicised Gyandoot of Dhar. It was conceived in September 1993 as a pilot project to bring the benefits of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to the common people and different government offices situated at the block, and district-level. The Kotmi-Sonar was kept offline because at that time Internet was not available in the Janjgir . The project was unique for its simplicity and easy operational procedure. The AISECT students guided by the inhouse trainer developed the software using the hardware provided by the society. A detailed survey was organised to identify the users' need in that area and there by the information was collected and digitised by local students voluntarily. The administrative support was provided by the AISECT and the local administration to implement the project.

Much before the Kotmi Sonar initiative was undertaken, villagers approached government offices for ascertaining information and many times they had to return disappointed, as they were not provided with relevant information. Kotmi-Sonar project helped to change all these. Accesses to government information were made easier by the project, available at nearest location to the villagers. The overwhelming public response led the government to not only scale up the project throughout the district but also made AISECT centres as e-Governance centres. All government departments were advised to identify the kind of services that were needed to be delivered through the AISECT centres and to report on their efficiency. These centres were called 'Suvidha Centres' (Facilitating centres).

As a follow up to Suvidha, the Suchna Mitra software was developed.

Objectives of Suchna Mitra
The Suchna-Mitra project was initiated with the mission to provide the benefits of using ICT in governance to the citizens at their doorsteps. The major objectives envisaged were:

  • Easy and better dissemination of government information, resulting in better awareness among rural masses about various government schemes. This would bring in transparency in governance
  • Redressal of complaints without physically visiting the government offices
  • Reduction in response time to redress complaints by the concerned departments and thus make administration responsive and accountable
  • Employment generation by way of allowing opening up of Citizen Information Centres (kiosks) in the private sector
  • Virtual extension counters for the Government, by way of using these centres for getting the departmental data entered and transmitted from rime to time
  • A common platform for the people to interact with each other on subjects of mutual interest like matrimonial, sale or purchases
  • The Suchna Mitra Kendra is a multipurpose centre and works as a nodal point in the block for providing e-Governance citizen services, electronics and IT related services under one roof

Conceptual framework
Suchna Mitra is web based application software, which works in a client/server environment as an Intranet.

The software offers easy governance solution through e-Governance. Implementation of this software can save a lot of time and money of the district administration as well as of common man. This software also provides an efficient way for monitoring of developmental works and public grievances.

The software is organised in two modules. The first module can be accessed from any client machine available in the district, without any password protection. The second module can only be accessed through Suchna Mitra kendras on payment basis.

Components of Module-I
The first module provides general, but very useful, information of the district. The brief description of each of the components is as follows:

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