Bringing government to the citizen’s doorstep

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Munish Chandan, Senior Consultant, SeMT, Government of Jammu & Kashmir

State Service Delivery Gateway (SSDG) is a unique scheme for empowering the citizens. It will lead to effective e-Governance, and thereby bring positive change in the way the citizens interact with the government departments. The change here is not small; rather it is a paradigm shift. The traditional old manual system is giving way to a more efficient and transparent electronic system of governance.

The SSDG has been formulated under the National e-Governance Plan of the Government of India. It is envisaged that State Portal (SP) along with State Service Delivery Gateway (SSDG) will be developed and implemented so that citizens are provided with outlets where they can access the services under a single interface mechanism in the form of the Portal. Core infrastructure components of the state like SDC, SWAN, etc and the related application and computing Infrastructure will be leveraged through the CSCs for the ultimate benefits of the citizens.

Vision to ease out the Manual process
The primary focus is to provide easy, anywhere and anytime access to Government Services (both Information & Transactional) thereby, reducing number of visits of citizens to a Government office, reducing the administrative burden and service fulfillment time & costs for the Government, Citizens & Businesses and reducing direct interaction of citizen with the Government and encourage – “e” interaction and more efficient communication.

Mileage and Distance so far
J&K has started late; whereas many states are well ahead and have many services operational, we are still to get our first G2C e-Service through SSDG. Currently 7 e-Services have been developed for 3 departments – Health, Social Welfare, and Employment. We have carried out the ground work by building the capacity of the officers by providing them necessary gap infrastructure and hands-on on these Services and process flows. Now the task remaining is of the porting of the gateway application in the State data centre post getting the STQC compliance and then the launch is not far.

The soft /test launch was initiated just in two districts; one block each, and the progress is commendable – in just a couple of months the transaction count is over 1200. The next set of the services to be selected would be from the Public service Guarantee Act of the J&K State and the vision is to have as much as 30 services operational within next 2 years with complete integration with the departmental.

Hurdles in the way
The trepidation in certain government departments about having everything transparent and accountable is a major hurdle. In some officials there is resistance to acclimatize to the new technological trends which are indeed much easier to use. Connectivity is another bottleneck, in certain cases connectivity issues get aggravated due to rough terrain.

State has made advances in building the SWAN which will undoubtedly be the lifeline of these G2C Services. The digitisation of the legacy data is also a challenge and is to be looked into seriously. Lastly the core infrastructure components have to be in place before the dream of complete e Service cycle is complete.

Force to Move things
Strong Administration in the IT department has been a blessing and most of the things have moved in last couple of years only. Further noteworthy consultancy to the state administration at various levels by the SeMT is ensuring appropriate balance between costs, risks, long term and shortterm benefits and is facilitating effective decision making. The department is working hard on the digitisation of legacy data of many departments through the local empanelled companies. The cloud ready SWAN and Data centre would ensure the reach of these services to the remotest corners of the state with minimum effort.

Once a robust architecture and practically improvised and stable system on the delivery of e Services is at hand the plugging in of the other departmental services would be easy. To conclude it would be pertinent to mention that the leap of the state towards e governance would not have been possible without the strong administrative push and the combined zeal to see J&K performing as one of the top states in IT & eGov domain. If continued, the day is not far when we would be proudly sitting on top on the country’s eGov pyramid.

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