There may be services and services targeting the welfare of the masses, but time-bound delivery of services using a judicious blending of ICT and Process Reforms is what would make it meaningful, says Prakash B Rane, Managing Director, ABM Knowledgeware Ltd, in an interaction with Elets News Network (ENN)
ABM Knowledgeware claims that it is delivering over 20 million eGovernance services per year. Can you elaborate on that?
ABM is a category leader in e-municipality space in India with several states selecting ABM for state-wide rollout of e-municipality project. These projects deliver several G2B and G2C services. Municipal processes, which are re-engineered and automated by us, are mainly in the revenue-centric and citizen-centric processes. Some of such prominent processes are Property Tax, Water Charges, Licences, Town Planning, Payments/ Collections through various channels like portals, kiosks, mobiles, pay cards, issuance of various NOCs, certificates, etc.
eGovernance is defined in various ways. But, we believe that “eGovernance is all about Citizens, Citizens are all about Services, Services are meaningful only if provided in a time-bound manner, and time-bound delivery of services is possible only by blending ICT and Process Reforms”
Is mGovernance gradually edging out eGovernance tools? Are you offering/ planning to offer some solutions there?
in a more convenient manner and with ease. eGovernance provides the vital backbone for making these services ‘complete and endto- end’. With falling prices of smartphones, bandwidth availability and surge in penetration of mobiles in the country, mobile is turning out to be a powerful device for delivering government services.
However, the convenience offered by mobile depends on the nature of service. So, while it is correct to say that mobile has reduced the need to use service delivery channels, like walk-in facilitation centers or government offices, it will not be correct to say that mGovernance will edge out eGovernance. Both compliment each other.
ABM offers eGovernance solutions, with many services offered online and on mobile, e.g. enquiring the status of applications, query of dues and making online payments, searching and viewing any registration details, filling RTI query and checking the response received, clicking a photo and uploading through GPS to update the progress of building construction or any building permission, etc.
Digital India programme is an ocean of opportunities for IT service providers. What are your views about it?
Digital India is a very comprehensive programme, which will streamline the ongoing programmes with sharper focus on the desired outcome. From execution viewpoint, Digital India has nine pillars — Broadband Highway, Universal Connectivity to Mobile Services, Public Access to Internet, Early Harvest programmes, Information for All, IT for Job, Electronics Manufacturing to target ‘Net Zero’ imports by 2020, eGovernance and eKranti, i.e. electronic delivery of services.
One can safely assume that once the Digital India programme gains momentum, it will offer immense opportunities to IT services companies, as government departments will start rolling out RFPs to execute projects. Due to deeper penetration of Internet and broadband, delivery of citizen/business services will become easier and cheaper.
What are the major challenges faced in expediting eGovernance?
There are several challenges faced by the administration and IT companies, who want to be part of this ambitious Digital India mission. NASSCOM has been focussing on these aspects for some time now. On the ground, the enthusiasm of IT companies to participate in government tenders is waning. Adequate bidders do not participate in tenders due to lack of balanced conditions of RFPs. The appetite of administration to take bold and innovative decisions carrying risk of making bonafide mistakes is also reducing. This, in turn, is affecting project conceptualisation, finalisation and execution. This may encourage eGovernance projects, which do not focus on vital aspects like BPR, thorough automation of back-end processes, legacy data sanitisation and institutionalisation of IT. This can lead to shift in focus on low hanging fruits, like some mobile apps or front-end based online services without an automated back-end. This needs to change.