Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A REPORT ON THE VISIT OF CSCs AND E-DISTRICT AT GOALPARA, ASSAM 19th January 2012


1) A visit was made to the CSCs of Goalpara District, the E-District Facilitation Centre at Goalpara district office and the Circle office at Goalpara accompanied by representatives from the Assam SeMT team and the Srei Sahaj team.

2) The CSCs visited were located in Dudhnoi, Goalpara and Matia, Goalpara

a) The Dudhnoi CSC was located in the Dudhnoi town, located on the Guwahati – Goalpara National Highway which , the CSC was equipped with about 3 laptops. The Srei Sahaj team have made considerable efforts to seed a large number of Financial Services, however the VLE operating the CSC said that his main revenue sources were a) Browsing by customers, b) Photography and c) Railway ticketing. The VLE said that there was delay in processing of applications for e-District services, one of the reasons may be breakdown in the Assam State Wide Area Network link between the District office and the Circle office.
He has previously submitted a few applications for obtaining Permanent Resident Certificate but none of the applications submitted from his CSC were approved by the Officials. The Team from Srei Sahaj said that the CSC was also delivering various basic computer literacy services. The CSC had internet connectivity from both VSAT and BSNL broadband. The territory manager of SREI Sahaj said that it was important for G2C services to be delivered from the CSC as it would bring footfalls to the CSC and improve their credibility.

b) The Matia CSC was located 15 km off the Guwahati Dudhnoi National Highway. The VLE of Matia CSC was an Engineer by education. The CSC was an additional business and the VLE was also running an offset press from the same location. Given that Matia was a much smaller village, unlike Dudhnoi CSC, there were no customers in the Matia CSC premises when we visited. The VLE for Matia CSC also spoke of the issues in fulfilment of e-District services. The Matia VLE was equipped with 4 laptops and the SREI Sahaj team said that the Matia VLE had been awarded two additional laptops as he had secured fees of Rs. 10,000 through enrolments for the basic computer literacy offered by SREI Sahaj. As mentioned above, the SREI Sahaj team had tried to seed many Financial services like insurance etc. but they had not gained much traction in the community. The VLE said that his main sources of income were a) Browsing, b) Photography c) Computer Education and d) Railway reservation. For the railway reservation service they charged much higher than the Government rate.

c) During visit to both the CSCs we were accompanied by a team of three officers of SREI Sahaj comprising of the zonal incharge, the district incharge and an individual who provided service support to the CSCs. For each district, SREI had stationed two executive who handled service related issues of the CSCs.

3) The Goalpara e-District Facilitation centre was manned by two Data entry operators. While about 7 services are delivered under the e-District Project, of a total of 10585 applications processes, 9251 applications were of one service “Certified copy” of electoral roll alone. The only other service that was under usage was “Permission for Delayed Birth Registration” under which 942 applications had been processed. The entire workflow for grant of certified copy of the electoral roll was witnessed. The application is received at the E-District facilitation counter. After the application is entered, the request is forwarded to the dealing official in the Election department of the District office. A scanned pdf copy of the Electoral register of 1966 to which the request pertained was available in the PC of the dealing official and based on the details provided in the application, the dealing official opened the correct scanned page and approved the request of the citizen. While request for “Permanent Resident Certificate (PRC)” is a much sought after service, the service is processed initially at the Circle office. It was told to us that the connectivity link between the District office and Circle office was not very robust and as a result of failure of connectivity, the PRC applications could not be processed.  The application request for PRC required many supporting documents which need to be scanned and attached by the applicant and in absence of a high bandwidth reliable connectivity, it was difficult for the dealing officials to scrutinize the documents.




2 comments:

Manjit Nath said...

Awesome to read your experince on Goalpara. I am from Goalpara and currently a SeMT consultant at Aizawl. I too did some case study on the e-District status on Goalpara while I was preparing for the SeMT interview. The current situation is not encouraging at all. SUSTAINABILITY - I am really finding a big issue in case e-Gov projects

Anirban Mukerji said...

Hi! Manjit, Thanks for your comment, we should not be pessimistic about e-Governance Projects, while it is good to be critical and know the problems, we should take it upon ourselves to improve the situation in whichever project we are ourselves working. Now you are in a position to do something on the issue in however small way. All the best