Citizen Service Delivery at the Door-steps
Gandhinagar District Collectorate

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
The initiative of “Administration at your door-steps” addressed three major social groups: I. Students Every year several thousand students approach the district administration to get the certificates for Scheduled Caste / Scheduled Tribe (SC/ST) and / or Socially & Economically Backward Caste (SEBC). There are related requirements of certificates for (1) Income, (2) Domicile as well as (3) Non-Creamilayer status. These certifications are necessary to claim admissions on preferred basis or to qualify for financial grants or assistance at the institutions for higher and professional education. The time gap between the announcement of examination results and application for admission is hardly 2-3 weeks. As a result, the students have to rush to the administration immediately after the announcement of examination results. The students from the remote rural areas had to go to the district or tehsil headquarters. Quite often, due to lack of awareness many of them were not able to fulfill the procedural requirements and had to go through lot of inconvenience and costs. The district administration had to handle unprecedented high number of applicants in a short span of two weeks. They had to experience lot of pressure to serve the applicants while ensuring due compliance for the important aspects of caste status. Inconvenience and associated costs, Panic and in rare cases negative impact on academic career opportunity were the problems to students. Whereas, work pressure and related extra care needed for accuracy were the concerns for the district administration. II. Illiterate & Poor Citizens residing in Rural Area The poor and illiterate rural masses are often deprived of the very benefits which are actually for them. This is primarily because of lack of awareness on their end about the concerned administration, the procedure, the requirements of documents, etc. Addition of new-born and newly-married family members in the ration card, benefits to widows and physically handicapped citizens are among important such schemes from the government. At times, even where the prospective beneficiaries are aware of the benefits, they lack confidence in the administration. They do not risk the costs of travel to the district office nor they risk the loss of their daily earnings for the day(s) they have to spend for the paperwork. They may even have to make back and forth journeys to fulfill all the statutory requirements related to the application submission. Lack of awareness backed with lack of confidence in the system causes the real beneficiary to not apply for the benefit they deserve. III. Senior Citizens There are special government privileges and schemes for senior citizens (aged 60 and above). It is always welcome to reach out to them and offer them instant & on-spot services rather than expecting them to go through multiple visits to the Government offices.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
Gandhinagar Collectorate proposed “Services at your door-steps” initiative to solve the problem mentioned above. The initiative was as follows: To address the needs of the school students, the administration launched one or two day service delivery camps at schools. The dates of the service camp were proactively planned even before the examinations. The onus of ensuring a complete application of a student was passed on to the school authorities. These authorities were trained by the administration well before the date of the camp. The school authorities and teachers passed the information to the students. The students with the help of their teachers and parents filled-up the application papers. The representatives from the administration pre-verified the paperwork. On the day of the camp, the tehsil and district authorities and service staff visited the school campus to complete on spot issue of the certificate. The related services such as photocopies, attestation, verification and instant photo, etc. were also handled on spot. The applicant students or their parents did not have to visit any offices or wait in any queues or face any rush. The authorities had sufficient time to ensure all compliances before the issue of important certifications. To reach out to the illiterate and poor citizens in the remote rural areas, the administration launched service delivery camps in the villages. The decision making authority, supporting staff remained present at the village. In most cases the initiative was held at the school premises along with the issue of the caste certificates and other documents to the students. In some cases the village panchayat hosted the camp. The application forms and related information were pre-distributed to the applicants through village level volunteers and local administration. The documents were verified at the camp. Necessary stamp and attestation were done during the camp. The applications were submitted to the state level citizen service delivery system software through Internet connectivity as well as State Wide Area Network. The computer generated acceptance notes / acknowledgement were given to the applicants to assure them that their part of the work is successfully completed. Later, within the stipulated time limits, after due diligence at the back-end, the final grant orders, etc. were issued to the applicants. Several old citizens, Helpless old people, widows, illiterate families came forward to receive the benefits they deserved. They could avail the same without any loss of their daily labour, at minimal costs and without travelling to any offices. In both the cases the key objectives of citizen service delivery were achieved successfully. The initiative was very well supported by the school staff, local volunteers. Leading personalities of the area blessed the events and expressed their deep satisfaction. To a good extent, the citizens felt empowered and their faith in the administration was improved significantly.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
The initiative was creative & innovative in the following ways:  Instead of applicants approaching an administration, the administration approached applicants under this initiative. This overwhelmed the citizens.  The citizens & students came forward and derived the benefit as they faced no uncertainty related to the paperwork process. In some cases, the same citizens had avoided visiting the district offices for several years.  The initiative has been a real example of “Technology for People”. The laptops, internet and S-WAN connectivity were utilized to serve otherwise unaddressed people.  The events were of local nature (instead of typically at the government office). So, local volunteers and people participated with great joy.  Most of the paperwork formalities were completed well-ahead of the camp day. As a result the officers only had to scrutinize completed papers. This could be handled with much greater efficiency.  The justification of the initiative was on basis of the effort and costs to the administration vis-à-vis the gross sum of efforts and costs to the citizens. This made the initiative an all-out winner!

