There is no need for the citizens to interact with the officials for most of the services, and it has been made possible due to a strong Mee Seva network in the state, says GT Venkateshwara Rao, Commissioner, Electronic Service Delivery and Mee Seva, Government of Telangana, in conversation with Sudheer Goutham of Elets News Network (ENN).
“We have over 4,500 Mee Seva centres across the state at the mandal-level and citizens are availing them by paying nominal user charges.”
Telangana has a legacy of being a frontrunner in e-Governance, innovation and integration of information technology (IT) for administration and delivering services to citizens. Can you highlight the work taken up by your department?
The information and communication technology (ICT) initiatives that were taken up in undivided Andhra Pradesh for better service delivery included e-Procurement, digitisation of records, transport services, Mee Seva, eSeva services and many others that became national models and were replicated across the country Telangana IT Minister’s vision is to have contactless service delivery for increased transparency and accountability in the state. This has been the core principle of Mee Seva and eSeva initiatives and, over the time, we have increased the number of services through these platforms. However, we understood that only 20 per cent of the citizens were availing these services due to certain challenges, including lack of ICT infrastructure and digital literacy. Therefore, the government came up with the assisted online service initiatives which are powered by trained staff members.
We have over 4,500 Mee Seva centres across the state at the mandal level and citizens are availing services offered by them by paying nominal user charges.
The system is accepted so well that over 1.25- 2 lakh transactions take place each day. At present, over 600 services are provided through these platforms, covering 34 different departments. This demonstrates the trust citizens have developed on the system.
A rapid transformation can be seen in other departments of the state in terms of integration of e-Governance and service delivery. Can you tell us about the collaborations of the IT department with the user departments?
Ever since our Hon’ble IT Minister KT Rama Rao and Principal Secretary of IT Department Jayesh Ranjan took charge of the department, the perception towards the IT Department has changed. Unlike earlier, when the department was confined to supplying hardware and handling some projects internally, the collaboration of IT Department with other user departments has increased rapidly in the past few years.
The Civil Supplies Department took up a series of IT initiatives including benefit transfers to farmers, tracking civil supply vehicles and others, while the Transport Department could offer its complete range services online, which can also be availed through Mee Seva centres.
The Transport Department alone accounts for 25,000-30,000 transactions through Mee Seva. There is no need for the citizens to interact with the officials anymore, and it has been made possible due to a strong Mee Seva network in the state. Even the State Police Department is ensuring smart and safe policing and issuing contactless challans through various IT initiatives.
These initiatives, besides bringing about transparency and accountability, also increased the revenue of the Traffic Police Department. The state civic bodies including Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) and others have made several of their services online through MyGHMC App, biometric attendance, online building permissions, GPS tracking of bin vehicles and others.
Similar IT initiatives were taken up by the State Health and Education departments in collaboration with the IT Department. The tremendous work in IT initiatives has fetched the State Government national recognitions. Amongst all the states in the country, Telangana has been recognised as the best state in terms of e-Governance initiatives for the year 2017 by CSI Nihilent and in 2016, Telangana bagged 46 awards (across all the departments) out of the total 100 Skoch Awards.
Can you tell us about the m-Governance initiatives taken up by the State Government?
Keeping pace with the fast progressing technology, the State Government has made available several citizen services on mobile. One of the first and most successful government mobile app is RTA M-Wallet, which allows a motorist to digitally store his driving license, vehicle registration and other related documents. Since its launch, over 12 lakh RTA M-Wallet downloads speak volumes about its acceptance. It is the highest downloaded government app in India. Similarly, GHMC has launched MyGHMC mobile app which allows the citizens to avail all the government services, register complaints and resolve civic grievances online.
Can you tell us about the T-Folio project of the IT Department which is believed to be yet another significant initiative towards m-Governance?
We have embarked on a major project called ‘T-Folio’ that will facilitate future upgradations and integrations in the m-Governance space. Mobile app is one of the key elements of m-Governance, while there are other essential infrastructure aspects including payment gateways, SMS gateway, USSD and IVRS Gateway to keep the system of m-Governance running.
Every department that wants to progress towards m-Governance needs to build the entire infrastructure in addition to mobile app. However, the IT Department is building a central m-Governance infrastructure – T-Folio – and providing it to the user department. With T-Folio, the user department that wants to take an m-Governance initiative can just create a mobile app and integrate it to T-Folio and it will be ready to use in one day. We have been working on the T-Folio for the past one and a half year in collaboration with National Institute of Smart Governance on DPR, RFP and other related works.
The IT Department will be the first government department to use this platform, where 150 services provided through Mee-Seva will be made available through this T-Folio on mobiles. In phase-2 and phase-3, the remaining 250 services that are provided through Mee-Seva, will be made available on the mobile with a time-span of six months for each phase.
This is a very unique initiative and Telangana is only the second state to implement it, while Karnataka is the first state that introduced this system through Mobile One project. The pricing will also be very competitive.