Learner’s Submission: Knowledge Management implemented through NISG and TKDL

22/05/2015

” Introduction:

Government of India along with NASSCOM put together National Institute for Smart Governance (NISG) to improve service delivery in the exploding digital landscape. This institute utilizes Knowledge Management & Capacity Building along with other mechanisms to achieve the vision of making all public services accessible to common man.

This entails delivery of public services in a transparent way at reduced costs while minimizing overheads in an efficient and effective manner. In doing so, the government is trying to ensure all the benefits reach the intended recipients while reducing corruption. It is bringing in Industry to participate in this initiative by creating opportunities which in turn generate employment and secondary markets.

Here we look at top benefits for the three key stakeholders – Citizens, Government and Industry – who can reap the rewards of implementing such an initiative.

Benefits to Citizens

  • Multi-channel service delivery through internet, mobile, kiosks, ATMs, banks other than existing government channels removing waiting times saving countless man hours while reducing costs
  • Transparent mechanism help citizens track their services, complaints and requests in real time
  • Digital revolution creates empowered citizens who can be more engaging with the government and active in shaping nation’s progress
  • Reduced corruption means more hassle free day-to-day life for citizens without fear or favor
  • Better quality of life where citizens receive better outcomes of developments

Benefits to Government

  • Faster, effective, efficient decision making while mitigating risk helps create better policies
  • Enhances coordination and collaboration between various as federal & state departments thus reducing to and fro communication
  • Direct feedback from citizens, experts, stakeholders helps in fine tuning implementation mechanism of various policies
  • Higher productivity of government employees and effective management at granular level helps in optimizing scare resources in welfare of citizens
  • The monetary benefits thus accrued can be channelized into other key areas primary healthcare, education and nation building.

Benefits to Industry

  • Investing in KM systems can help create an ecosystem for R&D technologies which in turn creates IPR based innovations and inventions
  • Market penetration through new products for current markets or creating future markets
  • Increasing growth by implementing new business models thereby creating new revenue channels leading to greater employment and driving demand for more products/services
  • Better training leveraging the accumulated knowledge leading to higher skilled resources
  • Reduced corruption brings in more investment, creates more entrepreneurs, reduces business risk and improves overall economy of the nation leading to holistic growth

Next example is about not having Knowledge base. This lack of an integrated system to capitalize on traditional Indian knowledge as Intellectual Property Rights can be found in the patent cases of Neem, Turmeric, Jamun, Karela, etc. Products created from these traditional formulations have been patented in other countries resulting in loss of IPR, revenue, employment and creation of new industries.

This highlighted the need to consolidate, protect, preserve and propagate such ancient knowledge. Government entities like Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR); Ministry of Science & Technology; Department of Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha & Homoeopathy (AYUSH); Ministry of Health & Family Welfare came together to form Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL).

TKDL developed an innovative structured classification system for the purpose of systematic arrangement, dissemination and retrieval has been evolved for about 25,000 subgroups against few subgroups that were available in earlier version of the International Patent Classification (IPC), related to medicinal plants, minerals, animal resources, effects and diseases, methods of preparations, mode of administration, etc.

This initiative will help fight future cases of bio-piracy, related legal issues and easy processing of patents based on this traditional knowledge. Additional benefits could be the preservation of such ancient wisdom gathered across the nation for future generations to cherish and make the best use for greater good.” – Soumitri Murthinty, Maharashtra, India

References:

http://nisg.org/page/8

http://www.tkdl.res.in/


Learner’s Submission: Online Public Service in India

17/03/2015

“Service: Integrated Transport Management System

Domain: Surface Transport, India

Area: Toll collection for using road network

Activity: Travel within country

Introduction:

India is a subcontinent with large road networks. Government is presently working to expand and upgrade the roadways in a big way. This move is welcome however it also needs to address various related challenges upfront at the planning stage itself. Here we are trying to address some key issues faced by road users who primarily travel on holiday or pilgrimage.

