Interview

Chattisgarh has Several Firsts to its Credit : Aman Kumar Singh, Secretary-in-charge (IT) & CEO ChiPS, Chattisgarh

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Aman Kumar Singh, Secretary-in-charge (IT) & CEO ChiPS, Chattisgarh

What is the approach adopted in implementing the state mission mode project (MMP). What is the progress of their implementation?

Approach in Implementation

Government of Chhattisgarh’s mission is to accelerate the economic development of the state  of Chhattisgarh, through appropriate application of modern technologies and standard management practices in administration. Government of Chhattisgarh has ensured that  government departments, organisations and institutions in the State of Chhattisgarh formulate strategies that encourage private sector activity, increase investment, reward good  organisational and individual performance, increase productivity, promote  accountability and use and manage resources more effi ciently. A major component of this  strategy has been to rebuild, strengthen and modernise the delivery system of Public Service.  Central to this  developmental transformation have been programmes to use modern information and  communication technology tools for leadership, administration and management to bring about  qualitative changes in governance. Chhattisgarh is a state where choice of application is not urban focused and the needs of poor have been specifi cally targeted.

Progress in MMP

State MMP project including CHOiCE, Land records, e-Procurement, Treasury automation, Commercial Tax automation, Smart Card based Transport Management System etc are in advance stages of implementation.

The CHhattisgarh Online information system for Citizen Empowerment (CHOiCE) is a  revolutionary approach to citizen services and provides one stop solution for  anywhereanytime based government. CHOiCE project works on Public Private Partnership  model with the help of private persons appointed as CHOiCE agents. After successful rollout in  the capital city it is now in advance stages of state wide rollout covering 5 districts.

A Geographical Information System (GIS) having 70 layers was developed with technical help  from RRSSC, Nagpur for land records in the state. This was done using satellite data. Natural resource mapping has been carried out on 1:50,000 scales based on satellite  imageries and digital processing.

Chhattisgarh is the fi rst state in India to develop such a comprehensive GIS with 70 layers and Georeferencing of 20,379 village (Cadastral) maps in more than 48,000 sheets was accomplished.

eProcurement project automates the whole purchase cycle in the entire state and major works  departments, which include indent management, e-Tendering & e-Auctions, contract  management, catalogue management, e-Payment, centralised supplier registration and MIS.  The project is implemented on a Public Private Partnership model adopting a Build-Own-Operate (BOO) model.

Entire treasury operation and the commercial tax in the state has been automated. After  successful pilot in state capital, tendering process for selection of PPP partner for state wide  rollout of smart card based transport management system is going on.

How would you rate your state’ progress towards making it an e-Ready state?

Chhattisgarh, with wide-ranging socio-economic disparities is now witnessing the ongoing  Information Technology (IT) revolution. The Government of Chhattisgarh visions ‘Vikas mool  mantra, Aadhar loktantra’ (‘Driving Development through Democratic Governance’) and  believes in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) which is particularly an  important medium for the state in reaching out and improving livelihoods especially for its  44% of Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe population, which has largely remained untouched by modern development.

What are the business opportunities for the private
sector in implementing the various e-Governance Project in your state?

Public-Private Partnership is being thought of for all the upcoming IT projects being planned  for the State. Currently, CHOiCE project uses the decentralised PPP model or Entrepreneurship model where local people become small entrepreneurs. eProcurement is the  fi rst state wide project to be implemented on a PPP model. We also intend to implement our  ambitious Chhattisgarh State Wide Area Network project on PPP model. Similarly other fl  agship e-Governance projects including CSC, Smart Card based Transport Management, State Data Centre etc. are going to be on PPP model.

What are some of the best PPP Practices in your state?

Project CHOiCE is the fl agship project of the state and is among the best PPP model for  creating multiple delivery points for citizen services which are self sustainable and do not  require recurring government support annually. For the fi rst time in country, private  citizens have been notifi ed as public servants under IT Act. This enables CHOiCE agents to process government documents. It is therefore not surprising, that given the low penetration  of Internet and resource constraints, CHOiCE portal has become a popular delivery model as  this has created service centers in urban and rural areas where operators working with  computer terminals, deliver on line services to citizen.

Even illiterate and poor citizens are able to benefi t from such applications, at the same time the state does not have to make any expenditure for creating multiple delivery nodes all across the state. e-Procurement is another example of best PPP practices.

What are the services that are being delivered / planned
through Common Services Centres (CSCs)? What are the steps being taken for better user experience (e.g localisation etc)

CHOiCE is an ideal application to be used for Common Service Centres (CSCs) project. CHOiCE  already has more than 30 G2C and numerous G2B & G2G services. All these services are  ready for us to be deployed for the CSC project. In fact, Chhattisgarh is in an advantageous  position because the successful CHOiCE project in urban areas with the help of CSC project  now would be rolled out in rural areas. Services like Birth/Death Certifi cate, SC/ST Certifi  cate, OBC Certifi cate, Local Resident Certifi cate, Income Certifi cate, NOC of Nazul Land,  Ration Card, Public Grievance, Payment of Electricity Bill, Payment of Property Tax,  Rickshaw License, Permanent Cracker Shop License, Obtaining Nakal of a Document,  Mutation of Property, Building Construction Permission etc. will be offered through the CSC  project.

Please share with us, the capacity building programmes being planned/implemented in your state?

