Government of J&K is implementing diverse e-Governance projects for empowering the citizens living in far-flung areas of the state
Shafqat Bashir, Principal Consultant (Head SeMT), Government of Jammu & Kashmir
Government of J&K started an initiative called JK Pulse to monitor ongoing projects using mobile technologies on open platforms. This application has been developed on open source Android platform and is being used by field level officers, currently in five districts.
The rollout of the JK PULSE for the BADP program was done in December 2012, initially for the two remote pilot districts of Rajouri and Poonch. The telecom connectivity in these districts is not very good; hence it was challenging to rollout this application. There were many sites where there was no connectivity. In order to make the project a success the IT department provided in-house support to these districts and facilitated the rollout.
Empowering the citizens
When the Village Level Worker clicks the picture, the application geo tags and time stamps the picture. The VLW has the option of entering any text (comments) if he wants to. The application then uploads it to central server. The update is now available to every user higher up in hierarchy. BDO (or first level reviewer) gets a notification of upload on his dashboard. He has the option to add his inputs to the upload. Similarly, other officers up in the hierarchy have the option to add their inputs on the upload.
In this way, the information that takes days (at times months) is available instantly to concerned officers. There is no need for any paper based reports thereby making one vertical of government functioning paperless. Further, reports can be generated which shows pictures and all comments associated with every visit, which clearly shows the progress of a particular project. First implementation of the project was done for Border Area Development Program. It has been rolled out in five of the 11 border districts. Remaining six border districts will be rolled out in due course of time.
Features of JK Pulse Application
a. Inspecting officer can click photographs of the location and can give real time comments and status report of the scheme.
b. The Pictures are embedded with the Geo Tags (Location coordinates) and Time Stamp (Date and Time) so that there is minimal chance of status tampering.
c. The Picture / Status once captured by the inspecting officer are out of his control to delete or modify.
d. The connectivity challenges are addressed as application works in ofline mode as well. The inspection report gets uploaded in the system once the device enters a zone where connectivity is present automatically.
e. The levelled hierarchy is maintained where the Access level is secured i.e. user of one block/ district is unable to enter into other block/ district. Level1 – Lowest Level, Level2 – BDO/AE etc, Level3 – DC and Level4 – Director BADP/Sr. Administration.
f. There is a provision of backward communication where the Upper level officers can send messages to the lower levels in case there is a priority for the task.
Benefits of m-Governance
Adoption of m-Governance is always a challenge; most of these electronic solutions which are initiated don’t make the grade due to the lack of interest of the people who would use the application or due to the little Government backing for the same. The Government of J&K has moved one step ahead in this domain also where a Government Officer has been issued to monitor the Border Area development schemes through the mobile application (JK PULSE).
With the success of JK Pulse in BADP, IT Department has extended the program to include the inspection of Khidmat Centres. JaKeGA team has been provided with all infrastructure for this purpose. They travel to a Khidmat Centre, click the picture of VLE in front of the Centre and record their comments. As for BADP, JK Pulse app geo tags and time stamps the picture. Once closed, the picture is uploaded and is available to higher management instantly. Over a period of time, this data can be used for various decision support systems considering that Khidmat Centres are going to be the service delivery points for all e-Services. The well being of Khidmat Centres will be critical at a time when projects like e-District would be rolling out their services in full swing. This project can be extrapolated to any other department in a very short time with customisation.