The State Government was keen on bringing about a massive revamp to improve public service delivery. The former Chief Minister, in October 2011, nominated the Law Minister, Government of Karnataka, as the nodal minister on behalf of the Government to recommend solutions to this problem. He and his team recommended that the best way forward was to pass a legislation that would provide and guarantee Citizens with basic services within a stipulated time.
Dr Shalini Rajneesh, the Secretary, Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms, Government of Karnataka was chosen to spearheaded this reform process. It was decide to adopt a “mission” mode for Sakala. Under her leadership a series of deliberations with citizens, civil society and employee organizations were undertaken in order to make it transparent, citizen friendly and effective. After many discussions at different levels an Act was drafted. A good beginning was made when the legislation was unanimously approved within just 2 months. The Mission put in enormous effort to formulate new rules, standardise Schedules of service delivery, issued Government orders and coordinated with multiple departments to deliver government services in a time bound manner.
It also adopted a participatory and collaborative approach involving the citizens, different government departments and employees at every level. In fact, the name, logo and the slogan for this initiative was given by a citizen at a competition organised for this purpose. The winning entry Sakala, in local language Kannada means, “in-time” or “good time”. The Logo has a clock, which reminds of time-consciousness and the hammer, signifying delivery of justice and also penalty for those who err. The slogan says, “No more delays, we deliver on time.” This reflects the aspiration of the Government to render good governance to 60 million population of the State.
Karnataka has the highest number of services being rendered in the country. Karnataka Sakala Services Act 2011, comprises of 447 different types of citizen services offered by 42 different departments delivered to the citizens in a time bound manner. The following strategies/processes were adopted to solve the above mentioned problems:
• Under this Act, a timeframe has been set for each service delivery.
• Root cause of delays and corruption has been addressed by minimising citizen-government employee interaction and by adoption of new technologies. Since every application can be monitored and tracked, the government employees are bound to deliver services within the stipulate time.
• Every official is assigned the responsibility as well as given required power, authority and support system to carry on his role responsibly and effectively.
• One of the unique aspects of SAKALA is that the employee will have to pay penalty to the citizen if there is a delay. This is exceptional anywhere in India.
• Kiosks have been setup specially for collecting citizen applications. An unprecedented number of applications ( 3,99,79,229 ) have been received of which (39,23,62,68) have been disposed on time.
• The call centres and help desks assist the citizens from providing information, filling up of forms to finally get the service.
• The monitoring system through Sakala has improved government efficiency at different levels.
• In a short span of 18 months, 40 million consumers (Citizens) application have been disposed with more than 98% success rate through this game-changing initiative.
• Administrative reforms have been taken up through re-engineering efforts, capacity building, new recruitment as well as attitudinal re-orientation training programmes.
• Transformation of work culture and the brand image of the government employees has been attempted through positive re-enforcements, encouragement, appreciation and awards rather than only reprimands. Sarvottam Seva Cash awards have been instituted.
• Open governance policy has been adopted by publicising office workflows and check list of documents with the prescribed service procedure/ fees payable etc for all the services under “Sakala”.
1. Scaling Approach of Sakala
One of the unique features of Sakala is the scale at which it is being operationalised. Presently, it is not just a pilot project, or a project in just a few districts/taluks, not just a few services or a project implemented in one department. Sakala is a big over-arching mission dealing with multiple departments, over 42 departments, which have their own unique set of problems/challenges. Converging heterogeneous departments into a single platform for integrating the functions like entering the application, tracking the service request, processing, delivery monitoring delays, defaults, rejections, Complaint redressal etc has been successful. The rapid horizontal and vertical scaling of Sakala from 151 services to 447 in one and a half year, is a testimony of its success, unprecedented in any State till date. Sakala has adopted a vertical approach, that is it is beneficial to different levels from bottom to top of the system.
2. Information for Action
Information and Data Analytics are used extensively to monitor the project. Unlike many E-Governance projects in which the available information is not utilised to inform action, it is highly remarkable that regular data analysis informs monitoring and evaluation.
3. GSC Number and Use of Drilling Down Feature
Each service request is specific. Issue of computerised unique Guarantee of Services to Citizen (GSC) number helps to establish citizens’ “Right" for timely service delivery. There can be no mass or common solutions across all requests. This requires individual data and attention. Data is being drilled down to each and every GSC number, tracked and resolved.