Though there are many experts who can pin point the challenges in the road infrastructure, here we are highlighting a few along with the possible suggestions to make the everyday users’ life better.

Top 5 challenges to end users:

  • Frequent cash payments of various denominations leading to shortage of smaller currency
  • Lack of single payment facility
  • Unable to validate whether the toll collection booths are legitimate or fake
  • Long waiting times leading to higher fuel consumption and frustration
  • Multiple helpline numbers cause confusion as there is no single mechanism to handle road emergency

Some of the other challenges that can be addressed simultaneously are

  • No feedback mechanism
  • No single channel to address tolls spread across multiple regions
  • Lack of verification mechanism to address legitimacy, security& authenticity concerns
  • No clarity in terms of start and closure of the toll roads
  • Paper wastage due to issue of paper based permits, receipts, certificates, etc.
  • Details of the use of the funds, duration of collection of fee, responsible stakeholders, etc. are not easily available
  • Checking of cargo vehicles by RTA at entry/exit points of provinces blocks the roads and increases travel time
  • Updates on road conditions, changes in fees, change of helpline numbers, etc.

Top 5 requirements of end users:

  • Simple, robust, easy to use, fast and handy system preferably mobile based as it is widely in use
  • Support multiple languages for greater penetration and ease of usage
  • Secure payment mechanism supporting multiple channels
  • Reduce waiting time & resultant frustration when people cut lines to get ahead
  • Value add in terms of ascertain authenticity of toll booths, traffic updates, complaint & feedback mechanism directed to right point of contacts and helpline numbers to reach out in case of different type of emergencies

Suggested solution:

The solution is for developing a mechanism which brings together disparate agencies under one environment by providing a seamless and single window service which is simple, fast, secure and easy to use.

Top 5 benefits that can accrue through it would be

  • Reduced fuel consumption leading to higher savings and reduced crude oil imports saving precious foreign exchange
  • Reduced greenhouse emissions and lower carbon footprint
  • Brings together vehicles, road users, payments and security under a single system thus creating an ecosystem which all the other stakeholders can take benefit from to come up innovative solutions to address existing or future challenges
  • Empowering users to choose from multiple channels to pay for the road fee as convenient to them including pre-paying thus reducing waiting time at toll booths
  • Reduced paper wastage leading to lower deforestation

Indirect associated benefits, which are often ignored, are

  • A nationwide integrated transport network as envisioned under the Digital India movement
  • Linked to all RTA of all provinces thus tracking the status of vehicles, avoiding duplication, status of various vehicle certificates
  • When linked to Homeland Security, this can track suspicious persons escaping the area of crime and direct nearest patrol for interception
  • Can be linked to existing Payment Gateways to leverage the infrastructure available for online payments via web or mobile channels
  • A mobile based app can help sync with Google maps to accurately track the vehicle and provide real time requisite updates
  • Since bar code readers are already existing, an electronic or printable copy of a single page can quickly scan to confirm the pre-payment and reduce waiting times
  • Having the system catering to regional languages will help cover all provinces to make the investment viable and increase the penetration

Conclusion:

By creating an information technology based environment can open plethora of opportunities for all stakeholders to come up with new or improved services which addresses current and future needs in a quick and simple manner.

The points noted here would immensely benefit regular road users like transport and logistic companies. All stakeholders putting their weight behind such an initiative would make life better for all.

A service can only become great when the elements of planning, design, infrastructure, implementation, training, operation and maintenance are done in time and with right quality.” – Soumitri Murthinty – Maharashtra, India


Learner’s Submission: Role of Common Service Centres (CSC) in Puducherry Union Territory

18/03/2014

“Under the National E-governance Plan consist of 31 mission mode projects (MMP) classified as below.

