The state of Telangana is using modern technology not only to transform its economy but also for effective and efficient governance. For evidence, take a look at the delivery of government services for its citizens. With over 30,423 e-transactions per thousand persons, this southern state is miles ahead of other states with its robust citizen service delivery platform. The state’s electronic service delivery (ESD) has serviced over 3.51 crore people in the last one year. “With over 4,000 franchisees offering over 600 services of 34 departments, the ESD has redefined the government services with seamless and defined timelines,” says KT Rama Rao, the state minister for IT, electronics & communications. As on date, Telangana ranks second in electronic transactions, according to the department of electronics & IT (DeitY) for overall state-wise projects.
“ESD is a platform consisting of two components—eSeva and MeeSeva—which has brought in accountability, transparency and innovative delivery of government citizen services. In fact, the government of India has selected ESD as one of the e-governance projects for possible replication in other states as well,” says KT Rama Rao, popularly known as KTR. Telangana, which emerged from its bifurcation with erstwhile Andhra Pradesh, is going all out to set to strengthen its governance using digital facilities and digital empowerment of every individual in the state. The state government is using electronic governance (e-governance) to increase transparency and accountability, minimise communication gap through instantaneous transmission of information and speeding up of government processes allowing faster decision making in government bureaucracy.
In an attempt to set up a robust digital infrastructure, the state government is working towards laying optical fibre cable to each household using the water grid trenches, providing 4G services in entire state and making available Wi-Fi connectivity in major cities and towns. “The Telangana Fibre Grid is being laid piggybacking the Mission Bhagiratha which is the Telangana Drinking Water Grid project. We are also working on e-Panchayats and one-stop shops (OSS) to identify technological solutions to government agencies for increased efficiency,” says KTR.
According to the state IT secretary Jayesh Ranjan, the state government has designed an ICT policy for creating an investor- friendly ecosystem. “In the last one year, we have supported other government departments in developing ICT applications to improve their internal processes and outreach to be their stakeholders,” he says. At present various e-governance projects are being implemented by the state, such as simple file tracking system, state resident data hub (SRDH), mobile-based monitoring system, online GO, Telangana Sishu Aadhaar Project and many more.
One such initiative is the Palle Samagra Seva Kendram or Digital Telangana centres, a first of its kind programme in the country. It aims to provide a bouquet of services at village level like citizen services, pension payment services, MNREGA payments, banking services, white labeled ATMs, e-Mart, B2C services, insurance services etc, through a village level entrepreneur in villages through ESD platform. The scheme was launched in 100 villages with the objective to cover all the gram panchayats soon.
The Society for Telangana Network caters to the needs of various departments through a satellite-based communication network, with the help of ISRO and government of India. SOFTNET was established and utilised in the areas of distance education, agriculture extension, and human resource development. It is an ongoing scheme to provide tele-education for schools in remote areas.
An interesting app set up by the Hyderabad City Police department, which has envisioned innovating citizen services delivery through mobile technology, resulted into an end product called “Hawk Eye”. The unique feature of this is integrating the police communication network system for prompt response to citizens. It also serves as emergency responsiveness system through “SOS” and “Women Travel Made Easy” in addition to other features.
A digital future
Making one person in every family digitally literate is one of the integral components of the PM’s vision of Digital India and also Digital Telangana programme. In this programme, the state government will be establishing 25 National Digital Literacy Mission (NDLM) training centres in Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation area and educate 200 citizens in each centre under NDLM programme.
With the aim to digitise the way education is imparted in government schools, the Telangana government has initiated the Telangana State Computer Literacy and Skill in Schools (TS-CLASS) programme. Under this programme, various technological solutions pertaining to education have been identified to transform classrooms and laboratories. After zeroing in on 10 solutions from four broad verticals of the programme which include infrastructure, content, training and connectivity, pilots were run in five government schools in Hyderabad for a period of two to three months. Moving forward, a unique education solution will be developed to be deployed across government schools in the state in a phased manner, says I Gunalan, principal consultant, State eGov Mission Team (SeMT), Telangana.
The state government has also prioritised the healthcare department to move the e-way in addition to the agriculture and police departments. The Telangana Sishu Aadhaar project is being piloted in 19 identified hospitals where new born babies will be issued Aadhaar card, birth certificate and birth defect registration instantly. The state government aims to provide all the necessary certificates to new born child immediately after the birth and also push them to the digital locker. “This is going to be a real government-to-citizen initiative where government issues certificates to citizens the moment the baby is born. A paradigm shift from traditional concept where government asks citizens to apply for certificates here citizens gets his certificates directly to digital locker,” Gunalan explains.
Another healthcare project is the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK) which is an initiative aimed at early identification and early intervention for children from birth to 18 years to cover 4Ds (defects at birth, deficiencies, diseases, development delays including disability). “The 0-6 years age group will be specifically managed at district early intervention centre level while for 6-18 years age group, management of conditions will be done through existing public health facilities,” says E Satyanarayana, consultant, State e-governance Mission Team.
Some of the other initiatives using ICT applications of the state government include inspection report via a mobile app for drug inspectors by the Drug Control Administration, paddy procurement application, web application to facilitate 100% tax collection from hotels and so on.
Without doubt, the state machinery is in an overdrive to transform the state into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.