Within the government system there is large scale processing of information and decision making. G2G initiatives help in making the internal government processes more efficient. This article provides information on Smart Governance projects in the Southern States of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka and the important lessons learnt from it.
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Smart Gov. (Andhra Pradesh)
The Andhra Pradesh Secretariat comprises a number of departments. The processing of information in the Government is predominantly workflow intensive. Information moves in the form of paper files from one officer to another for seeking opinions, comments, approvals etc. Smart Gov has been developed to streamline operations, enhance efficiency through workflow automation and knowledge management for implementation in the Andhra Pradesh Secretariat. The solution automates the functioning of all levels of Government entities and provides a well defined mechanism for transforming the “hard copy environment” to a “digital environment”. It enhances productivity through use of IT as a tool. Smart Gov replaces the paper file with an e-file. Smart Gov provides the features of creation, movement, tracking and closure of e-files, automation of repetitive tasks, decision support system through knowledge management, prioritization of work, easy access to files through an efficient document management system and collaboration between departments. This project is being extended to more departments.
- Political support from the highest level coupled with wholehearted involvement of the staff substantially increase the chances of success
- Capacity building of staff is essential for success of any e-Governance project.
The broad lessons from these independent initiatives undertaken at various levels are as follows:
- Political support at the highest level is a sine qua non for successful implementation of e-Governance initiatives;
- Major e-Governance projects bear fruit only when application of IT is preceded by process re-engineering;
- Successful projects require an empowered leader with a dedicated team who can conceptualise and implement e-Governance projects with the help of officials at all levels and technological solution providers;
- Initiatives which save the citizens’ time, money and effort are able to succeed even when back-end computerization is not done. However, these successes are generally limited to cases where payment of bills for public/private utilities is involved but for complete transformation of governance there has to be an end-to-end ICT enablement coupled with process re-engineering;
- Scaling up should be attempted only after the success of pilot projects. Systems should have the flexibility to incorporate changes mid-way;
- In rural areas, issues of connectivity and electricity supply are of paramount importance; and
- In case of complex projects, all components need to be identified and analysed at the outset, followed by meticulous planning and project implementation.
Khajane Project In Karnataka
It is a comprehensive online treasury computerization project of the Government of Karnataka. The project has resulted in the computerization of the entire treasury related activities of the State Government and the system has the ability to track every activity right from the approval of the State Budget to the point of rendering accounts to the government. The project was implemented to eliminate systemic deficiencies in the manual treasury system. The aspects of the project which require highlighting are:
- A prior study of deficiencies of the system was conducted. The best practices of the treasury system of some other States (Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal) were studied.
- To eliminate redundant processes, systematic re-engineering was done. Processes were adopted to suit computer applications. A procedure manual was brought out.
- Staff feedback was obtained. Motivation of staff was accorded high priority. User-friendliness of the software, simplification of processes and reduction of drudgery was highlighted.
- Software development was supervised by treasury teams. Software was tested in representative treasury environments. Feedback was utilized in modifying the software.
- Training was provided before software roll-out.
The system includes features such as budget control, online funds transfer etc. This project manages to minimize efforts devoted earlier to reconcile the entries in the accounts and provides accurate information on a timely basis. Thus it has contributed in bringing efficiency in the government and aids the decision making process. This project has turned out to be success story.
- Important lessons can be drawn from the experience of other organizations in similar projects. There is no need to re-invent the wheel in every e-Governance project.
- Close monitoring and continuous feedback are necessary to ensure proper functioning of e-Governance projects.
- Close cooperation between the technology solution provider and the in-house domain experts is crucial for success of e-Governance projects.
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