January 2012

Online Service Delivery through e-Districts

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www.mit.gov.in

The e-District project is presently being implemented in more than 600 districts and will bring a large number of citizen cervices online

Abhishek Singh, Director, Department of Information Technology, Ministry of Communication and IT, Government of India

Under the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP), the core infrastructure in 27 mission mode  projects is being implemented countrywide. As part of the initial success in the first five years  of the NeGP, the major initiatives that have been implemented are State Wide Area Network  (SWAN), Data Centres, and Common Services Centre (CSC). While setup of SWAN has been  completed in almost 27 to 28 states, Data Centres have been completed in 15 states and in  others, the process in well underway. Around 97,000 CSCs have been established so far. This  includes infrastructure that has been laid down across the country. For citizens to be benefitted,  they now need applications to be delivered for using the infrastructure.

e-District Project

The Mission Mode Projects (MMPs) seek to use this infrastructure to deliver public services to citizens and the e-District Project is one of the important MMPs. This is one of the major initiatives that will undertake automation of backend of District Collector offices, Taluka offices or block offices and deliver high volume of citizen services at district level in an  electronic mode. These services primarily include certificate services like birth, death, caste,  income, domicile, residence; social welfare services like disability pension, old age pensions,  widow pensions, scholarships; Right to Information services, grievance services, services related to revenue court, etc.

“Data Centres have been completed in 15 states and in others, the process in well underway.Around 97,000 CSCs have been established so far”

The e-District project being implemented in a centralised architecture model. There is one software application and one database for all the services, which is hosted in the state data centre. Various field offices communicate and share the information and the data by using the  SWAN. Citizens can access the services through the CSC, as in the eGram centres of Gujarat. For any services request, the citizen can make the application from CSC in place of  residence. The application goes to the state data centre, then state services delivery gateway route the applications to the right field offices and it reaches the field offices on the same day of  the application is filed. After various levels of verification like address proof, income proof, caste proof, etc. done by revenue functionary, the application is uploaded in the system and then the services is delivered electronically to the citizen at the CSC from where the citizen has applied. This eliminates the requirement of any intermediaries, bringing transparency  and accountability in governance.

The government has approved this project to be implemented in all 641 districts in April 2011. It is expected that within two years this project will be implemented across the country. The project provides the funding support of two years for implementation and two years of  support. The initiative focuses on a very key point that it requires a high level of  involvement  of district collectors in implementing the project.

Besides the software application, IT infrastructure, the network, the most critical part in  implementing the pilot e-district project has been the training and change management required at the field level as the functionaries are required to use their digital signatures.  They are also required to have the change of mindset that one can actually deliver the service  without the citizen coming to the government offices. Gujarat will have the head  start, with the ATVT project (Apno Taluka Vibrant Taluka), e-Mamta in the health sector or  eGram project services delivered electronically.

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