| 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
• Fostering Development: As the infrastructure was made available by the government, the departments started the participation of their various schemes under various government programs and resolutions to eGovern the schemes. The application development and decentralization of the powers started with the connectivity reaching out to the rural level and empowerment of citizens resulting in fostering of development.
• Participation of ultimate stakeholder: The schemes for the government are successful once the benefits start to reach out to the intended beneficiary of the scheme. For example, the project eGRAM was implemented to provide over 180 services (like Marriage certificate, income certificate, birth certificate, domicile, B2C services, etc) at 13,685 villages through implementation of e-Governance. Multiple components of the initiative like SDC, SATCOM and local ICT infrastructure at rural level, converged together for providing these services. Thus, the participation from ultimate beneficiary started happening at the grass root and especially at the rural level.
• Inclusive Development: The project like SDC, SWAN ensures that the participation is being covered across the departments, users, implementing agencies and local stakeholders of every scheme. This resulted in delivery of services, hitherto restricted to few, to all the intended citizens of the state. The availability of service to the beneficiaries resulted in the inclusive development of the citizens.
• Fastest service at doorstep, at minimal cost and travel: The electronic delivery of services ensured that the services are delivered as per the citizen charters. This also enabled hassle free delivery of services near/at the citizen’s doorstep through utilization of CSC centres.
• Geographic and demographic composition: The services and the information are made available at State, District, Block, Village & City level irrespective of the Geographic location of the citizen. This has helped bridging the Digital Divide in Government Services.
• Increased reach and interaction between citizens & government: The government has a better reach to all type of communities and the peoples through City Civic Centres, ATVT Centres and e-Gram Centres. As a result of increased reach, the interaction between the citizens and government has also increased resulting in greater awareness amongst citizens about its various citizen centric schemes.
• Increased e-Literacy in the State: The massive capacity building exercises undertaken by the government combined with exposure to electronic service delivery and public awareness exercise resulted in increased e-literacy in the state.
| 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
The solution and model is self sustainable and replicable across the states. The Government provisioned the ICT infrastructure which all departments started to utilized the services from. The various government departments develop the applications and host the services at State Data Centre. The facility management and connectivity services were provided from Network Operations Centre (NOC). State Wide Area Network / VSAT utilized by the departments to reach out to citizens.
With respect to the sustainability of various ICT initiatives, State has ensured provisioning of sufficient resources:-
Financial Sustainability – All eGovernance initiatives including the ICT infrastructure i.e. (GSWAN, GSDC and ATVT) have been subsumed within the overall framework of Governance of the State. The Finance Department of the State has acknowledged the continuity requirement and hence provisions are made in the State Budget for the initiatives
Social and economical – Public (Citizens) at large have accepted the benefits of the new governance systems and hence are more than willing to adopt and access the ICT systems like SWAGAT(State Wide Attention on Grievances by Application of Technology), ATVT(Apno Taluka Vibrant Taluka), Jan Seva Kendra, City Civic Centres, eGram Vishwagram etc.
Cultural – In each ICT initiative State is taking adequate care that social, cultural and digital divide is removed and benefits of reach the poorest of poor through eGovernance
Environmental – State has taken due care of effect on environment and has hence adopted m-Governance as the new model for service delivery and with respect to infrastructure consolidation and augmentation of infrastructure at State Data Centre is a practice of the State since 2008
Institutional and regulatory sustainability – For institutional sustainability State has the following technical teams which manage the ICT systems
(i) Chief Information Officer for each Department to facilitate overall coordination for both administrative and technical activities
(ii) State NIC Team (Team of Application & Database Developers and Network Experts)
(iii) State eGovernance Mission Team (Team of Technology, Change and Finance Management Experts) to facilitate departments on various strategic, technical, change and capacity building and finance related aspects of the project
(iv) GIL executive to support departments in day to day operations of the projects
For regulatory issues, State has issued various Government Resolutions and guidelines from time to time.
| 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
• Solutions should be Citizen centric rather than Technology centric: End results are more important than the ways to achieve them.
• Provide easy and affordable access of Government Services to Citizens. This helps ensuring the participation in eGovernance initiatives from stakeholders, implementation agencies, and departmental staff and even from citizens.
• Encourage participation / partnerships: PPP Model involving entrepreneurs were encouraged to increase effectiveness. The initiatives also give rise to fostering the employment opportunities in ICT space e.g. Village Computer Entrepreneur (VCE), CSC Operators, etc.
• Decision Making and Policy implementation transformation: Stakeholder participation and involvement in decision making was to be raised from various cross-sectoral offices, staff and citizens. It was also difficult for the departments to seek participation from their various officials, staff and other stakeholders in conceptualizing, planning, designing, implementation and monitoring of the programs. Service delivery dashboards and online MIS have transformed the reporting and control functions.
• Address the specific needs: Appropriate measures were taken to meet the specific requirements of end users. Objective and needs vary based on the role of the stakeholder in particular programme. Hence, the eGovernance initiative should be designed to respond to their problems. E.g. MIS requirements by Administration, Monitoring dashboards for implementation agencies, Service delivery charter for citizens, etc.
• Convergence issue: Government and allied departments were not having a Common hosting platform for applications and management. This was a challenge in ensuring the program monitoring across all districts, blocks and villages. Departments had to invest lot of efforts, time and money in planning technological and ICT requirements along with planning their functional solution to be implemented. Most of the time and efforts were required consumed in planning, tendering, commissioning and monitoring of the ICT framework for the eGovernance initiative.
• Skilled Manpower: ICT has become an effective tool to produce skilled manpower. This helped sustainability and scalability of initiatives across the state.
• New technologies: Choosing the right technology is critical considering not only short term but also long term requirements and sustainability. Technological upgradation, scaling and effective management has been a key for success of ICT backbone in Gujarat which is visible from acceptability of the solution from various government ministries, departments and allied agencies.
• Access mechanisms: Multiple Service Access Points were made available to citizens and departments to host the services and access it from anywhere. This may include GSWAN, VSAT, Mobile based connectivity, etc. however, the facility management was centralized.
• Ongoing Monitoring, Assessment and Capacity Building is critical to sustain the ICT initiatives
• Interests and Inputs from all the stakeholders: Ensures acceptance from all stakeholders. The ICT enablement through SDC, GSWAN has helped different systems to exchange information, allocation of resources for the functional implementation than managing the technicalities of implementation.
• The ICT backbone has proved to be a promising factor for eGovernance initiatives implemented across the state. This helped converging whole of Government departments together in ensuring Good Governance through eGovernance.