e-Seva Goes Mobile, To Drive Across Andhra Hinterland

Hyderabad: | Updated: Sep 19 2003, 05:30am hrs
A vehicle equipped with electronically networked collection counters and an automatic teller machine (ATM) facility which enables people to pay all their utility services bills like telephone, water, power, sewage, etc at their doorsteps will soon become a reality in Andhra Pradesh.

After providing a number of service centres across the state, it is now time for the Andhra Pradesh government to see its most popular and prestigious e-governance initiative e-Seva go mobile.

In a first of its kind in India (also claimed to be first in the world), the state government is working on a unique concept wherein citizens in non-service centres and remote areas would have the privilege of using the e-Sevas mobile facility to pay their utility services bills.

Speaking to FE, e-Seva director Phani Kumar said, It is the state governments endeavour to make the e-Seva concept more popular and enable more and more people to make utility payments without any hassles.

Using code division multiple access (CDMA)-based wireless technology along with a customised software package developed by city-based Ram Informatics, e-Seva will place this government-to-customer (G2C) service in a vehicle containing servers, personal computers and other hardware equipment, all of which are connected to the main server of the e-Seva department.

In order to make this concept as popular as that of virtual centres in the city, e-Seva has entered into a tie-up with HDFC Bank to sponsor the project. HDFC Bank will be spending close to Rs 25 lakh for the customised vehicle, containing basic facilities and an ATM inside the vehicle, while the state government will put up necessary hardware and systems in place, Mr Kumar said.

This is the first time that a bank is floating a mobile ATM in India and this will also help HDFC Bank to popularise this mobile ATM concept further, Mr Kumar said. The bank is awaiting RBIs nod for the mobile ATM, he added.

e-Seva is working with Tata Teleservices and Reliance Infocomm to provide the necessary connectivity. Currently we are testing the technologies of both the companies and will soon finalise the deal, Mr Kumar added.

Initially the concept would be tested in and around Hyderabad, particularly in those areas where there are long queues for paying bills, apart from targeting remote areas and places where e-Seva counters are yet to be established. Based on successful implementation in these places, it will be taken to all districts in the state, he said.

Meanwhile, e-Seva has increased the number of services to 117, including 67 police department services. It is also in the process of bringing in railway reservation/ cancellation services, apart from payment of Reliance Infocomm and Airtel bills through the centres, Mr Kumar disclosed.

e-Seva plans to cover the entire state by setting up 229 centres altogether in 23 districts. Already 50 centres have been set up in six major districts and the remaining would be completed before next month, he added. From a mere 4,700 transactions in August 2001, monthly transactions over e-Seva have crossed the 10-lakh mark. Collections as on August 2003 stood at Rs 3,900 crore from Rs 43 lakh in August 2001, he added.