  • Central mission mode projects (11)
  • State mission mode projects(13)
  • Integrated mission mode projects(7)

Common service centres is an integrated Mission Mode Project which aims at providing high quality services under Government to citizen(G2C), Government to business (G2B), Government to Government( G2G) in a cost effective manner. Approval of common services centre was given in may 2006.

With the help of the SWAN (state wide area network), SDC (state data centre) the CSC are delivering the services.

SWAN aims at providing a minimum bandwidth of 2Mbps transferring data voice and video communications throughout the network. SWAN POP(point of presence) helps in vertical and horizontal connectivity.

The Puducherry Government, through the Department of Information Technology created   a road map with the implementation of the Common Services Centre’s scheme for the Union Territory with the consultation support of the appointed National Level Service Agency (NLSA) by the Department of Information Technology, Government of India to roll out 66 CSC’s.

This scheme was planned to be implemented by PPP framework (Public-Private Partnership) with village level entrepreneur (VLE) will be the CSC operators, Service Centre Agency (SCA) is Tera Software Limited. The Puducherry E-Governance society is the State Designated Agency (SDA).

Puducherry union territory comprises of four regions.

  • Puducherry
  • Karaikal
  • Mahe
  • Yanam

At present 56 CSC have been rolled out comprising all the four regions.

Services provided by the CSC for the citizen

  • Issue of birth certificate
  • Issue of death certificate
  • Issue of patta copy

At a nominal cost.

The certificates issued by these centres can be verified by the verification code provide at the end of the certificate issued. The verification can be done online at the hyperlink given below http://puduvaisevai.py.gov.in/revenue/ECOnlineVerification.aspx .

The common service centres are classified as rural and urban centres. More rural centres are envisaged when compared to that of urban centres. The list of address of the various CSC their location is given in the state portal website https:// www.py.gov.in. Which was developed and designed by the national informatics centre, Puducherry.” – Prabhu Djeapragassam – Puducherry, India

REFERENCE:

1) http://deity.gov.in/content/common-services-centers

2)http://dit.puducherry.gov.in/pages/DIT_CSCs.html

3) http://dit.puducherry.gov.in/pages/DIT_ProjectStatus.html


Learner’s Submission: Online Public Services in India

27/01/2014

“I have used several online Services like Passport Seva Portal (www. passportindia.gov.in), MCA 21(http://www.mca.gov.in/MCA21/), RTI Online (http://rtionline.gov.in/), Income Tax E-Filing (https://incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in/), Employment Bank (http://employmentbankwb.gov.in/), National Employment Service (http://www.employmentservice.nic.in/), etc.

In India e- Governance was initiated by National e-Governance Plan of Indian Government which was take on May 18, 2006. Several Central Government/ State Governments have/ had installed online public services. Those services are categorized as Citizens Services, Business Services and Government Services
The e-Governance Standards have been divided into categories like – Policy or Frameworks, Standards, Guidelines. Various Expert Committees have been setup in priority areas, like Metadata and Data Standards (MDDS), Biometrics, Localization, Security, Mobile Governance, Interoperability Framework for e-Governance in India (IFEG), Digital Signature, etc. to formulate standards.
This e-Governance Standards portal provides a platform for sharing of ideas, knowledge, and draft documents among the members of various committees involved in standards formulation process. It also has a provision for web publication of draft documents for review comments by the Closed User Group and the Public. The duly approved standards by Government’s Apex body consisting of Senior Strategic members from: Deity, NIC, NASSCOM, BIS, CDAC, Planning Commission etc. would be released on this portal for free download and usage.
Key projects and enterprises of public welfare and governance get stalled due to lack of consensus among the stakeholders and later results into implementation interruptions and over budgeting.

