Yeshwant V. Gurukar

In the realm of digitization and modernization, Karnataka has been a frontrunner, particularly in its innovative approaches to governance. Spearheading this revolution is the Center for Smart Governance (CSG), an entity dedicated to harnessing technology for the betterment of citizen-government interactions.

It all began with the digitization of land records, marked by the inception of the country’s first digitized land record system, ‘Bhoomi,’ in 2008. Since then, Karnataka has consistently pushed the boundaries of what’s possible in leveraging IT for public service.

Headed by the Center for Smart Governance, a team of over 340 engineers has been tirelessly developing software solutions tailored for government use. One notable achievement is the creation of Kaveri 2, a new registration system streamlining processes such as obtaining marriage certificates. Through Kaveri 2, citizens can now apply for and receive various documents online, eliminating the need for tedious visits to government offices.

Recognizing the pain points often associated with citizen-government interactions, CSG focuses on alleviating these challenges. For instance, real-time tracking of public transport buses through the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KRTC) ensures greater convenience for commuters, potentially boosting revenue for the corporation by enhancing service visibility.

Moreover, CSG has facilitated significant savings and efficiency gains through initiatives like the Unified College and Management Admission System. This platform, adopted by all universities in Karnataka, simplifies the admission process and reduces administrative overhead, saving approximately 300 crores annually.

Another landmark achievement is the development of an integrated Warehouse Management System, which brings transparency and accountability to government-owned warehouses. By digitizing operations and implementing real-time monitoring, instances of corruption and mismanagement have been significantly curtailed.

In addition to these initiatives, CSG is working on a comprehensive mining license system to centralize and regulate mining activities across the state. Using geospatial technology, unauthorized activities can be swiftly identified and addressed, ensuring sustainable resource management.

Furthermore, the introduction of Kumba, a family-based database, has revolutionized social welfare schemes. By proactively identifying eligible beneficiaries, the system expedites the delivery of pensions and other benefits, significantly reducing bureaucratic delays.

The success of Karnataka’s digital initiatives is evident from the overwhelming response to recent projects like Kaveri 2, which generated substantial revenue within days of its launch. Encouraged by this momentum, CSG is venturing into urban local body digitization, aiming to streamline municipal services and vie for national recognition.

Despite these remarkable achievements, Karnataka recognizes that there is still ample room for growth and innovation. By continuing to embrace technology and prioritize citizen-centric solutions, the state is poised to set new benchmarks in digital governance, inspiring others to follow suit.

Views expressed by: Yeshwant V. Gurukar, IAS, Executive Director, Centre for Smart Governance, Government of Karnataka at the 12th eGov Knowledge Exchange Summit, held on October 20, 2023, in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.


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