Interview

Q & A : Rajeev Chawla, IT Secretary, Government of Karnataka, India

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What are the 3 critical factors for Bhoomi’s success in Karnataka?

The three critical factors for Bhoomi success in Karnataka were the following:

a)  The political will to undertake this project: The then Chief Minister very clearly and unequivocally stated in all public and private forums that this was the highest priority for the State Government. This may be no doubt in the minds of officers and officials that Bhoomi had to be implemented within a limited time.  He further showed his political will by mentioning this in the budget documents for two consecutive years and reviewing it from time to time.

b)  The Administrative Will: The Administrative set up was geared to take up this project.  Right from the Principal Secretary to the Deputy Commissioners, there was clarity in the minds of the people as to how the project had to be implemented in a time bound manner.

c)   The determined and hard working project officer: The Project Officer knew how he was proceeding and what work the milestones.  He worked hard to solve all the problems of the field staff and was available all the time to everybody right up to the level of Village Accountant to listen to them whenever they wanted to communicate and to take appropriate actions very quickly and immediately.

 

What are the main challenges being faced in the upscaling of Bhoomi project?

The Bhoomi project has been up scaled in Karnataka and is now operational in all the taluks for last four years.  However, the project is not up scaling in different States.  This certainly is not an issue of technology or the software.  The main challenges are the following:

a)  Lack of administrative will to take up the projects in most of the States: The officers either get transferred on their own or are shifted by the State Govts. This results in a situation where the incumbent is not able to or is not willing to go forward in a planned meticulous way thus all the components of the projects are not handled properly.

b) The lack of involvement of the Revenue officials right from
the village official level
. This is leading   to a situation where the data is not getting validated resulting in either non-discontintinuation of the manual system or after discontinuation of the manual system coming back to the manual system.

 

What decisions should be taken up at the State-level and national level to upscale Bhoomi project?

a) An officer should be posted who should be competent and willing to take up this responsibility for at least 3-5 years. Neither he should be transferred nor he should try for his transfer so as to continue with the project till it is stabilised.

b) Appropriate user charges to be put in place starting from day one to ensure self sustenance of the project. This would translate into requirement of first finding out the probable demand on the system on one side and the recurring cost of the system on other side only after both are known that one can fix user charges.

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