In spite of such challenges, India has seen some of the biggest e-Governance initiatives in recent times including the establishment of common and support IT infrastructure such as State Wide Area Networks (SWANs), State Data Centers (SDCs), Common Services Centers (CSCs) and Electronic Service Delivery Gateways.
This initiative has provided a solid framework across the nation to figure and roll out, a wide range of e-Governance programs by numerous government bodies and ministries. For instance, the passport seva kendras, digitization of postal department, online income and sales tax collections, implementation of a single core banking platform across all 14 nationalized banks, voter identity cards (IDs) and permanent account number (PAN) cards for income tax are some of the nationwide e-Governance initiatives. In various public support sites like MCA21, Income Tax site, Passport Portal, Identity can be verified by PAN Number is automatically when filing documents.
Among the most determined and politically debated e-Governance initiative of India is the Unique Identification Authentication (UID) or the Aadhaar card project. Its objective is to empower residents of India with a unique identity and a digital platform to authenticate. Various services are getting authenticated by it like, Passport Application, Getting Government Subsidies in gas; it will also authenticate bank accounts.” – Rupak Ghosh – West Bengal, India


Learner’s Submission: Online Public Service in India

16/09/2013

“When someone asks me about have you ever made use of any online public service in your country?

My mind start calculating because there are many such kind of online services in my country India for example Online Railways, Banking, and Govt. Job portals and many more. But I specially mentioned these because I used these kinds of services in my daily life Whenever I have to buy anything online I use to pay by net banking also my journey can be planned at any time from any where I do not need to go to the Station to book my ticket or to get information about train time table, running stations. Last but not the least I can apply online for Govt. Jobs especially I had to mention SSC, IBPS.

Earlier I never planned to apply for govt. Jobs because of long queues for payment of examination fees at bank. Now Its been a pleasure to apply for these kind of jobs just go to the right website and then fill up the required information then upload your signature and picture especially within a minute I paid my examination fees instead of waiting at queue that feels me very good.

One more online service I want to include in my list that my Telephone and electricity bills payment. Can you just imagine old day’s bill payment queues oh! Thanks to online services which enables us to pay our online consumer bill with secure and effective ways. While I am thinking about electric bill payment only one area I am little disappointed our states electricity distribution yet not enable online payment specially who distribute electricity in ruler areas.

But with lots of leisure there a few work to do manually by standing in queue for paying my electricity bill.

Another online public service in the globe is Google Map which really helps visitors to roam across the globe without being afraid of losing their way. Just imagine earlier if we planned to go some different country or state we have to buy city directory or hire a personal guide but with the help of Google map not only out of station area even in our city we can go anywhere without any guide or city directory that feels good. I mentioned this global service in my blog because I live in India, the country which have many small towns and cities where different kinds of people live together few are good and few a bad so it is a pleasure for visitors to reached anywhere without being cheated by other.

Last but not the least online public service in India is Passport Seva, with the help of this service anyone can submit their application for new or re-issue of Passport from anywhere but there is one problem in India there are many people who cannot use internet so how can they apply for this. Therefore they reached to some agent and pay them huge money for their sin, not being aware of internet usage.

Any ways every service is not good for everyone and while we talk about online services following points come across our mind are being hacked, some fraudulence advertise, some spam mails etc. But because of these demerits we cannot deny the profit of internet/online services in our daily life.

I am a happy online user and wanted to be a part of this till my last breath with lots of new tricks, tips, websites, social networking sites etc.

Thank you for reading my blog.

Have a nice day!” – Md Tahir – West Bengal, India


Learner’s Submission: The Online Public Service I use in India and How Do They Work

23/07/2013

“I have used an online public service to apply for fresh passport and fresh PAN card, reservation of  tickets in Indian railways ,online education and training , paying utility bills, filing income tax return, applying for queries under Right to Information Act and for making new voter’s ID.

Passport  Seva portal (http://www.passportindia.gov.in)under Ministry of External affairs,Government of India is an online facility for applying for fresh/reissue of normal/tatkaal passport. I also used the online services of the portal  http://www.utitsl.co.in/pan/  for online applying for my Permanent Account Number.

