Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms, Government of Karnataka

The Problem

In the month of October 2011, the then Chief Minister of Karnataka, during his regular Interactions with Citizens in his “Janatha Darshan” learnt that quite a few requests that came to him were for routine services that were bound to be given by the Government. Yet the citizens were deprived of receiving these services.
Hence he directed the Chief Secretary, Government of Karnataka(GoK) to look into these aspects and come up with a legislation that would provide and guarantee Citizens with basic services that ought to be provided within a stipulated time. The CS in turn entrusted the job to the Secretary, Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms, GoK to formulate an act to deliver government services in a time bound manner. The draft Act was ready by December, preparation of rules and a work plan was done by January, training of staff by March, pilot launch happened in 4 talukas (administrative sub divisions) on 1st of March and State wide roll out on 2nd of April. Thus came in to effect ‘The Karnataka Guarantee of Services Act 2011” commonly referred to as Sakala. This comprises of the largest ever offered set of services to citizens under any other Act of the States of India.
Purpose and Priorities of the initiative:
The Purpose of the initiative:
The image of the Government suffered due to
• Undue delays in obtaining services from the government.
• ‘Couldn’t care less’ attitude of the staff.
• Un defined time lines for service delivery
• Lack of single window solutions.
• Rampant corruption at the cutting edge.
The priority of this initiative:
1. To reform the administrative set up for ensuring good governance.
2. To create a single monitoring system for service delivery.
3. To fix time lines for each service delivery.
4. To fix accountability on a single official responsible for the service.
5. To empower the citizen to avail of the services as a matter of right.
6. To reduce human interface by use of information technology.
7. To prevent corrupt practices and enhance government efficiencies.

Solution and Key Benefits

 What is the initiative about? (the solution)
Karnataka State Legislature in 2011 passed Karnataka Guarantee of Services to Citizens Act (KGSC) to provide guarantee of services to citizens in the State of Karnataka within a stipulated time limit. A comprehensive IT Solution enables implementation of the Act by providing a transparent monitoring mechanism for the services requested by a citizen. Whenever the request for the service is made, the citizen receives an acknowledgement slip with a unique number called the Guarantee of Services to Citizen (GSC) number. With the help of the GSC number, a citizen can monitor the status of his application on the web-site This system also has a mobile interface. Citizens can check the status of their application by sending an SMS from a mobile phone by typing their 15 GSC digit number. The system will send a reply back to them with current status of the application.
In case the application is rejected or if the service is not provided within the stipulated time, citizens can file an appeal before the competent officer (CO) to redress their grievance quoting the GSC number. The competent officer will hear the appeal and redress the grievance within the specified time. Citizens can claim the compensatory cost of Rs. 20 per day for the delayed period subject to a maximum of Rs. 500 from the CO, upfront. The designated officer shall be liable to pay the citizens the compensatory cost, at the end of the month through his salary, after a summary enquiry by the CO.
For a large number of people who may be unable to use either the SMS mode or the website, a call centre is available to assist the citizens ( 080-4455 4455). A single call by the citizen giving the GSC no. is sufficient to set the appeal process rolling. The call centre functions as a hub for collecting complaints, providing information and serving as a feedback tool to understand the pulse of our citizens. Over 1, 25,382 citizens have already availed the services of these call centres.
So far 1,42,00,000 requests have been received and 1,39,00,000 requests have been delivered. The timely delivery of services has been improving and for the month of November it stands at 97.35%.

Actors and Stakeholders

 Who proposed the solution, who implemented it and who were the stakeholders?
As mentioned earlier, the Chief Minister proposed a systematic solution to the problem of timely delivery of services. He nominated the Law Minister, GoK, as the nodal officer on behalf of the Government who would supervise and guide the solution to this problem. In order to realize the objectives outlined, A Mission was constituted to assist Department of Personnel and Administrative reforms in the implementation of this Act. The Mission is led by a Senior IAS officer as ex-officio Mission Director assisted by another IAS officer as the Addl. Mission Director. The team in addition, has on board a Management consultant to manage, process, monitor, improvise, and focus on reducing the defaults and eventually help the mission director to bring in more services under the Act. An IT consultant looks after all the technology aspects of the Mission interfacing with National Informatics Centre (NIC) - the primary technology provider to the Mission and various agencies who are implementing Sakala. An Administrator at the level of a Karnataka Administrative Service (KAS) officer has been appointed to manage the administrative activities of the Mission. At District level, District IT consultants assist the Deputy Commissioners, who are the nodal officers for managing and monitoring Sakala for all departments.
There are multiple stakeholders for this solution. First set of departments who would adopt their delivery services under Sakala were Revenue, Transport, Commercial Taxes and 8 other departments. In order to bring in expertise in Workflow Analysis and Business Process, institutions such as Indian Institute of Management, Fiscal Policy Institute, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry were involved in working with these departments and outlining the processes for services brought under Sakala.
In order to receive feedback from the citizens, consultations have been continuously held with various civil society organizations such as Resident Welfare Associations, Consumer Forums and NGOs.