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
Doorsteps delivery – The strategy & its implementation Process: • The administration prepared the general guidelines for the participant school or village communities. The guidelines included list of preparations expected on their end, paperwork formalities, connectivity infrastructure, etc. • On the other end, guidelines were prepared for the administration including the officers, the service provider staff. Delegation of powers and responsibilities were also a part of this process. Awareness: • The local participant organizations were trained by the administrative authorities and staff. The training was to explain the procedure to be followed by them. • The participant organizations conducted an awareness campaign for the beneficiaries. The media advertisements, press notes, local announcements and bulletins and hoardings were published. • The schools and local panchayats distributed relevant forms and information to the prospective applicants. Preparation and ground-level work: • Local people with the help of the representatives of the civic centre guided the applicants to fill-up the forms and prepare enclosures. • The supportive services such as instant photo, photocopies, attestation, lamination, etc. were made available at the camp site. • The school principal and senior staff verified the caste and birth records of the students and endorsed the authenticity of the applications in case of students. • The completed and verified applications were available to the officers for their final scrutiny. • The eligible applications were granted and the certificates, orders were generated. Outcome & Reforms: • Caste, Income, Domicile, etc. Certificates were issued to the students. Grant, Assistance orders were issued for the eligible applicants. Ration-card amendments were carried out. • During the doorsteps delivery camps, suggestions and feedbacks from all the stakeholders were sought. The same helped further improvements of the services. • The success of one event attracted its repetition at the next location. • Complete documentation including photographs, feedback notes, etc. was maintained. The documentation shall help replication and sustainability in an effective manner.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The major stakeholders involved in implementation are: • School Students • School Principal • School Staff • Citizens at large • Village Panchayats • District Administration (Collector, Tehsildar, Area Development Officer, etc.) • Civic Centre Staff • Local volunteers • Leading citizens and NGOs • Network Administrators (NIC) The district administration facilitated the intiative. They also assured the availability of officers, staff as well as information. They coordinated with all the other stakeholders to ensure effective service delivery at the doorsteps. The school authorities, staff and Village Panchayat administrators provided help at local level. They provided the furnished space, data connectivity and basic amenities. They also extend required assistance and information to students and applicants. Students and Citizens at Large are the primary beneficiaries. Students get the required certificates in quick, convenient and in-expensive way. Citizens get the government services in an assured manner. They save time and costs to avail benefits intended for them. Civic Centre staff delivers the services. They interact with the applicants. They verify the filled-up application forms. They handle the entry of the application data into the computer system. They carry out printing, lamination etc. services and deliver the reply to the applicants. Leading Citizens and local volunteers facilitate the awareness of the initiative. They motivate the citizens to avail the benefit of the opportunity of services at the doorsteps. They assist the applicants, service staff and administrative authorities on the day of the event. They also contribute in any other ways they possibly can.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
The project was an extension of the citizen service delivery administration already in place at the district level. The state has set up a reliable, high speed wide area network to facilitate connectivity from rural areas. So there were no significant infrastructure costs. The event related costs were incurred by the host school or panchayat. Most of the awareness and assistance related work was handled by the volunteers and local people at no charge. The processing fee of Rs. 20 per application was recovered from the applicants. This fee covered the service delivery costs of the civic centre staff and other overheads. The entire initiative was facilitated in a revenue neutral manner. However if the cost savings to the citizens is considered, the initiative offered huge cost benefit. Hundreds of students and citizens saved the costs of travelling to the concerned offices. They also saved their valuable time.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
