April 2013

e-Governance at its best

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Sanjay Jaju,
Secretary, Information Technology & Communications Department, Government of Andhra Pradesh

The Ultimate objective of Mee Seva is to bring public services closer home to citizens, as articulated in the vision statement of National e-Governance Plan (NeGP), which takes a holistic view of e-Governance initiatives across the country, integrating them into a collective vision, a shared cause. In State of Andhra Pradesh a massive state-wide infrastructure reaching down to the remotest of villages has come into place, and largescale digitization of records has made it easy for citizens to access easy, reliable services through the Internet or through the Mee Seva centres


Mee Seva has turned out to be a very successful project. What is your view of
 the project? What kind of further developments can be expected?
The progress of Mee Seva is taking place on two fronts. On one hand, we are expanding Mee Seva in our state by adding new services and including more government departments. During the time when we had the eINDIA 2012 in Hyderabad in the month of November last, we were having about 30 services under Mee Seva. The number of services has now come close to 100. By the end of September 2013, we wish to have about 250 services under Mee Seva. We are trying to include all the government departments, which have a citizen interface under Mee Seva. Recently we took the initiative of bringing the police department under in Mee Seva by adding four new services that pertain to the most common services that a citizen can avail from the police department. Mee Seva offers very high degree of transparency and accountability. We are able to keep track of the receipt of applications from the citizens and find out how much time it takes for the services to be actually delivered. This enables us to bring much further improvement in the efficiency of the system .

What kind of response is Mee Seva receiving from other states?
Within the state the Mee Seva Programme has witnessed a massive territorial expansion. As you must know, now the Mee Seva services are being deliveredto the citizens in all parts of the state through more than 6,000 centres. We are now working with the aim of further expanding the scope of the programme by integrating mobile delivery platforms into the Mee Seva platform. A project report has already been submitted to Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY). It is possible for us to provide all kinds of services from Hyderabad. You see, currently Mee Seva is a software that is tightly related to the key e-Governance requirements of the State of Andhra Pradesh. We are now trying to enhance the scope of  Mee Seva by converting it into a system of multiple products, which can be customised according to the needs of various states. Currently we are waiting for other states to respond. I would also like to point out that lot of features of the Mee Seva ave been replicated as a part of the e-District project. The salient features of Mee Seva such as the identification of services as well as the classification of services and also introduction of digital signature have been included in the guidelines that have been developed for the e-District project.

Tell us about the initiatives that you are taking to fulfil your vision of providing 250 services under Mee Seva by September 2013? How do you identify the e-Governance services that are most critically needed by the people?
For identification of services, we began with departments, which have high visibility. We started with the Revenue Department and the District Administration, both of which have a substantial citizen interface. As a part of the project, we covered the Tehsil offices, the district offices as well as the regional collector’s office. After that, we took a look at the various municipalities. We started with the Hyderabad Municipal Corporation, and in a short period of time we were able to develop solutions that were quite beneficial to the people. As it showed results, we slowly expanded it to other municipalities in the state.
It has been our strategy to work very closely with various departments in the state. We have taken the initiative of holding stakeholder consultations and joint workshops with the departments. Through these consultations and workshops we are able to discover the most beneficial services under Mee Seva that any particular department in the state can have. We have also asked various departments to tell us about their most important IT requirements. We are also doing an audit of  the IT preparedness of various departments. Wherever we see a gap in the IT preparedness, we try to bridge it by using the budget that is available with us. I must say that the departments in the state have been very cooperative. Mee Seva has been welcomed with open arms by every department. Without such cooperation we would not have been able to deliver so many services to the citizen in such a short period of time. Currently we are adding two to three new services to the Mee Seva project every month.

In Andhra Pradesh, the Mee Seva centres are playing the role of Common Services Centres (CSCs). What kind of reach do these centres have? Are all the citizens able to avail of the services? After all, the success of the project must depend largely on the reach that the CSCs have.
All the CSCs in the state are called Mee Seva Centres. These centres are there in almost all parts of the State. The amount of transactions being done at the centres is on the rise. Currently we are having close to 70,000 transactions per day. We are envisaging a system where the various centres are able to co-exist and serve the people. In fact, now the Andhra Pradesh IT Department will be offering its Mee Seva service platform to help people get their Aadhaar numbers and ease the rush at the existing enrolment centres. One of the services offered through the Mee Seva centres is for those who have enrolled, but did not receive their numbers or lost their enrolment slips. A new service, Online Slot Booking for Aadhaar Enrolment, is  being developed through a centralised portal to facilitate people to book their slots as per their convenient time. People can update their details, such as name, phone number, residence address and other family members for enrolment, through this service. Once the enrolment slot is booked, the information will be passed on to them through mobile SMS.


“BY THE END OF SEPTEMBER 2013, WE WISH TO HAVE ABOUT 250 SERVICES UNDER MEE SEVA”


Sanjay JajuConnectivity is the key element for the proper functioning of  e-Governance initiatives like the Mee Seva. What steps are being taken to ensure that all the Mee Seva centres are well connected to each other and there is no interruption?
Connectivity is the prerequisite for a Mee Seva centre. Currently we are having a Mee Seva centre for every four to six panchayats. These centres enjoy a good connectivity and are able to provide seamless service to the citizens. Once the National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) project is fully implemented, the panchayats will have access to high-speed broadband. This will lead to further expansion in the scope of Mee Seva. As I already said, in  our next generation model of Mee Seva, we want to include 250 services to its spectrum. We want to have an exclusive Mee Seva centre for every Panchyat. This will make it easier for people in different parts of the state to access services from the government.

As Mee Seva expands in its scope, what kind of technological changes will it incur?
The thing is that Mee Seva is an evolving e-Governance project. There is going to be an upgradation of technology at every stage. There will be process upgradation and infrastructure upgradation. Currently we have crossed one crore and twenty lakh transactions. We want to achieve a mark of one lakh transactions per day. As you already know, we have tied up with Airtel Money, which helps people to pay utility bills. Technological changes will continue to happen at regular intervals so that Mee Seva is able to deliver increasing range of services to the people.

Tell us about the progress that is being made when it comes to implementation of the National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) project in Andhra Pradesh?
Currently the implementation of NOFN in Andhra Pradesh is at its pilot stage. Basically the project is being implemented in pilot in Andhra Pradesh as in the other two states in the country. Parawada district in Vishakhapatnam is one of the sites for this pilot project. In this pilot project we have taken broadband to 15 Panchayats. Once the experiment proves to be successful, it will open vistas of opportunities for expansion of broadband in the state and in the country. There is potential for unlimited benefits from NOFN.

 

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