The objective behind eUparjan system is to use IT to facilitate the farmers of the state to get remunerative prices for their produce, by creating a system reaching out to the remotest rural areas during the two harvesting seasons, offering a minimum support price (MSP). The food grains thus procured are used to stock the public distribution system (PDS) which supplies food grains at subsidised prices to 15 million poor families on a monthly basis through a network of 22,000 fair price outlets.
eUparjan computerization resulted in controlling diversion and leakage in procurement operations. It brings transparency to Government operations, reduces time and cost of procurement substantially, and virtually eliminates corruption. The key elements of the solution were:
Re-engineering the entire process of procurement by looking at the old system, and re-designing it to achieve the desired results in a more efficient, corruption-free manner, with complete transparency and digital inclusion of the masses.
Software application developed through close consultation with all stakeholders, and constant iterations and improvements.
Registration of 1.5 million farmers, showing landholding, sown area, bank account and mobile numbers to have a unique and integrated database. (Farmers who did not possess a mobile in the family gave numbers of neighbors or friends or village headman; however, two-thirds of farmers did have a mobile phone in the family).
Some 5,000 data entry operators, runners and cooperative society managers were given Hands-on Training, organized at State and District level for all stakeholders for capacity building. A training-of-trainers strategy was adopted to complete this massive training exercise within two months. This itself has resulted in a huge injection of ‘digital awareness’ in the rural areas and indirectly positively impacted the functioning of cooperative societies in their other activities as well.
SMS (mobile text message) alert mechanism for farmers to have a systematic procedure for the sale of their produce. Farmers were asked to give a choice of date during the two month harvest period, and the software chooses the date closest to the choice, depending upon the handling capacity of the procurement centre. The farmer is sms-ed the date at the season start, and reminded four days before the actual date. Waiting time at procurement centres was reduced from a period of several days to just a few hours.
Payments transferred to farmers’ bank accounts directly by bank transfer instead of manual cheque payments to farmers which reduced the delay, loss, malpractices involved in the payment process.
24X7 Call Centre established at State HQ to deal with inquiries/complaints from farmers.
Near real-time MIS reports covering quantity purchased from each farmer, tracking availability of packaging material, quantity transported from each centre, warehousing, payment to farmers, and re-deployment of personnel etc, thus enhancing decision making and planning at the District and State level, plugging loopholes, and weeding out malpractices and corruption.
Digital trail created for monitoring and evaluation, and massive digital inclusion achieved by involving farmers showing them what IT can do for them.