Learner’s Submission: Case Study on Decentralization in Karnataka (India)

22/07/2013

“It was introduced by Janta Dal which won the 1983 elections and gained the control of the State government. The elected councils were created at two levels, viz. the District and the Mandal. The Mandal Council covered a group of adjacent villages with a population of between 8 and 12 thousand and consisted of around 30 members directly elected. In all, 2536 Mandals were established. The size of the Mandals was very small in relation to the much larger and far more powerful District Councils. There were in all 19 District Councils consisting of members between 23 and 64 all directly elected by territorial constituencies with an average population of 28,000. The District Councilors elected a President and a Vice-President, the former with a status of a junior minister and the latter that of a deputy minister in the state government. They controlled a sizable staff of senior administration headed by a Chief Secretary belonging to the IAS, all deputies by the State government. The District Councils were responsible for every field of development. The substantial funds related to theses programmes of development were transferred to the district councils.

In April 1982, the Union Government deposed the State government and imposed direct rule from New Delhi. The December 1989 elections brought Congress party to power. The Congress

Government was hostile to the scheme of decentralization introduced by the Janta Dal Government. It lost no time in undermining the powers of councils and imposing cuts on the funds released to the District Councils. This was a sad end to a radical programme of democratic decentralization in Karnataka which had achieved considerable success.” – Vivek Kumar Singh – Bihar, India


Learner’s Submission: Online Public Services in India

18/03/2013

Example of Online services – Indian Railways – Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation – (IRCTC)
India with 1,220,200,000 (1.22 billion) people is the second most populous country in the world. The figures show that India represents almost 17.31% of the world’s population. More than 50% of India’s current population is below the age of 25 and over 65% below the age of 35. About 72% of the population lives in some 660,000 villages and the rest 27.8% in about 5,480 towns and in cities. This shows that people distribution across the country and their mobility for various reasons are of vital importance. To meet the ever demanding transportation need of people Indian Railways nationalized government organization is one of the best. Indian railways also happens to be pride of India considering this to be largest in Asia and the second largest in the world.

In view of reaching out to people, Indian Railways has extensively utilized Information Technology, Mobile technology and extended Online services to people. Following paragraphs will discuss about the available Online services to Indian public:

Indian railways which has history since about April 1853. About 85 percent of the stations have interlocking system of signaling which provides greater safety, by eliminating human errors and failure. It is one of the world’s largest railway networks comprising 115,000 km (71,000 mi) of track over a route of 65,000 km (40,000 mi) and 7,500 stations. As of December 2012, it transported over 25 million passengers daily In 2011, It carried over 8,900 million passengers annually or more than 24 million passengers daily (roughly half of which were suburban passengers) and 2.8 million tons of freight daily. In 2011-2012 Indian Railways earned US$18.98 billion which consists of US$12.68 billion from freight and US$5.21 billion from passengers tickets.

Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation – (IRCTC) is a subsidiary of the Indian Railways that handles the catering, tourism and online ticketing operations of the railways. IRCTC is better known facilitating online railway ticketing in Indi when compared to crowded railways reservation counters which existed till recently. Manned railways counters faced several problems like passengers spending away precious time in a long queues, lack of transparency, shortage of information, fatigue factor of employees leading to errors, no options for quick change in travel plans, etc.

IRTC is known for Internet-based on-line rail ticket booking through its website which allowed people to register and login. This online reservation system allowed people select the trains, places and suitable optional trains and timings to travel, class of travel, fare display and dates of availability, reservation status, PNR status, payment options like credit card, debit card and other options. Finally to book the tickets and print it. Recently mobile based bookings have also been operational and SMS message has been authorized to travel and again a environmentally friendly initiative.

Ticket cancellations or modifications can also be done online. In addition to E-tickets, IRCTC also offers I-tickets that are basically like regular tickets except that they are booked online and delivered by post. The Tickets PNR Status is also made available here recently.

IRCTC’s highest ever per day booking is 5.02 lakh e-tickets on 1 March 2013. There are about 7.5 lakh people who visit IRCTC website for various purposes. 1.4 crore transactions that the website processed in February.

Example of civic agency’s Online Servicers: BBMP: Bangalore Mahanagara Palike
Bangalore is well known as silicon valley of India is in Karnataka state in southern India. Bangalore city’s population is growing faster than ever before and by the end of the year its head count is likely to cross the one-crore mark. The city’s population stands at 95,88,910 as of now. BBMP is an s the administrative body responsible for the civic and infrastructural assets of the Bangalore metropolitan area .spread across 741 Sqkm.