Indian Railways have a very vast network of public transportation in India which I frequently refer. Indian Railways provide the services of ticket booking/cancellation, PNR Status, Train routes, Seat Availability, Fare Enquiry and arrival/departure status etc. through two of its portals

http://www.indianrail.gov.in/ and https://irctc.co.in/ . Payment can be made through internet banking ,debit/credit cards of Master/Visa.

I enjoyed this free online education programme ‘Online Certificate Course on RTI’ (http://rtiocc.cgg.gov.in/home.do) for various stakeholders launched by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Government of India (GoI) has launched  it in association with the Centre for Good Governance, Hyderabad.The most attractive part of this programme is to audit the proactive disclosure made by any public authority under section 4(1)(b) of the RTI Act.

I usually pay my MTNL(Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited) mobile and landline bill online through its portal http://mtnldelhi.in/paynow.htm . I also pay my electicity bill online on  the portal of Delhi Government (http://delhigovt.nic.in/bijli.asp). Payment can be made through internet banking,debit/credit cards of Master/Visa.

Every year I file my Income Tax Return on the Portal of Income Tax Department,Government of India  i.e. https://incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in/ .

Being an effective citizen of a democratic nation I have every right to know the work of government and its agencies and this right has been given to every Indian citizen under RTI Act 2005. A public portal http://www.rtionline.gov.in/ helps me in  filing RTI applications/first appeals online along with payment gateway.The requisite fee can be made through internet banking of SBI & its associate banks and debit/credit cards of Master/Visa.

The Election Commission of India through its portal http://eci.nic.in/eci_main1/index.aspx# has provided the facility of online voter registration which facility I availed.” – Vivek Kumar Singh – Bihar, India


Learner’s Submission: Online Public Services in India

18/07/2013

“Public Service means any service provided by the specific government either directly or through any service provider, which includes, inter alia, the receipt of forms and applications, issue or grant of any license, permits, certification, sanction and approval and the receipt or payment of money by whether name called in a particular manner.

Electronic/Internet Service Delivery means the delivery of services through electronic mode including inter alia, the receipt of forms and applications, issue or grant of any license, permits, certification, sanction and approval and the receipt or payment of money.

The government of India provided several public services to Citizens, Business Community and also to the government body. India is developing its infrastructure for e-governance in several departments of Central Government as well as State Government by providing online services. Few of them, Services which I used are as follows:

  • Indian Railways Online Services: Indian Railways is the most important public transport department. Which provide many online service among them I always used online reservation service. Indian railway provides their services mainly through 2 websites, http//:www.indianrail.gov.in/ and http//:www.irctc.co.in/. Through these websites we can get information’s about Trains between Stations, PNR Status, Seat Availability, and Fare Inquiry by using internet.

http//:www.indianrail.gov.in/ is mainly provides information’s to make a travel plan. It proved beneficial to common public.

Before the introduction of these websites online services, getting information’s was very difficult for public, public have to wait for long hours to get information’s from limited information centers. And today, it can be done by few mouse clicks.

 

Online Reservation can be done by http//:www.irctc.co.in/. Services offered in the websites are booking of E-Ticket/Season Ticket/ I-Ticket; and Cancelling E-Ticket/I-Ticket, Compatible browser, and Tatkal Reservation can be done through it. It is very helpful; we can book ticket from home, internet café, and mobile SMS through Register with http//:www.irctc.co.in and paid money online by using credit card, debit card or net banking and new innovation of services by Indian Railway is SMS service for taking the Reservation. Before the introduction of these services, Booking or Cancellation of Ticket was very difficult. People were compelled to stand in lines at reservation counter for several hours. Lack of information used to make situations worst. And nowadays these services are very productive and are proved very effective and helpful to common people.

  •  Right to Information (RTI):

The Government of India, has Passed a Act in Parliament for Government department, any common people can ask information under Right to Information Act. Through online http//:www.rtionline.gov.in/.  It is really a great step towards Right to Information for a common people. This service, I always used for taking the information’s.

