Welfare through e-Kalyan

L Khiangte IAS

“e-Kalyan has tremendously improved the delivery system and it has made the processes more convenient,” says L Khiangte. In conversation with Kartik Sharma & Souvik Goswami

Please tell us about the initiatives being undertaken by the Department of Welfare in the State of Jharkhand?
The Department of Welfare deals with the welfare of the Schedule Caste, Schedule Tribes, Backward Classes and the Minorities. Our focus is on the livelihood, education, infrastructure development and health issues. In the education sector, an important component is the scholarship scheme which is provided to the students from pre matric to post matric level. In 2013-14 there are 7,28,465 beneficiaries in pre matric and 3,11,256 beneficiaries in post matric scholarship scheme. The Department also runs a total of 132 residential schools from class 1-12, in different combination of primary, middle, high and higher secondary schools.

We also construct boys/girls hostels not only for government but also to the non government schools and colleges. Another important intervention is the distribution of cycles, initially to girl students who completed their Class 8, and later to boy students. This scheme has had a very positive impact, particularly in empowering the girl child.

Please tell us about the initiatives being taken in Health sector.
In the field of health, we are running 50 bedded hospitals in the remote areas of nine districts. This year we are planning to include 5 more such hospitals through PPP mode. With this, all the Fifth Scheduled districts of the Constitution of India in Jharkhand will be covered. The hospitals are also linked with the district health authorities for providing services under different programmes of the Health Department.

Can you tell us about the activities of the Jharkhand Tribal Development Society?
The Jharkhand Tribal Development Society (JTDS) was registered in 2002 to implement the IFAD sponsored Jharkhand Tribal Livelihood Programme from 2003-2012. JTLP covered 330 villages of five districts of Ranchi, Khunti, Saraikela-Kharsawan, East Singbhum and West Singbhum. Under this programme, the GramSabha’s have been empowered to plan, implement and manage their village development agenda. They received funds in their accounts directly from the JTDS and utilized them as per the Gram Sabha Resource Management Plan. A total of 1496 women Self Help Groups have been formed in these villages with 16519 members. The SHG’s have savings of Rs. 2.3 cr. and credit linkage of over Rs. 3.8 cr. with the banks. Under the micro-watershed schemes, about 43,800 hectares of barren land have been brought under irrigation. This programme is now being up-scaled as the Jharkhand Tribal Empowerment and Livelihood Programme (JTELP), supported by IFAD, for the next eight years from 2013-2020 covering 1350 villages in all the 14 Tribal Sub Plan districts.

Please share with us the various aspects of the ‘e-Kalyan’ project and how far do you think this type of e-governance program can help you in providing services to the citizen?
e-Kalyan was started in 2008 with the help of the Jharkhand Agency for the Promotion of Information Technology (JAP-IT). Initially there were some technical issues involved and it picked up in 2010 and in 2012 the total e-delivery of the post-matric scholarship was done. Before this the delivery of the institutional & maintenance fees was through this NEFT/ RTGES transfers. Thereafter, provision for online application was followed with submission of hard copy of the certificates for verifications. From this year we have done away with the process of submissions of hard copy also and now scanned documents can be uploaded. This has enabled savings of over 35 lakhs of pages making it a green and eco-friendly project. From this year online application for pre matric scholarship has started with over 7 lakhs applications received online from class 7 onwards in the past three months. This has tremendously improved the delivery system and has made the processes more convenient for the students. Institutions also register themselves online with their details.

“We are looking into the welfare of the scheduled caste, scheduled tribes, backward classes and the minorities”

Is there any initiative being taken for leveraging the UID platform?
Aadhaar DBT is integrated with the post matric scholarship scheme. Likewise, the pre matric scholarship is being integrated from this year. E-Kalyan is the first application to implement RASF (Remote Aadhar Seeding Framework) verification on a large scale along with bank seeding, NPCI updation, EID to UID conversion (14 & 28 digit), linking with treasury, geo-tagging, mobile application, e-TAAL integration, dedicated web hosting, among others. We have also made provisions of sms and e-mail based system by which students can get information regarding their application status in real time.

How will you evaluate the progress of e-Kalyan project?
I would say that the e-Kalyan project has been a very satisfying project where there has been a successful re-engineering of processes from the point of view of the users- student, bank, UIDAI and the Department- a successful reverse-value chain endevour.

What are the challenges in terms of adopting such ICT techniques for delivery of services?
There were challenges, both technical and non-technical. The technical challenges were in the form of hardware choices and development of applications to cater to the sudden increase in the flow and management of data. The non-technical challenge was in managing the back-end office change management involving those persons who have been implementing the scheme at different levels on manual model since over decades. Ultimately, with dedication and team work, e-kalyan has made a successful entry in leveraging IT for the convenience and benefit of all the stakeholders