BBMP has introduced several online services to its citizens like Online Property Tax Payment, property tax calculations, tax submission status, GIS based Property ID (PID), online buildings plan submissions and sanctions.

Example of Income tax department In India and its Online services
Filing of IT returns electronically mandatory for individuals with annual income of Rs 10 lakh or above. This online transaction and services has helped many tax payers for hassle free filing of Income tax returns. The procedure to file online tax returns is quite simple. One has to opt for a suitable return form and fill in all the details. Once submitted system generates XML generated which must be posted to the appropriate authorities.

India has about 3.4 crore income tax payers. Personal income tax increased by 15 per cent to touch Rs 1,12114 crore, which was mainly from the salaried class. Corporate tax collections at Rs 2,78,411 crore, accounted for as much as 83 per cent of the total direct tax collections of Rs 3,36,117 crore during April-February of this fiscal.” – M. S. Rajesh – Bangalore, India


Learner’s Submission: Socia Media Channels Used by the Government of India

08/03/2013

“India is a land of 1.2 billion people. Sixty-five percent of the Indian population lives in villages.
600,000 villages with diversified religion, culture and beliefs and low level of literacy. Its a task by itself to bring them together on common platform. To achieve such goals number of multiple process and mechanism must work in tandem.

Yet governments at the centre and state have been working hard to provide a Information Technology infrastructure at urban and also grass root level at villages.

Presently there about 137 million internet users in India. 44 million smartphone users, Facebook users are 65 million. And India had around 18 million Twitter accounts .India will reach somewhere in the vicinity of 250-350 million Internet users by 2015.

With all the above mentioned data, Internet, social media has a power to contribute to the growth of India. Government has chalked out a plan and few many things have been IT and social media initiatives have been implemented to reach and serve its citizen using social media. The following paragraphs will discuss about the social media initiatives of Government:

Indian Prime Minister‟s Office –PMO has made its presence felt at Twitter with about 50,000 followers. This means Government has opened up channel for common people to reach PM. Without itself being present on social media as it was earlier, citizens had way to directly connect tot PM‟s office.

Recently PMO was also present itself on Facebook and YouTube. This again helps common people to stay connected with PM and also YouTube helps PM to reach its people by uploading a PM speeches which spells out plans for development and other benefits for people.

Karnataka government has Facebook presence regarding its youth policy initiative by the Department of Youth Services and Sports, Government of Karnataka. This is useful in communicating to youth about State‟s policy. Youth Policy takes inspiration from National Youth Policy to formulate an integrated youth policy that is in sync with the changing socio-economic conditions of the youth of the State.

Government of Karnataka is on Facebook to inform the citizens about governments various s developmental schemes. Other government departments have also been encouraged to utilize social media network to serve and reach citizens. Few government departments are:

KSRTC: Karnataka state road transport corporation – This is a government of Karnataka official transport corporation which runs about 25.79 lakhs effective kilometers transporting about 25 lakh people per day. KSRTC‟s on social media is again a customer and passenger friendly initiative. KSRTC has also online reservations system which Internet dependent.

Bangalore Traffic police is another government department on Facebook. Here, Facebook presence of Traffic police has helped in establishing a communication channel to interact with common people about Do’s and Don’ts of traffic rules. and safety aspects. Social media also has helped people to post their road users issues on the media. This has helped in quickly resolving the issues related with road and traffic. Police has made arrangements for people to post traffic violations on the social media. This would enable police department to initiate action against the offender and importantly with people participation and social media vigilance becomes more intense.

Karnataka examinations authority –KEA is an official state examinations authority handling examinations concerned with graduate, postgraduate and other higher education examination related activities. KEA also handles most of the competitive entrance examination concerned with undergraduate and PG students. KEA interacts with nearly 5.0 lakh students and their eligibility criteria and qualification. KEA is again on Facebook which has reached million of students through Facebook. This yet another example of governments departments utilizing power of social media to reach its target.

Department of Survey, Settlement & Land Records Government of Karnataka is also on Facebook which caters to the needs of people who seek services of surveys of lands and access to land records.

