July 2014

On Time, Every Time with ‘Sakala’

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Manoj Rajan,

Manoj Rajan,
Additional Secretary, Department of Administrative Reforms,
Government of Karnataka,

Manoj Rajan, Additional Secretary, Department of Administrative Reforms, Government of Karnataka, speaks about the various reforms brought through introduction of IT in the government departments of the state

The Right to Public Services in Karnataka is known as ‘Sakala’, which means ‘in time/Good time’. The Government of Karnataka in 2011 introduced a revolutionary programme whose objective was to standardise and simplify citizen service delivery mechanism. It also made the government accountable to its citizens. And today, the government delivers services to the citizens in a time-bound manner.

The innovation of the service delivery model was triggered by an old widow who followed the Chief Minister at his public meetings across the state, just to tell him that she was not getting her widow pension. This sparked off an innovation, and later it was made mandatory to deliver public services to the citizens on time, or else, the officers concerned would be held accountable.

Initially, we faced challenges in terms of acceptability of the new system in the government setup. The heterogeneity, red-tapism and unwillingness to learn were some of the major hurdles we faced while making the departments converge on a single platform.

To ease the situation, we talked to various departments to understand their concerns. We asked them about their workflow process, timeline required to deliver services, accountability issues and the documents needed from the citizens. After that a dedicated portal was created for all the 47 departments and their 478 services. We made it mandatory that if a citizen completes the documental formalities, the services must be delivered within a fixed period.
To deliver these services, all one needs is the Internet.

‘Sakala’ service delivery model was triggered by an old widow who followed the Chief Minister at his public meetings just to tell him that she was not getting her widow pension

 The process
A citizen goes to a Sakala counter, chooses the service, gives his details for the service required, gets the acknowledgement slip, and soon after, gets the service.

There is a display board in front of each office, and delay in services will attract a Rs 20 fine. Although the penalty is less, but after seven such delays a disciplinary inquiry would be initiated against the official concerned.

Going by the statistics, Karnataka in the last two years has seen on-time delivery of 98 percent of the public services.
Key achievements of the project are 100 percent transparency, 100 percent accountability and empowerment of citizens to avail the services.
Sakala model can be applied in other states as well. In areas where there is not enough Internet penetration, private cyber cafés can be engaged to deliver online services.

According to a recent survey, 99 percent customers are satisfied with Sakala, compared to 46 percent previously, who said that impolite officials and insufficient knowledge of the available services prevented them from availing those on time. However, of late, following gradual spread of awareness and call center help, it has become easier for them to avail the services on time. Even the government employees’ mindset has changed and now they believe that they must deliver on time.

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