  •  Income Tax Return e-Filling:

Today Income Tax Return can be filled online by using http//:incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in/. This facility is really beneficial for citizen who wants to file their income tax return; this website gives opportunity to fill income tax return from any where you are you can use it.

  • Passport Seva: 

http//:passportindia.gov.in/ through this passport seva portal we can apply online application for Passport. Ministry of External Affairs is trying to make passport application process is easier for common citizens of India. However there are many things should be workout to make this process perfectly online.” – Mukesh Kumar – Jharkhand, India


Learner’s Submission: Online Public Services in India – Statistical Datasets

27/11/2012

“In my earlier essay I had introduced the website data.gov.in. I would like to explore the information and scope of relevance of information/datasets being made available through the above website.

Datasets we accessed were authentication details and number authentication requests being made to UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India), Statistical information brought out by NSS (National Sample Survey), CSO (central Statistical Organization) and Marine and Geographical Information made available through a interactive interface embedded into website.

UIDAI, datasets reveals more than 745000 authentication requests have been made. The authentication requests, details of the UIDs sought are not released. The NSS datasets are those that stimulated our interests as they are more relevant to our line of work. We explored three documents:

The first is the 54th survey of NSS pertaining to drinking water, sanitation and hygiene in India. The sample survey covering time span of January – June 1998, claims to have surveyed 10974 villages. The scope of this survey has been cleared explained which covers issues of right to access, distance from residence, provisions for sanitation and drinking within residential premises. The clear data on rural and urban households and their practices are clearly elaborated and condensed into percentages which provide clear information for the reader. The provision for downloading the questionnaire, scope details, and individual chapter through separate links through the website makes this a helpful aid for policy analysts. Improvements and disagreements on the structure of the survey could then be communicated directly to the concerned ministry without much hassles associated with the offline data acquisition processes and based on official records. A much awaited official online record system has been facilitated. For citizens, this would help informing themselves about their society and make informed choice on, who, should rule them and why not?

NSS has provided extensive amount of data through the data.gov.in. They have provided access to various survey reports that cover unorganized sector in services, unorganized sector in manufacturing and Health survey. Without any authentication framework and making available this information to all visitors of the website is something of a dream for information miners, who use this data for analysis and articles for various publication or journalism. The fact that the website has the official seal makes this an authentic source of legitimate information which may be used for either policy suggestions or policy formulations.

The other most interesting feature of the datasets accessible is the marine and geographical information being accessed through an embedded feature. The map of India would show information on marine temperatures, buoys, coastal ports and other climatic information. The delay (in Seconds/minutes) in streaming this data onto our desktop is
something that is not clear. The loading of the feature is cumbersome; some of the features don’t load completely and are difficult to comprehend. Design wise the entire exercise requires a few testing and re-testing. As relevance of the data is difficult to gauge given the technical terms being used on the console makes it difficult to navigate through the satellite information being streamed. It would be nice to have an open access to ‘marine radar’ which then be re-packaged by web masters to provide fishermen real-time data on where they’ll have greater chance of better catch. We will work on that.

We would like to see better front end, as we found the ‘contact us’ and ‘link to us’ provision of the website were too lethargic to respond and sometimes require repeated refreshing to be viewed. The fact that they use MySQL as backend may be a handicap as the number of requests for the website will increase in coming days. The concerned authorities should immediately and in time bound manner undertake scaling of technology and upgrade the interface. The Interface is clumsy and appears to require some aesthetic interventions, as searching for relevant links is still an expedition rather than easily apparent. The authentication framework should be allowed for serious users like media professionals, policy practitioners so that they may have better access. Premium services would provide for maintenance of website and backend infrastructure. The government should also explore government – enterprise partnership, PPP, issuance of bonds, advertising to make this provisioning public knowledge. Involvement of private sector should provide a lot of expertise and resources to further the goal of transparency and access to datasets to commoner at no cost.” – Anil Dev Gopalakrishna – Karnataka, India


Learner’s Submission: The Gujarat Initiative (India)*

05/11/2012

State Wide Attention on Grievances by Application of Technology (SWAGAT)

The Gujarat Initiative
The State Wide Attention on Grievances by Application of Technology (SWAGAT) (http://swagat.gujarat.gov.in ) was launched in April, 2003. The Government of Gujarat became the first Indian State to launch a combination of digital and communication technology in the form of a grievance redressal program.

