| 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
One of the most challenging tasks IT & C had during the initial days of Mee Seva was to establish Mee Seva as a citizen’s one stop e-governance shop. IT & C identified the Government departments which had high public interfaces and initiated discussions with them. Studies revealed that the large demand and lack of transparency had resulted in wide spread corruption and breeding of large number of unauthorized agents and touts.
To curb these and to ensure that the requests were processed only through authorized channels, IT & C decided to standardize the entire delivery channels across the state. Subsequently, all the authorized/recognized delivery channels, including CSCs, APOnline centers etc., were converted into Mee Seva centers. In addition to these, the state also came up with ESD rules. Government of Andhra Pradesh issued Andhra Pradesh Information Technology Rules (Electronic Service Delivery), 2011 in order to provide legal sanctity to the digitally signed certificates. It was also made mandatory for Departments to migrate to electronic service delivery within a period of five years.
District eGovernance Societies were formed, registered and empowered to function as nodal agencies for the implementation of Mee Seva. With the help of these DeGSs, the central team did many capacity building activities in every districts and mandals and ensured that the IT awareness levels of department officers were enhanced. In the similar manner, training for using digital signatures was also given to the concerned officers.
Convincing other departments and bringing them under the Mee Seva parasol was another and perhaps one of the most challenging tasks the team had to undertake. Inter departmental coordination meetings were arranged regularly with key departments to ensure that they join the bandwagon. The team studied the hardware gaps and necessity and helped the department in establishing Backend hardware, wherever required. This ensured that the hardware available in the department were capable and adequate enough to support high transaction applications.
The entire solution was hosted at a state of art State Data Center. The Web Based System, which was deployed at a central location, ensured that the services were easily accessible to all the stakeholders, anytime and anywhere. The project worked on an Integrated Service Delivery Model to provide a single entry point for a wide range of services to the citizens. It also brought in a digital PKI enabled integrated architecture through multiple service delivery points by blending various pre-existing state initiatives with the Mission-mode Projects like State Data Center (SDC), State Wide Area Network (SWAN) and Common Service centers (CSCs).
Government process re-engineering was done to improvise overall efficiency of Government service delivery. IT&C department had envisioned procedural changes in various Government processes to enable faster delivery of services, optimization of operational cost and improvement in quality of service delivery.
The progressive reforms led development of innovative business models in Government service delivery; thus removing inconsistencies in the system and enhancing efficiency of SLAs (time, cost, resources etc.). The systems were developed by optimizing, redefining and automating existing Government processes benefitting citizens and various Government departments.
IT&C department utilized the power of communication in effective implementation of Mee Seva project and has innovatively devised an exclusive communication strategy utilizing various media platforms such as: Electronic Media, Television, Print Media, and Display Boards etc. along with established PR techniques to connect with various stakeholders of the projects. Mee Seva communication strategy incorporates various key segments where information is required to be communicated to stakeholders such as: capacity building, awareness, stakeholder motivation & enhanced participation, feedback/grievance management, conflict resolution, developing common interactive forums etc
| 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
MeeSeva is a multi-departmental, multi-location, technology-rich; completely home grown initiative. A technology intensive multi-disciplinary project of this nature requires the entire range of parallel and sequential activities to converge together around the same time. Mee Seva exemplifies the role played by all stakeholders working together as a team.
• Government Departments
o Dept. of Information Technology and Communications
IT&C department played a key-catalyzing role in the entire process. It evolved the concept, became the main implementer and technology partner. Important components of the Project were identified, such as creation/updating databases, developing front-end and back-end applications, strengthening connectivity, procuring digital signatures and training field-functionaries in their usage, establishing additional CSCs etc. and work was started simultaneously on all these components.
o Other Government Departments
The participating departments have supported well in delivering their departmental service through MeeSeva, organizing the trainings and following up with the progress and adhering to the timelines.
• Citizens: MeeSeva being a citizen centric and a 'demand side' project where the incipient demand always existed, there was extensive cooperation from them by adapting to the new system.
• Technology Solution Provider (NIC): NIC has developed several applications for various departments of GoAP, where they have extended the data through web service for delivering the services through MeeSeva.
