Satendra Singh, Secretary of Excise and Prohibition Department with additional charge of IG (Prisons), Government of Jharkhand
Excise and prohibition department is a regulatory department. Main function of the department is to control trade in liquor and other intoxicants in the state and to earn revenue for the state exchequer. This control is exercised through issuance of various permits and licences by the excise officials at the field level and at the headquarters.
What new initiatives are planning to improve efficiency & transparency through deployment of IT solutions?
IT intervention is a must in regulatory departments because every new step has to be performed through a system of predefined rules. The roles of the official are also predefined. Unfortunately, excise department has been the least automated department among regulatory revenue earning departments across states. In the state of Jharkhand, excise department has decided to automate its functioning. IT solution for the department will encompass complete automation of its functioning. Permit and licences will be issued online through a web based system. This will improve delivery of service and effective and easy monitoring of every action of its officials. Integrating this system with data provided by manufacturer and distributor will prevent leakage of revenue.
Do you think the usage of biometric systems can lead to better security in our jails?
I am certainly of that view. Biometric systems not only improve security, they can also be helpful in crime prevention and in crime detection. When biometrics of criminals is stored, they can be tracked more easily by enforcement agencies around the country.
How would you rate the state’s response to e-governance?
State has been at the forefront of initiating e-governance projects despite many handicaps. Improvement in the efficiency of government functions and better delivery of service to citizens has started having impact now. There are some challenges also that we are trying to overcome. Two of the major challenges are linked to the status of basic telecommunication/IT infrastructure and capacity building of all the stakeholders in our e-Governance projects.
What kind of systems do you think are best suited for biometric identification in jails and also for various aspects related to the excise department?
IT solution for jail has two major component PMS (Prisoner Management System) and VMS (Visitor Management System). In both the systems identity of the subject (prisoner and visitor) is very important for identification and tracking for crime prevention. The excise department identification of permit and licence issuing authority for authorisation in the automated system could also be done through the deployment of biometric systems.
Should more biometric solutions be made available to our police forces for quick and accurate processing of individuals and detection of suspects?
Introduction of PMS and VMS has led to creation of a database, the need of the hour is to make this database web-based and make it available online. Effective use of this data base will require efficient tools and solutions for biometrics capturing and processing. As systems go online, the different department across the country will be able to access the biometric data and keep tab on criminal elements.