Digital India programme will help in making governance and delivery of government services efficient, says Ajay Chagti during a conversation with Souvik Goswami of Elets News Network (ENN)
What are the best five e-Governance programmes in your state?
These are e-district, e-procurement, online property tax, content management system and GIS applications for planning.
What, according to you, has been the major impact of ICT initiatives on increasing effectiveness and efficiency of functioning of government departments?
The outcome of various IT initiatives are development of an IT culture amongst public servants, enhanced satisfaction (survey by IIPA Delhi), reduced number of visits to government offices, 24×7 service availability of many services, reduced time taken for delivery, reduction in uncertainty in delivery, increase in transparency and accountability, and reduction in traffic congestion as well as pollution. Total savings for citizens are estimated at about Rs 300 crore just because of reduced number of visits for availing services.
How has a common man come to see a government committed to delivering the services?
The Delhi Right of Citizen to Time Bound Delivery of Services Act, 2011 has been enforced from 15th September 2011. 361 Services of 37 departments/organisations have been notified under the Act till now. Legal framework for electronic delivery of services has been provided through National Capital Territory of Delhi Information Technology (Electronic Service Delivery) Rules in Dec 2012. Initially, 32 services of four departments were notified. Another 140-odd services are expected to be notified shortly.
All utility services are available online, including e-payment for bills and applying for new connection, disconnection, mutation etc. Municipal Corporation of Delhi was one of the pioneers in introducing online property tax filing facility. Building plans are given online approval. Various licences and common services like birth and death certificates are processed online.
e-Gov projects are at various stages of implementation. Trade and Taxes Department introduced online registration w.e.f. 01.04.2013 (PAN verification through NSDL as pre-requisite and now link registration to UID). Online filing of all returns is encouraged. Online payment of tax is facilitated through 22 authorised banks. All statutory forms, i.e. C, F, E, H, are issued online. TDS certificates are available in demat form. Selection of dealers for enforcement and audit is done by automated system.
The Excise Supply Chain Information Management System, which was declared golive last year, has facilitated automated data capture at vends, real-time inventory visibility resulting in better inventory management, any time order/payment, online permit approval resulting in faster permit availability and online grievance redressal.
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Food and Supplies Department has seeded more than 64 lakh Aadhaar numbers in the ration card database to map the beneficiary one to one.
Do you think that implementation of e-Governance related ICT initiatives has started gradual transformation of bureaucracy, administrative structures? How does the department function? Please elaborate.
Time-bound delivery of services Act has enabled a culture of service delivery. A survey by MDI Gurgaon in 2012 revealed the following changes in service delivery:
|Parameter||After eSLA||Before eSLA|
|Courtesy of staff||3.9||2.1|
|Commitment to time frame||3.9||2.0|
|Predictability of delivery time||3.7||1.8|
As timelines were fixed for various steps/ sub-processes for service delivery, every official, involved in the delivery of citizen services, became accountable. Online databases and operations have facilitated faster turnaround time, better accounting, statistics, planning, monitoring and quality of decisionmaking. ICT has enabled elimination of redundant processes which involved manual intervention.
Is governmental department management and internal reporting affected by e-Governance project execution?
The online monitoring system captures the submission of service applications and their disposal electronically through a central software. Various departments’ data is integrated and linked to the central software which can then be used to generate reports and evaluations that assist higher authorities in overseeing and monitoring the performance of their departments and tracking delays, with facility for tracking status of each application.
What have been the major challenges so far in implementation of e-Governance projects in state and how has the department overcome them?
Among the major challenges are lack of ownership, bureaucratic resistance, inter-agency coordination, scope of work not being defined in detail, lack of procedures for sharing data amongst departments, transfer of vendor’s employees midway during project implementation, capacity building of resources, etc.
What are the future ICT initiatives on the anvil to bring in more transparency and provide better platform for G2C services?
Future ICT initiatives would be in the areas of mandatory electronic delivery of services, cloud based services, integration of services and platforms (UIDAI, Payment Gateway, Mobile Platform), digital literacy and Government process re-engineering while implementing e-Gov projects.
Capacity building and working pattern of employees working in a state are keys to successful implementation of e-Governance project. How has your state planned to achieve the same?
IT Department has been conducting trainings for officers and staff on various topics like basic and advanced computer skills (one batch every week). Further, workshops on specialised subjects like government process re-engineering, project management, information security, RFP preparation and knowledge exchange etc. are held once in a month or so. Knowledge Exchange workshops on e-Governance were also conducted to share the best practices among departments of GNCTD. IT department has been utilizing the services of NISG and NIELIT with funding under Capacity Building programme of DeitY, Government of India. Earlier, a leadership meet for the elected representatives was also organized to sensitise them to the potential of e-governance. Different departments also hold trainings at their level separately.
The new government at the Centre has approved of Rs 1.13 lakh crore for Digital India project. How, according to you, it will benefit the population at large in your state?
The benefits of Digital India project will be (a) provision of digital infrastructure as a utility to every citizen (b) governance and services on demand and (c) digital empowerment of citizens. It is transformative in nature, as technology will become central to enabling changes thereby preparing Delhi and other states/ UTs for a knowledge future.
Challenges would be in developing capacity (including NIC) to implement the programme, leadership support, provision of requisite funds, imparting project management skills and coordination issues.
“Various IT initiatives have manifested in development of an IT culture amongst public servants, enhanced people’s satisfaction, reduced number of visits to government offices, 24×7 service availability of many services and reduced time taken for delivery, among others”
Successful e-Governance plan has clearly defined objectives to be met. Is your state doing any post-project analysis to understand the progress of e-Governance projects? Please elaborate.
Individual projects are evaluated subsequent to implementation by apex committees/departments concerned on various parameters e.g. efficiency, user-convenience, security, scalability for expansion, sustainability, legal changes, revenue and cost trends.