(a) Strategies

 Describe how and when the initiative was implemented by answering these questions
 a.      What were the strategies used to implement the initiative? In no more than 500 words, provide a summary of the main objectives and strategies of the initiative, how they were established and by whom.
• Commitment of the political executive to the cause – The Act was formulated in a span of one month and was unanimously approved by both the houses of the legislature.
• Mobilising the ownership by all government officials – Extensive discussions and deliberations were held with government functionaries and their associations to convince them about the benefits of implementing this Act.
• Capacity building and systematic reforms – Once the services were identified by respective departments along with their time lines, workshops at State, District and sub District level were held to break up each and every process of service delivery and fix individual as well as collective responsibilities. The problems indicated by the staff were promptly addressed by the Government such as issue of amended rules/circulars/procedures, providing of additional staff (460), hardware like computers, UPS and printers. (500).
• Training - A detailed training plan was drawn with the help of Administrative Training Institute, Mysore to train 70000 government officials about the roles and responsibilities devolved by the Act as well as the rules and regulations prescribed under the new dispensation. This is envisaged as an ongoing process.
• Use of Information Technology – National Informatics Centre has been entrusted with the job of creating a portal for entering all the applications received from citizens on a real time basis and monitoring the service delivery for all the departments/services in an integrated manner.
• Use of Media – The Department of Information and Publicity has been entrusted the job of making citizens aware of their rights by virtue of publicising various provisions of the Act.

• Citizen Participation – Competitions were announced soon after the publication of the Act for giving a name, slogan and logo for the initiative carrying cash prizes of Rs. 30,000, 50,000 & 1 lakh respectively. The Logo given below was designed by a citizen himself – ‘Justice Hammer with a stop watch’ & the Slogan reads “ Indu Naale Innilla – Helida Samaya Tappolla” means “No more delays- We deliver on time” and the name Sakala means – ‘in time’/good time.
• Involvement of stake holders - Interaction with consumer forums, resident welfare associations and other NGO’s were carried out to spread the awareness of this program and obtain their feedback for improving, evolving and amending the Act and the rules, in the true spirit of Right to Information Act.
• Grievance redressal mechanism - A call centre has been set up on a Public Private Partnership mode, which acts as an interface between Citizens & the Mission for providing information, lodging complaints and ensuring compliance in a prompt manner.
• Help Desks – Citizen has been treated as a consumer of Government services. Hence various consumer organisations have been involved to set up help desks for eliminating the middle men menace and bringing government closer to a common man.
• Concurrent Evaluation- Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Bangalore has been entrusted with the job of concurrent evaluation of Sakala. Field Visit reports are prepared by the Institute to guide the Mission.

(b) Implementation

 b.      What were the key development and implementation steps and the chronology? No more than 500 words
• The Deliberations started in the second week of December 2011.
• A special team to study the process in Bihar was done in the first week of January 2012.
• Formulations & Workflow preparations in the Month of February 2012 with each of the participating department officials.
• Pilot Launch on March 2, 2012
• State Wide Launch on April 2, 2012.
• More than 13.5 million people have benefitted from this initiative so far.
• Additional 114 services and 8 more departments came under the ambit of Sakala in the month of November 2012.

