Interview

In three years, all state departments will be integrated online : Vijayalakshmi Bidari Prasanna, Director – Department of Information Technology, Government of Maharashtra, India

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Vijayalakshmi Bidari Prasanna
Director, Department of Information Technology,
Government of Maharashtra

Tell us more about the novel initiative of introducing an e-Governance policy in the state by DIT, Government of Maharashtra?

The e-Governance policy is headed by a committee of experts headed by Prof Vijay Bhaktar, a well-known technocrat and pioneering work in IT. We have taken inputs also from various stakeholders, this includes all the people working in the government and also from industry including hardware and software, and finally from the general public. The draft policy is now presented in the cabinet. The policy is now due for inauguration. It is very comprehensive as it addresses a lot of common issues such as standardisation, IPR, sharing resources, emphasis on usage of Marathi language using standardised language software. We also have more focus on open source technology. The policy also paves way for a landmark Act that we have formulated called the Maharashtra Mandatory Electronic Delivery of Public Services Act (MMEDPS Act).

Maharashtra Mandatory Electronic Delivery of Public Services Act will be a landmark bill when introduced, what are your views?

Maharashtra Mandatory Electronic Delivery of Public Services Act (MMEDPS Act) 2011 is probably the first state in the country to have initiated the Act in the country wherein citizens have the right to demand for online services from a particular department in the government. He can also have the right to know that in what time-frame the department will deliver the services. He can then appeal to a commissioner who will look into the matter and settle the issue. The Electronic Service Delivery Commissioner will decide on a suitable time-frame for conflict resolution. The legislation also lays down a minimum time-period under which all the departments will have their own website updated with latest information to access them online. Following the website creation, they will try to make all the applications online and also include online payments in due course of time. And within three years, we look forward to an integrated environment wherein first year will have all the information available online, followed by second year in which we aim to make all transactions to be made online and in the third year we would move towards integrated environment wherein the various departments would be linked to each other to resolve all the decisions that require the citizen to interact with multiple agencies in the government. They can talk to each other and offer a single interface for the citizen on the front-end and the back-end has all the departments integrated. We would like to prioritise our services for G2C based on the scale of impact it will have on the population and affect at least one lakh citizens.

The Act is ready and we have taken comments from department of law and judiciary, finance and planning among many others. It is also going in as a Cabinet note for approval.  We are looking to appoint a Commissioner from an IT background from the society who will head the works related to the Act and its implementation in the state.

Mahaonline portal is poised to be the front-end interface of the state government. Tell us more about the project and its deliverables?

We have performed well in our CSCs completion targets and as one tenth of the total roll-out numbers of CSCs,  it is a major contribution to the NeGP plan. We have envisaged the portal to be a single front-end for the entire state. Here we will have all the 8500 CSCs or Maha e-Seva Kendra  in the state for citizens through a single portal. They will be able to upload applications and transactions across all G2C services. The portal will deliver 96 service, operate payments through the e-Payments gateway. This is taken up from the Nanded model that has successfully done these services. No other state has so many applications available through a front-end portal. In a years time we aim to deliver 100 services online for the citizens. We are ready to launch the five e-Districts where we have completed the pilot run.

How do you plan to ensure that these CSCs areviable for the villages?

All our 8500 CSCs are completely manned by entrepreneurs and are offering up to 70-90 online services. Recently we had a CSC operator who brought a nano from his earnings. So our efforts have been to make these centers viable and reliable. We have not yet reached every house but have definitely reached every village. The panchayat system is very strong in Maharashtra and we aim to integrate them with our CSCs. The next level of integration will include the availability of gram panchayat services online which lie mainly in the collectorate and tehsil offices.

DigiGOV has made the DIT in Maharashtra paperless. What are your future plans on the system? 

The document management system or DMS has taken a step forward from DIT and we have now taken up DMS to the entire state, wherein all the important documents will now be available on the portal. This will provide easy access to the documents and also enable a trouble-free search system for any relevant files for the officials apart from saving a lot of space. The judiciary department has come forward with the proposal to digitise all the decisions of the lower courts so that people do not have problems in accessing their orders anytime for any references. Once the history and legacy of any department in entirely digitalised only then can any department can effectively become paperless and digital office  in the true sense. This coincides with our digital journey management system (DJMS) tracking system in which we can track the journey of the document as it travels across the officials in the government and we plan to take it to all the districts.

DigiGOV is already operational in the IT department and through this software all our files are now moved digitally. So our approach has been to start with the older documents so that the past has been digitised and then we integrate them into the current IT platform so that at any time for any reference the documents are all available to us. This will enable us to have a seamless integration of the system.

How have you used the biometric attendance system in the governance systems?

The biometric attendance system is being executed in all government office above 25 employees and these have now being extended to all the ashramshala and gram panchayat schools and CSCs in the state. This is announced to ensure that those who are appointed in the villages such as teachers, doctors and personnel in CSCs are available there. This technology with GPRS integration has the power to monitor the number of doctors, teachers etc. who are appointed and their regularity in these institutions.

UID project has highest number of enrollments in Maharashtra, how do you envisage the project to be used by various state departments?

We currently have the highest number of enrollments in the country and in UID numbers distribution we are currently in third position. We aim to leverage the use of UID in the food and supplies system, education systems, health and all the other departments to ensure that the right beneficiary gets the right benefit. We have also included the UID project in our e-Governance policy to ensure a department-wise integration of the same. We have announced awards and rewards for our collectors and district commissioners to increase enrollments. At the state level we have initiated a reward system with all the secretaries of departments to create UID-based applications who take the initiative to leverage the use of UID within their beneficiaries. The project will direct by benefit the government in terms of cost savings. In terms of GDP percentage, even if we introduce UID in the food and supplies departments, health, education and pension departments we could save 4000

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