• Authorized Service Providersensured smooth functioning of MeeSeva by providing and maintaining IT infrastructure, appointing authorized agents, training them, providing secured stationery and attending to customers in a user-friendly manner.
• Kiosk Operators: Self-employed youth who operated Mee Seva centres, bearing all the troubles and probing questions from the citizen as well as field level officers to render the services within SLA.
• Media: Rapid penetration of information is only possible through Media. In publicizing MeeSeva till the rural level, media has played a very important role.
| 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
Mee Seva is the direct result of the experience acquired through existing Government initiatives blended with emerging technologies and citizen needs. The concept was translated into reality, culminating in the creation of about 7000+ Mee Seva Centers throughout the state. The role of the IT & C department as technical arm of the state was to conceptualize the project, coordinate with various departments involved and develop the entire technical infrastructure of the project including hardware and software besides providing connectivity for the multiple offices in the state and the State Data Centre, as well as the management of the setting up of MeeSeva centers through the franchisee model all over Andhra Pradesh.
The project was launched with an initial seed investment of $ 1.45 Million. The project used technical infrastructure created under the existing programmes and leveraged it to the fullest. This Infrastructure had already been created with the support from Government of India at a cost of more than $ 32.3 Million for AP.
AP Online a joint venture company promoted jointly by M/s TCS and Government of Andhra Pradesh has been appointed to Mee Seva system Development; a team of 50-60 developers is exclusively working on Mee Seva.
In Mee Seva, a key pillar for the success of the project was determined by the successful digitization of data which involved two major aspects, namely, (i) to verify, authenticate and digitally sign the records, (ii) to make them available for the centralized Mee Seva platform to successfully fetch and deliver them as services to the citizen. The verification and signing of such bulk data required the development of special software to respond to the challenge of the digital verification and certification of all records. To digitalize the 40 Million land records, all village and block level resources had to be mobilized to first identify, analyze and then digitally sign the documents. Additionally all the departments involved, such as revenue, registration or taxes had to be supplied with different software corresponding to their needs with regards to service delivery. They had to be streamlined to a bouquet of services under one single system as a single gateway, which is now accessed, by the thousands of center operators every day. An initial grant of 200 Million INR by the Government was used for software development and additional hardware.
The centralizedkiosk based model of Mee Seva is an extremely innovative model. Well trained operators, deliver services to the citizens concerning the submission of the appropriate documents along with professional supervision of application processes to the ultimate delivery of the certificates.
Mee Seva centers have been streamlined in design, specification and logo and in addition, urban centers upgraded with the adequate hardware for effective delivery of certificates to the citizen.
Opening of a center involves an approximate cost of around 75000 INR, which includes a desktop, a high quality printer, a scanner, an uninterrupted Internet connection. The innovative business model guarantees the long-term sustainability and profitability by sharing the user charges among all stakeholders.
| 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
1. Coverage: Number of Departments/Services
MeeSeva currently has 192 high impact services from 18 various departments. 30 Services are Category A and remaining 162 services are Category B.
Project also delivers more than 200 Million transactions every year for services like Bill Payments and a range of B2C services making it the country’s biggest one stop e-governance shop.
2. Huge Geographical Coverage
Mee Seva is operational across all 23 districts of Andhra Pradesh with 7000+ kiosks. With centralized architecture, any service can be accessed from anywhere. It has been mandated to the service providers of the kiosks to follow specific norms (Min. infrastructure required & color schemes) for common look and feel.
3. Improvement in efficiency in delivering and availing of ICT enabled services.
Time & Money:
• Category A are delivered in 15 minutes & 25 INR across the counter, which earlier used to take 3-15 days.
• Category B are delivered as per the citizen charter, which earlier used to take 10-60 days.
• Mee Seva now has more than 7000 kiosks where citizens can access Government Services. Earlier citizens could only access the services at issuing authority office.
Transparency in information: Citizens can verify the application status on MeeSeva portal or at service delivery center; whereas earlier there was no visibility on application status.
4. Contribution to Overall e-Transaction Statistics
“Total e-Transactions at National Level (from 01-01-2013 to 07-12-2013)”
• Andhra Pradesh is topmost state in number of e-Transactions executed from 1st January 2013 to 07thDecember 2013 with more than 23% of the National Transactions.