(c) Overcoming Obstacles

 c.      What were the main obstacles encountered? How were they overcome? No more than 500 words
Framing of an Act is not sufficient to ensure its enforcement in letter and spirit. The single portal enabling online monitoring and automated checks and balances can be affected only with a personalized follow-up at the highest level of Chief Secretary and the Chief Minister. The administrative heads have to physically supervise the implementation on day to day basis. The integration of Sakala with Human Resource Monitoring System (HRMS) carrying the service details of all the Government employees would ensure that the defaulters are taken action against under the conduct rules as per 16 of the act.
No system can be made sustainable by outside forces alone. The internal motivation of the employees to improve their brand image in the eyes of the public have to be continuously re-enforced through training, workshop, seminars etc.
• Citizen Awareness : Creating citizen awareness of the provisions and benefits of Sakala is a long sustained effort. Innovative approaches such as street plays, radio shows, tv shows, radio jingles apart from newspaper reports are being pursued to increase citizen awareness.
• Employees Responsiveness: Employees are being trained on the provisions of the act and the usage of the Sakala application by the nodal training agency of the government – The Administrative Training Institute. In addition the training to the provisions of the act, the training also attempts to help participants gain skills in time management, stress management and to develop a mindset of seeing a citizen as a valued customer.
• Display boards: As per the provisions of the act, display boards need to be put in every office delivering services under Sakala outlining the procedure and the official to contact for each of the service. While many offices have put up these boards, some offices have not yet done so.
• All Applications not entered in Sakala Portal: This bypass hinders the primary objective to monitor the timeline of delivery of service.
• Computer and data Entry Operators shortage: As and when requests from various departments are received, efforts have been made to augment the staff.
• Software Integration Issues: Karnataka has many software applications running in each of the department. Integrating all of them seamlessly into Sakala Software is in progress and glitches are being ironed out.
• Multiple department Co ordination: Any effort involving 20 departments and 265 services needs multiple levels of coordination and these are being facilitated by frequent review meetings at various levels under the leadership of the Law Minister, Chief Secretary and Additional Chief Secretary to sort out differences.
• Continuous Re- engineering process to improvise and energize current systems. 3 case studies are being developed to highlight the innovations that are emerging from the field.
• Citizen Participation is a MUST! : While there have been close to 4,50,000 applications whose delivery has happened beyond the stipulated time, only 5 have come forward to claim the compensation. This ration must increase in order to push the bureaucracy to bring in administrative discipline and deliver timely results.

(d) Use of Resources

 d.      What resources were used for the initiative and what were its key benefits? In no more than 500 words, specify what were the financial, technical and human resources’ costs associated with this initiative. Describe how resources were mobilized
Financial Resources: The GoK funded the project initially by allocating 50 Million INR for the project. The amount was enhanced to a sum of 150 million INR to cover all costs associated with the project. The Costs involved under various heads of expenses is given below:
Financial Costs: A total of crores have been spent so far in the project, which includes Salary to Mission staff, Technical Upgradation, Charges to the Call centre that handles grievances, Helpdesks that man the counter to aid citizens, publicity and awareness generation etc.
Technical expenses: Include software development charges, Analytical MIS report generating software to the tune of about crores. This is the biggest investment so far for the mission.
Publicity Expenses: Amount paid towards generating awareness and publicity was about 58.85 lakh. Human Resources: Payment of Salaries to staff and IT consultants who are present at every district level amounting to 40 lakhs.
Call centre has been paid 6 lakhs so far and other expenses like stationary and general office expenses came to 3.5 lakhs.

Sustainability and Transferability

  Is the initiative sustainable and transferable?
The external motivation for performance based incentives has been introduced through annual ‘Sarvottam Seva’ cash awards for Group A, B, C & D employees of Karnataka. Each member of the team will be recognized for their meritorious service which is citizen friendly.