Bangalore Electricity company –BESCOM is also a Government participated department which supplies electricity to 20 million households and industrial customers. BESCOM connects its customers through social media – Facebook.

Bangalore water supply and sewage board: BWSSB is a government of Karnataka authority for drinking water and drainage- Government Organization -The Bangalore Water Supply And Sewerage Board (BWSSB) is committed to providing drinking water of unquestionable quality in sufficient quantity and to treat the sewage generated to the required standards. BWSSB reaches and connects its large million customers with help of social media like Facebook and Twitter. Here customers can reach the concerned officials through social media.
B B M P (Bruth Bangalore Mahanagara Palike) is a government of Karnataka department responsible for all civil infrastructures. BBMP handles its large number of varied customers for various works. BBMP is also utilizing social media like Facebook to connect its customers.

Social media boom happened in 2012. According to research the number of Indian Facebook users swelled by 14 million in the past six months. While internet penetration in India is just 11% around 137million users make the country third biggest in terms of Internet -connected citizens. Most of these users are urban and young. Research says 75% of web users here are under-35. Indians are politically active on the web. Research study this established that nearly 45% of Indian web users, most of them from urban areas, connect on social media to discuss politics.

Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) opened its Twitter account under the name “Indian Diplomacy” which is a verified account with more than 7,000 as of present. The efforts of MEA have been appreciated by many during the recent crisis to evacuate Indian nationals from Libya as information was relayed on a regular basis. There is also a YouTube account created as well which hosts more than 50 documentary films on various subjects and has received more than 19,000 hits.

Indian Postal service, world‟s largest postal network took to Twitter to connect to its users and citizens. They have been answering to queries posted by users related to service and how it can be used easily. They currently have more than 6,500 followers. In Addition, the government department also launched an exceptional “ePost Office” which would add up as an e-Commerce platform in the future.

Various government schemes for social welfare have been on Facebook , the purpose is to reach out youth and have direct interaction with government. Even heads of the government‟s are making their presence on the social media.

Banks and financial institutions do also have social media presence: Indian jobs scene has gone through tremendous change over in recent years. Education levels have been impressive and Information technology jobs are plentifully available. Young customers and at the same time are technologically aware and also in possession of high end mobile handsets. All these have made bank and financial institutions to offer their services and products on social media like Facebook twitter and YouTube. Banks offer customers with a variety of apps, product information, and utilize this platform to increase financial literacy. Banks utilize this space to manage our online reputation. Digital marketing is catching up fast with banks offering many products and facilities on social media.

In disaster management social media has been extensively used in situations like the Mumbai terrorist attacks and the swine flu pandemic .During Mumbai attacks people utilized social media to know the location and donate blood to needy Tweets were sent right form site of the tragedy.

E-Governance is another term which has been given due importance since evolution of Information technology and Information and Communication Technology(ICT). Electronic-governance (E-Governance) is defined as application of Information and communication technology in delivering the government services, government transactions, integration of various stand-alone systems and services between Government-to-Citizens (G2C), Government-to-Business(G2B),Government-to-Government( G2G) as well as back office processes and interactions within the entire government departments.

Elections and social media is another important medium for government connecting to people specifically younger generation. During general elections politicians these days have been liberally using Facebook and twitter. As we know You tube has been extensively used by one of the governments to showcase all the speeches and developmental programmes taken up by the governments This video has been quite popular among youth.

Census –  The process of counting of population was taken to social media as well to ask citizens to fill in their information accurately and in full during the time of visit of an enumerator. The initiative was launched on Facebook and Twitter with an on ground campaign in the offing as well. The Facebook page currently has more than 14,000 likes and Twitter profile has nearly 500 followers.

Planning Commission of India – Planning Commission of India have been using its Facebook page to ask users to submit their expectations and ideas for the twelfth five year plan (2012 – 2017). Following the ideas, they would be included in the approach paper to be approved by cabinet and National Development Council.

Conclusion
137 million internet users in India. 44 million Smartphone users, Facebook users are 65 million. And India had around 18 million Twitter accounts .India will reach somewhere in the vicinity of 250-350 million Internet users by 2015. Indian citizens will have highly transparent government and interactive politicians. Social media has a important role to play in terms of connecting to people, awareness about welfare schemes, local area development activity, monetary spending transparency. Social media is here to stay and developing countries are going to be major beneficiaries of the social media movement.” – M.S. Rajesh – Bangalore, India


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