SWAGAT serves as an online public portal and video-conferencing set up connecting the Chief Minister and all District and Sub-District Level Officers to solve grievances of citizens.

About SWAGAT
SWAGAT offers the citizens of Gujarat a fair opportunity to personally present their grievances directly to the Chief Minster of the State. This system has all the stakeholders connected in real time leaving no chance for either the aggrieved citizen or the concerned officer to hide or manipulate the facts of the case. The crux of the success of the system lies in the fact that the complainant is given a justified hearing. Apart from providing satisfaction to citizens, SWAGAT ensures high levels of accountability and transparency in the administration process. The grievances are first presented at the Sub-District or District level so that they are resolved locally. If they remain unresolved after that too, they are referred to the Chief Minister.

In case there are repetitive grievances on same issues, certain policy decisions have been reviewed or changes in policies have been incorporated. This eliminated the occurrence of such grievances for good.
SWAGAT has served as an effective tool and feedback mechanism to bridge the gap between citizens and administration enhancing the level of understanding for smoother functions.

Advantages

  • Citizens can access the highest authority of the State to resolve the most challenging cases
  • Citizens have the facility to know the status of their case from their nearest internet access point at their location or at the local Government office
  • It saves time and cost of public as traveling to different offices and waiting for a long time before their grievances were settled is avoided
  • SWAGAT has had an powerful indirect impact in encouraging state officials to resolve grievances before they reach the SWAGAT stage

How it Works
The Chief Minister’s Office in Gujarat operates an SWAGAT center where video conferences are held once in every month since the past eight years.

On the 4th Thursday of every month applicants arrive at the Chief Minister’s Office in the morning.  Grievances are scrutinized, registered and instantly transmitted online to the concerned authorities at the Secretariat, District and Sub-District level. The authorities then register their replies by afternoon on the same day.  From 3.00pm, the Chief Minister personally listens to the applicants one-by-one.

The grievances as well as the replies of the concerned authorities are available through the system on a screen.  The concerned secretaries are present along with the Chief Minister, for direct interaction with the aggrieved citizen and district authorities are connected through video-conferencing.

After going through all the aspects of the case, necessary instructions are given for resolving the grievance. A record and separate log is maintained in the SWAGAT database for each case.  Monitoring cases is the prime focus of SWAGAT to ensure that solutions are implemented according to instructions given by the Chief Minister.  Citizens can view the status of their application online, using their allotted password and login at local Government Offices and at any internet access point.

Grievances are only eligible if they have already been presented to the appropriate authorities (such as the Sub-District Officer or the District Officer), and have not been resolved at this level.  Cases for attention of the Chief Minister are selected as those that are long-standing, acute humanitarian issues, difficult to resolve at other levels of Government and have policy implications.

Practical outcomes and implementations are given priority in SWAGAT.  Attempts for fair, acceptable and immediate solutions are made which has rarely left applicant without any firm reply to grievances. A specific time limit for the solutions is also given. The Chief Minister has given a focused commitment to this program and interacts personally increasing the chances of resolving cases successfully.

The Results and Recognition
The positive impacts realized by the State level SWAGAT gave drive to expand the system to 225 Sub-District offices in 2008, for greater accessibility to the public. Presently, the geographical scope of SWAGAT is 55 million citizens and 225 Sub-District of the State.  At the District level SWAGAT session, the district authorities hear the public grievances on the same day.  Sub-District level SWAGAT is held on every fourth Wednesday, i.e. one day prior to District and State SWAGAT.  The software application also enables an online review of Sub-District SWAGAT, District SWAGAT and State SWAGAT outcomes.