The State has been a host for many other states and countries to emulate the Guarantee of Services in that state/Country. The Government of India has sought recommendations from the state to bring in the model of Karnataka for the country. The Sakala Initiative has been an inspiration for many others. Our Mission Director was invited to hand hold other states at a UNDP & World Bank organised event at Bhubaneswar on 23 November. The topic was ‘Experience sharing on the Implementation of Right to Service Acts’. On the same Note, Our Addl. Mission Director was invited by the Bangladesh government at Dhaka on 29 -30 November to help them formulate a Sakala system in that country. The Afghanistan team of District Governors of that country came to the state on 2 November to learn and understand citizen centric services and Sakala. The Chief Secretary of Gujarat visited us on 30 November to know more on Sakala. A Team from Punjab will be visiting us on 14 December.
IIM Bangalore will be developing 3 case studies based on the innovations that have emerged from their concurrent research. These will focus on the Business Process Reengineering of services pertaining to Revenue Department’s Land Conversion process, Home Department’s Police Verification of Passport Application and Integration of services at the Rural Offices.
IIM Bangalore has been conducting field visits and providing qualitative assessments and identifying challenges for successful implementation of Sakala. One of their core recommendations has been to systematically increase the number of services that are under the ambit of Sakala and also to improve the quality of delivery of these services. Business Process Reengineering needs to be applied on many services that have outdated steps in the delivery of services.
A Research Team from the Booth School of Economics - The University of Chicago, USA is visiting Bangalore on 14 December for two weeks for carrying out an evaluation study of Sakala and its impact on Citizens.

Additional efforts identified to achieve long term sustainability are as follows:
Uniform user experience across the citizen interface points – be it regular government offices or Special Citizen Service Centres (like Nemmadi)

On-line as well as Mobile Governance / Call Centre based acceptance of applications for services from the citizens.

Broadbasing Information Technology IT will continue to form the backbone to serve citizens better. Mission aims to achieve inter-operability and cross-communication of multiple databases of government and private systems to use the information therein to accurately and quickly/on-line deliver services in a secure fashion.

Universal use of Digital Signatures Certificates, and, maximization of e-delivery of services.

Integrating Services Mission aims at leveraging existing databases of government departments to harness information therein accurately, quickly/over-the-counter, deliver public services.

Lessons Learned

 What are the impact of your initiative and the lessons learned?
Before introduction of SAKALA
Absence of centralized monitoring
Disposal rate was not encouraging many a times not crossing 75%.
Expenditure to be borne by customer to avail one service was to include hidden costs (bribe).Corruption was high, govt failed to win public confidence and lost public participation in governance.
The business statistics available was not foolproof as it was prepared manually thus misleading policy makers.
No easy access to vent public grievance
Accountability and transparency was lacking in the system (Citizen was running to find the status of application)
Revenue Generation impacted in the absence of checks and balances (maintenance of manual register) when citizens were delivered a particular service. Money swindling was rampant. Ex. If record room keeper delivers 100 pages of duplicates copies, he should have deposited Rs.500 rupees to treasury but would not.

After introduction of SAKALA
Centralized monitoring has helped both political and administrative executive to have check on cutting edge administration.
Disposal rate has reached 98.91% by the end of May. It is on increasing trend.
Expenditure amount includes only the service specific prescribed service charges, if applicable. Corruption has come down. This has won public confidence and public participation in governance process has increased.
Data prepared on objective basis. This data can really add value to a policy maker to plan and act in a people friendly manner. No chances of manipulation
Multiple access points like call centre, mobile interface, e-mail access thus widespread public grievance redressal mechanism.
Accountability and transparency has crept into the system. (Status runs behind citizen in the form of SMS).
Revenue generation has gone up because every application seeking service is accounted for through the system, thus swindling money can be avoided.
Lessons learnt can be summarized as:
• Information asymmetry benefiting middle-men, especially in departments receiving a high-volume of applications, was highlighted in the discussions. It was suggested that helpdesks manned by informed citizen volunteers be strengthened with standardised checklists to provide crucial details such as documents required, and where and to whom to submit applications.
• Tahsildhar and the DCs spend considerable amount of time issuing various certificates on the basis of affidavits submitted by the applicant. Hence, it was suggested that a number of certificates provided by the Revenue department could be provided as an over-the-counter service. Another suggestion was to replace these certificates with self-declarations as in the cases of Income Tax and Property Tax (Self-Assessment Scheme).
• There is need for ATI to conduct more in-depth department-wise training.
• Officers should be motivated to perform well with regards to Sakala through incentives such as recognition. Incentives could not only ensure that requests are disposed within time but also that all requests are captured by the system.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms, Government of Karnataka
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Dr. Shalini Rajneesh
Title:   Mission Director  
Telephone/ Fax:   080-22032585
Institution's / Project's Website:
Address:   Room no 612, 6th Floor, Gate 1, MS Building, Dr Ambedkar Veedhi, Bangalore
Postal Code:   560001
City:   Bangalore
State/Province:   Karnataka
Country:   India

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