The Arunachal Pradesh government’s tech push in the area of sanitation has brought about transparency and effective monitoring of garbage collection.
For financial year 2017-18, the north-eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh has notched up revenue of `1598.49 crore, which is highest since it attained statehood in 1987. This spectacular economic performance, especially over the last two years, has spawned a new energy among government departments. A welcome addition to this positive picture has been the ever-expanding e-governance programme in the state.
From implementing e-cabinet with a paperless system to digitising the cumbersome Inner Line Permit (ILP) to overhauling the DC Itanagar complex with e-Office, there has been significant intervention of technology in the state administration and citizen service delivery. Now, the state government is pushing technology in the area of sanitation, especially for solid waste management and garbage collection.
“These are futuristic steps that we are taking based on the success that we had with our previous IT-driven projects like e-Office and e-ILP,” Prince Dhawan, special secretary (IT) and deputy commissioner, Itanagar, said, adding that a tech-enabled sanitation project has been rolled out in 10 out of the 30 wards of the Itanagar Municipal Council (IMC) and the remaining 20 wards will be covered soon.Under this project, two key initiatives have been taken—GPS tracking has been installed on sanitation vehicles and geo-based attendance has been regularised for sanitation staff. While the GPS tracking ensures real-time information on location of vehicles, the geo-based attendance system for labourers in the form of a wrist band or small pocket device automates the attendance system by marking staff ‘present’ when they reach their designated workplace. According to IMC officials, the new system has brought transparency and effective monitoring of garbage collection.
“The use of GPS in garbage lifting vehicles and automation of attendance with small pocket devices are helping us to ensure that garbage collection vehicles reach the right places and there is no pilferage of fuel. The route and time of the vehicles are fixed and we are doing strict monitoring,” Dhawan said, adding that details of the drivers, labourers and vehicles for every ward have been put up on the DC Itanagar website.
With the encouraging response to its new e-governance initiative, the state is now planning to work on the geographic information system (GIS) mapping of the entire capital city. According to an official in the chief minister’s office, this will help in perspective planning whenever the state government plans any development work. GIS helps in capturing, storing and analysing all types of geographical data. States such as Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra among others are already using GIS mapping for resource planning.“The GIS mapping that we are working on will be launched on a portal where all the details would be made available along with imagery and we will update them regularly. This will help us in resource allocations as to which road requires repairing, which area needs lights and in which area water drainage system needs to be improved,” explained Dhawan.
On challenges faced by the state government when it comes to technology projects, Dhawan said there are problems due to the state’s remote location despite improvement in connectivity. Many a time, firms responsible for IT projects back out leading to unnecessary delay. “The state is fully ready with incentives and a conducive IT ecosystem. The private partners need to bring state-of-the-art technology and have people who are passionate about e-governance to see actual change in people’s lives due to technology,” said Dhawan.