Path breaking success of the SWAGAT has given it nation-wide recognition and prestigious awards like United Nations Public Service Award 2010 for improving transparency, accountability and responsiveness in the public service category. Moreover, the Commonwealth Telecom Organization and University of Manchester have considered SWAGAT as an excellent model of e-transparency” – Hari Haran M – Gujarat, India
* SWAGAT was the 2nd place winner (category 1) in Asia and the Pacific region in the 2010 United Nations Public Service Awards (read more here).


Learner’s Submission: E-Government in Bahrain

25/11/2011

“Governments around the world are leveraging advances in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to enhance their service delivery mechanism so as to improve citizen satisfaction towards government. Similarly the Kingdom of Bahrain recognizes the importance of eGovernment and has been developing public online services since last half a decade. I experience that their online public service maturity level is continuously improving while they are introducing an array of public services for the residents, business, government and visitors of Bahrain.

The fact that encourages me to use their services is by having channels of choice option. The services are seamlessly available through eGovernment Web portal, Mobile Portal, Kiosks terminals, eSCs (Electronic Service Centers)& NCC (National Contact Center).  NCC offers an IVR system and is accessible through a Toll-free number within Bahrain.

The service I would discuss here is “Electricity and Water Bill Payment”. I quite often use this service and pay off my bill in a jiffy; the online presence of this service saves me not getting into counter queues. The service is accessible through National Government Web Portal, Mobile Portal, Kiosk Terminals, Electronic Service Centers (eSCs) and National Contact Center (NCC). The service has been designed with fairly simple and user friendly layout across all channels. It provides bill enquiry and payment facilities. User enquires about his outstanding bill and decides if he wants to proceed with payment or not. Service offers electronic payment through Debit and Credit cards while accepting all major credit card types e.g. Visa, Master, Amex. On successful completion of transaction, the service shows user payment receipt and offers printing option if the service was used through web portal. The receipt prints automatically if the service was used through Kiosk terminal. The payment receipt comes as SMS message at user’s mobile if the service was used through Mobile Portal.

While the service doesn’t require any sort of registration to use it through Web Portal, Kiosk terminal, it asks user to complete once-off registration to use the payment feature of the service through Mobile Portal. The user registration process validates user’s identity information issued in Bahrain (CPR Information). It also validates user’s mobile number by sending an auto-generated “Pin code” at his mobile number, advising to activate his profile using same “Pin code”. The “Pin code” enables user to initiate payments using service SMScode. User sends service SMS code to eGovernment designated number that has been registered with major telecommunication providers in Bahrain. E.g. to check “Electricity and Water Bill Payment” outstanding bill through SMS, a user would use following service SMS short code – ELC{SPACE}Q{SPACE}CPR No/CR No{SPACE}Account No – and sends it to eGovernment number relatedto his telecommunication provider in Bahrain i.e. Batelco (4949) & Zain (88311). User would receive his outstanding bill information as SMS message on his mobile number.

Electronic Service Centers (eSCs) provides personals assistance to use public services at free of cost. Residents who don’t have computer literacy can walk in to eSC center within their areas and with the help of eSC staff, would be able to use public services electronically. National Contact Center (NCC) services can be availed by dialing a toll-free number (8000-8001) within Bahrain. Users can use several public services through IVR while they can also contact support team for any difficulties they face while using public services online or can seek any enquires and information about government services in Bahrain.

I believe with all eGovernment advancements in Bahrain, the government is still exploring more advance mechanisms for delivering online services to their users. Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) is one of the promising models and needs to be adopted to achieve next level of public service delivery and to gain economic benefits to government.” – Aamir Nizami – Manama, Bahrain


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