Convenience to the students: The students no longer have to stand in queues and experience any delays or uncertainty. Their work gets ready ahead of time. Such a service to the citizens of tomorrow is a matter of great satisfaction for the administration. Reaching out to the under-privileged citizens: Helpless old people, Physically challenged citizens, widows and hundreds of illiterate citizens residing in rural villages hardly come forward to seek the benefits meant for them. They either do not know about those or they lack assurance about their success in tapping these benefits. Delivery at the doorsteps comes to them as a big blessing. They have hardly anything to lose or risk. Such a successful reach is also a success for the government. Participation & Involvement of Stakeholders: As the service delivery event is focused for the local people, volunteers contribute their best to the event. The event in true sense becomes of the people, for the people, by the people. Cost & Time Benefit to Citizens and Administration: Students & Citizens save lot of time as they receive benefits without having to visit a government office. They don’t have to go back and forth for paperwork compliance. The poor and deprived beneficiaries save their hard earned money. The administration on the other end achieve greater level of efficiency due to pre-verified, completed paperwork and instant disposals. Faith in the Government Administration: As the government administration reaches out to the people, a positive feeling prevails among the citizens. They are inspired to expect more from the government. Their faith in the administration gets a boost.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
Presence of Senior Officers at the Camp: Every camp was attended by a senior government officer. The district collector himself attended most of the camps. This helped in boosting the confidence of all the stakeholders. The beneficiaries and the officers had highly effective interactions. The officers also derived the first hand information through the events. Documentation & Phases: As the events were carried out in a routine and regular manner, the procedures were formalized. Several phases including Promotion of Awareness, Involvement of local people, Planning & Preparations before the event, Paperwork formalities on pro-active basis, Approvals & Decision making and Distribution of Certificates & Awards, etc. were defined and time tagged to streamline the proceedings. Delegation of Roles & Responsibilities: The officers, Service delivery work force as well as the host institutions were conveyed their roles and responsibilities. This ensured a healthy teamwork leading to the success of the initiative. Criteria for Success & Report: The objective focused on both the qualitative & quantitative ends. We tried to involve as many citizens as we could. More the beneficiaries, greater the success of the initiative. We also tried to cover more and more services as we progressed. The involvement of local stakeholders was also a parameter to consider for success. The feedbacks and suggestions were crucially important for future events. The formalized reports helped the evaluation of the success of the initiative.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
The main obstacles against implementation of the initiative were as follows: Response of the Beneficiaries While the school level events met with good success since the start, the citizen services took a while to succeed. For a common citizen it was difficult to believe that he / she does not need to travel to a government office to get the work done. It was difficult for them to accept that the volunteers and service staff will handhold them to complete the paperwork. As the initiative progressed from village to village, more and more people turned out to avail the benefits. At some of the places, the event sustained two days beyond the date of the camp. Involvement of local hosts: As the initiative was proposed by the government administration, some of the schools expressed reluctance to participate. They were likely to have anticipated some inspections and audit as a result of the visit of senior officials. After the initial experiences, a wave of comfort prevailed and the local bodies started expressing their enthusiasm to host the event. Availability of Services: The facilities such as photocopiers were not available at some of the villages. People had to visit near by places to get those done. Later a portable copier was added along with the computer equipment for the camps. This resolved the problem. Similarly, the stamp papers were not available as there were no vendors in those villages. The Tehsildar arranged to have a stamp vendor from the headquarters to remain present at the camp. Network Connectivity: Initially the work was handled off-line due to lack of computer network connectivity. Later with the availability of S-WAN and mobile internet, the problem was resolved.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
Citizen Empowerment, Public-Private Partnership (Teamwork), Efficient Operations, Technology for People The initiative of a government administration to deliver services at the door-steps of the citizens was welcomed by the citizens. Many of these citizens had avoided approaching the administration for the benefits they really deserved. They were not sure that they would qualify for the schemes. They were not aware of the offices they needed to go to. They did not know which forms to fill-up and what to enclose. In case of some of the common services like ration card amendments, etc. where there was a greater level of awareness, the citizens were hesitant to spare 2-3 days for the procedural work. They had to lose their daily earnings and spend for the travel in order to visit the district or tehsil offices. Yet, they were not sure of the completion of the paperwork. At times they had to count on touts or agents to get the work done. “Services at the doorsteps” resolved all these issues. Citizens derived a great