| 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
Doorsteps delivery – The strategy & its implementation
• 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.
• 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.
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.