Special thrust has been on capacity building so there is internal capacity in government  departments and organisations for e- Governance project conceptualisation and  implementation in the state. Government of Chhattisgarh is endavouring this in  collaboration with leading management and technology institutes in India. Further to make  independent impact assessment of what has worked, state has institutionalised mechanisms  for change management and impact assessment. The initiatives on capacity building focus,  not only the top most layer of the administrative machinery pyramid i.e. the political  executive but also the humble class IV employees of the government. In a very ambitious IT  training programme, all the government offi cials including the political executives, senior  bureaucrats and various classes of government employees including class IV has been trained.  A scheme of incentives was introduced to motivate all the government employees to  become computer profi cient. NISG (National Institute for Smart Government) and other leading institutes have been identifi ed as organisations to help ‘train the trainer’ to create a  resource pool within the state for this e-Governance initiatives. So far more than 4000  employees and offi cials have been trained. IIM Ahmedabad has assisted in training of key  resource person in complex area such as IT-Project Management, Government Process Re-engineering etc.

We have paid a very systematic and focused attention on the capacity building starting from  the school children. Chhattisgarh Soochana Shakti Yojana provides free computer literacy to  all the schedule caste & schedule tribes girls. The scheme has been highly appreciated and has  won awards at national level. Also, the fi rst e-Class Room in country was inaugurated in  Raipur Engineering College (now NIT) in conjunction with IIT Kanpur. One more e-Class Room  is already functional in Bilaspur Engineering College. We are also setting up 4 more  e-Class Rooms in Science Colleges of Raipur, Rajnandgaon, Kurud and Kawardha. We had done
capacity building programmes of MLAs, ministers and senior government offi cials.

What are the evaluation and monitoring techniques you are adopting to monitor the progress and to assess whether the proposed benefi t are being delivered to the citizen?

e-Governance is desirable, yet it is estimated that only one of every six e-Governance projects succeeds. Chhattisgarh state was fi rst to identify that success of e-Governance project requires:

(1) Participatory approach & cooperation by all stake holders,
(2) Dependable institution and physical infrastructure,
(3) Legal framework and
(4) A right mix of technology with respect to realities and adaptability.

Chhattisgarh has emerged as a leading state which delivers e- Governance projects to the  most ambitious scales for its citizen. The focus of the applications is on both internal effi ciency  and service delivery to citizen. Impact of e-Government is being assessed in a  systematic way in Chhattisgarh and this is done on continuous basis, reports now indicate  that direct cost of access to service by citizen does get reduced. Citizens also experience greater  convenience, but it is diffi cult to measure the impact on transparency and corruption.  Institutions such as IIM-Ahmedabad, NISG, IIT-Kanpur are engaged by the state for such  activities. The state IT team is going to be the fi rst ISO certifi ed government organisation in  the state which indicates our commitment towards process standardisation and continuous  evaluation mechanism. The state is also in process of EPM (Enterprise Project Management)  server implementation as per PMI standard for monitoring ongoing IT Project. For impact  assessment of e-Governance projects, IIM-Ahmedabad has been engaged and state is also  exploring a long term mechanism for continual relations with premier institutions to assist  the state in such matters.

What are your state’s key achievements in implementing e-Governance project?

Chhattisgarh is a young state but it is doing tremendously well in the fi eld of e-Governance and has several fi rst to its credit. To cite a few examples:

The fi rst Human Development Report of Chhattisgarh was prepared by CHiPS. This report was adjudged best report globally and received UNDP Human Development Award in ‘Excellence in Participation and Capacity Building Process’.
First state in India to develop a comprehensive Geographical Information System (GIS) which includes 38 thematic maps layers. The layers also included forest cover, soil types, demography, drainage, mineral, irrigation, watershed etc.
First state in India to digitise and geo-referenced cadastral maps of land parcels for the entire state.
First state in India to provide facility of e-Challan and e-Return for commercial tax department.
First state in India to prepare a comprehensive IT Road  Map for the state.
First e-Classroom in the country established in collaboration with Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur.
First state in the country to initiate Rural Computing at Panchayat level using Simputer under e-Gram Suraj Project.
First state in India to organise a workshop on Smart Government for political executives of the state at NISG, Hyderabad.
Second state in India to implement e-Procurement for Governments procurement.

What are some of the challenges that you are facing in implementing the e-Governance project? How are they being overcome?

Chhattisgarh being mostly a tribal state, the availability of right skilled personnel for the  right task is a key challenge. Also, the mindset and attitude of the government staff to shift from the existing manual working system to an electronic working system is a slow  transformation process as it involves change management. The terrain of Chhattisgarh is also  a key challenge as nearly 50% of the State is under thick forest cover. Another very  important challenge is to get right kind of IT people at the kind of salary we can offer in the government. This challenge assumes a new proportion while dealing with issue of attrition.  Low level of IT infrastructure is another challenge. However, even with all these constraints,

Chhattisgarh is taking innovative strides under the able leadership of our Hon’ble Chief Minister Dr. Raman Singh. What is going to be main focus for the next few years?

Chhattisgarh is the fi rst state in India which is strategically developing an IT Road Map. The task of framing an eGovernment Road Map has been initiated in order to identify the various IT needs and priorities of the departments.

In phase one of the e-Governance Road Map, the Vision, Strategy and Blueprint were prepared. A series of meetings with various departments were held as a part of the vision. The second round of meetings with the departments has been conducted as a part of strategy.

Phase two and phase three of the e-Governance Road Map deals with e-Governance  Programme and the Ecosystem which would be taken up subsequently. At present, the focus is  to build a strong institutional framework in order to sustain the e-Governance projects  being initiated. The individual-based decision making is being transformed into an  institutionbased decision making so as to ensure continuity and uniformity in the process of ensuring sustainable working of e-Governance projects.

We are in the process of implementing CSC projects and these CSCs would act as an extension  of government by providing suitable front end. Our successful choice would be the application  to support all government services. It will piggyback on our State Wide Area Network (SWAN)  which is also under implementation. SWAN will seamlessly connect to propose State  Data Centres which will house mission mode application like CHOICE, GIS, e-Procurement etc.  These would take us closer to the reality of e-Government.

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