sense of satisfactions as they were served at their home place without any time delays or travel expenditure. Citizens had the taste of the power of democracy where they felt that the administration was really meant for them. Citizens felt empowered. More and more services were covered in the “door-steps” initiative. The local people realized the value of the initiative. They appreciated the effort and formed a positive image of the administration. They welcomed the effort and participated by offering their infrastructure and support. At Patnakuva village, the primary school teachers offered their computer lab for printing of the certificates on spot. The initiative reflected a good example of Public-Private Teamwork. The students did not have to face any panic or rush to avail the required certifications within a small time period. They did not have to stand in queues and wait for hours to get their work done. Their parents appreciated the initiative. While the government administration had to incur the additional costs of travel and temporary set up of infrastructure, people at large benefitted much more. Hundreds of students saved hundreds of rupees of travel and related expenses. Hundreds of citizens saved time and money. The value of small amounts to poor people was far more than that absorbed by the administration. The initiative guaranteed and justified the cost benefit. With the availability of ICT, the initiative clearly expresses relevance. The data required to process an application is always available locally. It can easily travel to the servers located remotely. So it makes all the sense if services are catered at the door-steps instead of expecting the beneficiaries to travel to the central place. This was a perfect example of use of “Technology for People”.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
“Citizen Service Delivery at the Doorsteps” has elevated the expectations of the citizens. Driven with success, the replication is obvious and natural. The beginning was from the district administration. However the village or local NGOs would invite the administration to come to their locality for doorsteps services. Ultimately, Citizens, the prime beneficiaries shall sustain the initiative. The doorsteps services initiative has been an “All-Win” initiative. Every stakeholder is a gainer and there is no loser. Citizens and School Students & Parents are the prime beneficiaries. They have so much to gain and nothing to lose. They save costs and time. The local schools and NGOs and leaders are more than happy to host the camps. They feel proud to be a part of the service that benefits their community. All they have to spare is their existing infrastructure and their time. They do so with pleasure. The government officers see their success in the initiative as they find the benefits reach to beneficiaries in the most efficient and effective manner. The technology beautifully ties up all the wings of the citizen service network. There are practically no additional costs or investments. As there are schools in every part of the country and the needs of the citizens in the rural areas are similar in nature, the initiative has a tremendous scope to replicate. Over the replication, the initiative shall further mature. More and more G2C services and some B2C services may get included with the spread of the initiative.

 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)
The district administration derived great satisfaction through the “Citizen Services at the Doorsteps” initiative. The officers and the ground level staff enjoyed serving the people. As we served people, we could see them on the same side of the fence. The organizations and volunteers participated with enthusiasm. People appreciated the care and concern the administration offered to them. As all the energies align, the positive outcomes multiply. Such “All-win” initiatives can establish the faith of the citizens in the governing bodies. Empowered citizens and Efficient Administration can be pillars of a healthy democracy. We sensed that cost is practically a no factor. As all stakeholders offer what they can, no single stakeholder bears the burden. The administration may only serve as a trigger and play their formal role. Later people catch up and enjoy serving people. While the initiative may sound creative and innovative, it also seems natural and obvious. The technology has removed the place barriers. So it makes all the sense to serve people where they are. While we shall make every effort to spread the initiative within our administration, we shall also make efforts to publicize so that the same gets replicated. We find it our responsibility to further fine tune the initiative. We expect to add more services including B2C services. We expect to launch services on wheels so that the administration can reach out to every citizen in every corner. Such models of distributed service delivery should be studied collectively to prepare a model for the nation. Through the policy support, the model should be replicated and spread in every part of the country.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Gandhinagar District Collectorate
Institution Type:   Government Department  
Contact Person:   Prithvi Swaroop
Title:   Chairman, District eSeva Society  
Telephone/ Fax:   +91-79-23220630/+91-79-23259030
Institution's / Project's Website:  
Address:   Sector 11
Postal Code:   382010
City:   Gandhinagar
State/Province:   GUJARAT

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