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A Government speaks to its citizens


02 March 2010

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In this award winning paper, Tanmay Kumar, Secretary, Information Technology & Communication, Government of Rajasthan discusses E-Sanchar, a pilot project conceived under the State “100 Days Action Plan”. Using integrated mobile and information technology, it succeeded in pro-actively informing pensioners from socially disadvantaged categories, and facilitated timely payment to them.

This paper was presented at the 13th National Conference on E-Governance in Jaipur, 18-19th February 2010.

tanmay kumar.jpg
Tanmay Kumar

Download full paper here.

Drawing from experience as both as a young person interacting with government officials and also as a Collector making himself accessible to people who travelled long from far flung places, incurring wage losses to get a hearing at the district headquarters, Tanmay Kumar, Secretary, Department of Information Technology and Communications, Government of Rajasthan, makes it his business to ensure that citizens get to see the humane face of the monolith that is the Indian government.

In an effort to ensure transparency, efficiency and effectiveness of Social Justice and Empowerment department of Government of Rajasthan in implementing its pension scheme, he conceptualised a simple but innovative pilot that would provide timely voice based information regarding sanction and disbursal of pension amounts.

Called e-SANCHAR (e-Speech Application through Network for Communication, Help and Response), the pilot was implemented under the State’s “100 Days Action Plan” as a pioneering effort of the Department of Information Technology & Communication (DoIT&C) in association with Directorate of Treasuries & Accounts (DTA).

The pilot phase of e-SANCHAR has demonstrated that a combination of IT with mobile technology would be the most effective mechanism for addressing schemes intended for individual beneficiaries in rural India.

Far reaching implications

The pilot at Shahpur is now ready for horizontal replication - a proposal for scaling of the pension project in approximately 70 sub treasuries & treasury offices at 7 divisional headquarters has been submitted.

esanchar.jpg
Image credits: Kalyan Kothari/ e-SANCHAR roll out: (L to R) Union Minister of State for Science and Technology, Prithviraj Chavan; RajCOMP MD Ashwini Kumar; and Rajasthan Minister for IT and Communication, Dr. Jitendra Singh. Tanmay Kumar, Secy, DoIT&C and Naimur Rahman Director OWFI look on

On 17th February 2010, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed for large scale roll-out of e-SANCHAR for the benefit of citizens under various programmes. The scaled-up e-SANCHAR implementation would be under the banner of DoIT&C and RajCOMP, while the OneWorld Foundation India would anchor the implementation and delivery.

e-SANCHAR is fully automatic and provides direct and personal communication with individual beneficiaries. It can help in creating awareness about other beneficiary programmes such as the Public Distribution System or PDS, scholarship schemes, and as an IEC tool for social messaging.

The application can enable reality checks in a wide variety of other Individual Beneficiary/ Group Beneficiary programmes, specifically to remove intermediaries between the Government and the targeted beneficiary; it would result in the generation a large data base of the deprived section of rural population that can be reached through other social benefit schemes as well.

The Department of Information Technology, Government of India has conveyed appreciation of the innovative product and enquired whether it could be made available for other State Governments.

Today, e-SANCHAR has been integrated as one of the mode of communications under Chief Minister Relief Fund monitoring system.

Check out the e-SANCHAR demo here.

Tanmay Kumar currently holds various key positions in the Government of Rajasthan, where he continues to focus on innovations leveraging ICTs for better governance. He is Secretary Disaster Management and Relief; Secretary IT & Communications, Commissioner IT & Communications,  Managing Director Rajasthan Computers,    Chairman Rajasthan Knowledge Corporation, Secretary Small Scale Industries , Commissioner NREGS.

Acknowledgements:

E-SANCHAR application is a result of coordinated efforts from DoIT & C, Director Treasury & Accounts, and Officials of Shahpura Sub Treasury, Government of Rajasthan and active support from the rural bank and the beneficiary group and their relatives.

 
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