• Andhra Pradesh holds 1st position among all the states with total of 359, 421,156e-Transactions from 1st January 2013 to 07thDecember 2013.
• Statistics are taken from etaal.gov.in, managed by DeiTY- GoI
Statistics “Service Category wise (A/B) Number of Trasactions”
• Mee Seva has completed 33, 869, 673 trasactions till 7th December 2013:
o Cat A: 11, 468, 284
o Cat B: 22, 401, 388
• 34% of the total transactions are Category A which means they have been delivered across the counter.
• A meagre 1 % (219,077/22, 401, 388) of the Category B transactions are pending beyond the citizen charter time limits.
• 90 % (20, 310, 007/22, 401, 388) of the Category B transactions have been approved.
5. Capacity Building
• 1710 Training sessions conducted for 170 services/18 Departments.
• Total 58129 users have been trained including 45312 Kiosk operators &12817 Departmental officials.
| 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
Director Electronic Service Delivery (ESD): Government of Andhra Pradesh issued Andhra Pradesh Information Technology Rules (Electronic Service Delivery), 2011 in order to provide legal sanctity to the digitally signed certificates and make it mandatory for the Departments to migrate to electronic service delivery within a period of five years. This ensured that departments move to electronic delivery of services in a period of time.
The Director of Electronic Service Delivery has the responsibility to ensure that the system of Electronic Service Delivery, specified under these rules functions efficiently and effectively for the benefit of the citizens.
District e-Governance Society (DeGS) - DeGS have been made the nodal agencies for the implementation of MeeSeva. All the operational and technical issues in the district are being taken by the DeGS. The Departmental user charges for the transactions are being sent to them.
Project Management & Monitoring
• PMU MeeSeva: Project Management Unit at IT&C department has been established to address various project implementation issues (citizen grievance report, change request etc.), received through unique email id (firstname.lastname@example.org), coordinate with service providers and concerned Government department(s) to resolve the issues and provide timely issue resolution status report/feedback to kiosk operators/ citizens.).
Other Systems for Monitoring, Implementation and Grievance Redressal
• MeeSeva Request Tracking System (MRTS): MRTS has been introduced for automatic tracking of requests. It is a web based Ticket and Change Request raising and tracking tool. The system facilitates tracking of requests “who requested what-when requested-what was done to address the request-who handled the request-how much time it took them”. Request Tracker is easy to use, where one screen records all information about a single request. Extensive search capabilities allow the user to identify similar problems or requests that were handled in the past, making the solutions instantly available.
• Online Discussion Forum with FAQ “(http://MeeSeva.gov.in/APSDCDeptPortal/User Interface/DiscussionPage.aspx)” This Forum is open to the MeeSeva Users, kiosk operators etc.
• Help Desk email ID (http://MeeSeva.gov.in/APSDCDeptPortal/User Interface/Help-Desk.html): e-mails can be sent directly to this Help-Desk Mail id for suggestions, complaints and grievances.
• 1100 - This is the call center number. The customers can call this Call number and register their complaints or seek information.
| 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
• Administrative Control and Establishment of CSCs: Establishing the CSCs needed institutionalization in implementation to ensure that the service delivery was prompt and no disappointment was caused to the citizens. In order to have better administrative control, the powers of Director, ESD were delegated to the Joint Collector which created decentralized leadership and ownership.
• Parallel Issuance of the Services: Though citizen centric services from various departments were identified and are being offered through MeeSeva, many Government officials resorted to the traditional methods of delivering the services. This was changed by introducing a Legal framework – Information Technology Rules (Electronic Service Delivery), 2011 in order to provide legal sanctity to the digitally signed certificates.
• Distribution of Digital Signature and Renewal: Digital signature distribution and renewal posed a challenge as initially there was only one center for issuance and renewal of their digital signatures. Distributed centers were established at 6 locations across the state thus helping the users to conveniently register the digital signatures from their nearest location.
• Implementation of Citizen Charter& SLA: Guidelines on formulating the Charters as well as a list of do’s and don’ts were communicated to various Government departments to enable them to bring out focused and effective charters on the services offered through MeeSeva. The MeeSeva project brings in strict adherence to citizen charter time limits.