State-run e-governance services, which had resumed operations amid health protocols at green or non-containment zones in the Southern States after unlock 1.0, are registering steady growth in transactions.
The business of e-governance services, including Government-to-Citizen (G2C) and Business-to-Citizen (B2C), has been on the rise drastically in Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Telangana state while in Andhra Pradesh, the services are on a major expansion with a possible new business model.
According to official sources, there are around 30,000-35,000 authorized service centres titled unique names in each state for offering e-governance services in these states respectively. Karnataka has around 200+ centres. There are 2,650 Akshaya centres in Kerala, 10,558 e-Sevai centres in Tamil Nadu, 4,512 meeSeva centres in Telangana and 11,105 meeSeva centres in Andhra Pradesh.
Resumption of Services
These centres resumed operations in the Southern States on May 1, 2020, the day the lockdown was lifted with standard operating protocols (SoPs).
“As many as 3,24,314 transactions were reported at KarnatakaOne centres in May followed by 5,08,904 transactions in June. BangaloreOne centres registered as many as 8,85,743 transactions in May followed by 11,50,031 transactions in June,” said an officer at the Electronic Delivery of Citizen Service (EDCS), Government of Karnataka.
The EDCS under the Department of Personnel and Administration Reforms (e-governance) is responsible for KarnatakaOne and BangaloreOne Centres in the State. Though the online facility has been active during the lockdown period, the number of transactions have been increased only after resuming the operations of these physical centres.
“Presently, around 2,650 Akshaya centres are spread across Kerala with at least two centres in each panchayat. These centres have also offered PPE kits as service in many districts to needy people as part of their services,” said an official from Kerala IT Mission told ETGovernment
Akshaya, an ambitious endeavour of the Kerala government, was inaugurated by APJ Abdul Kalam. The Government’s focus on digitization of the State has entailed a revolution in the design and operation of public services through the reinvention of service delivery channels.
In a major development, the Andhra Pradesh government has decided to expand its e-governance service network by absorbing meeSeva into ‘Andhra Pradesh Grama Sachivalayam’ at gram panchayats in the state.
As part of its ongoing plan, the Directorate of Electronically Deliverable Services (EDS), Government of Andhra Pradesh will open new meeSeva centres, which will be operated from the Grama Sachivalayam offices located at gram panchayats along other departments.
The Telangana government is focusing on strengthening the service delivery of government services with m-governance applications. “As part of our anytime anywhere service delivery through the smartphone, we are enabling government services to citizens,” GT Venkateshwar Rao, Commissioner, Electronic Service Delivery, Government of Telangana told ETGovernment.
In Tamil Nadu, the operations of eSevai were resumed at non-containment zones in several districts following the advice by the district collectors as they are looking after the covid-19 situation in the districts respectively.
Business Model and Project Partners
The Southern States have followed BOOT (build, own, operate, transfer), a public-private partnership (PPP) model for nearly two decades in running the e-governance projects respectively.
In late 2001, the then Andhra Pradesh government initiated first integrated citizen service centres titled eSeva. CMS Computers and Ram Informatics were project partners for initial 5-10 years. Later, Spanco Ltd was selected as a partner too in addition to the existing two.
After Telangana became a separate statehood on June 2, 2014, the new government-appointed Netxcell Ltd as a new project partner for five years until December 2019. Karvy Data Management Systems, which was selected as a new project partner in an open tendering process, is waiting for an official order from the Telangana government to join the board.
In Andhra Pradesh, CMS Computers, Ram Informatics, Karvy Data Management Systems, and Sreeven Infotech were appointed as project partners between 2014 and 2019. Following the state government’s decision to absorb meeSeva into ‘Andhra Pradesh Grama Sachivalayam,’ the extension of the project contract with existing partners is unlikely. The future of hundreds of Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLEs) appointed by these project partners on the trust of the Government's scheme in the State is also not known.
In Karnataka, however, CMS Computers has been working with the EDCS, Department of e-Governance for more than 10 years as a project partner even since its inception in 2005.
In Kerala, Kerala IT Mission, an organization under Department of Information Technology, is responsible for the Akshaya project, which has been running successfully since its beginning in 2002. All Akshaya centres are run by Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLEs), said KSITM official.
Roadmap for CSCs India
Common Service Centres (CSCs) run by CSCs e-Governance Services India, a special purpose vehicle (SPV) under Digital India, is on the growth path of expanding its G2C and B2C service network in the Southern States while the Southern governments are focusing on adding more government services online and also serve citizens through their integrated citizen service centres. The day is not very far for these states to introduce m-governance "One App All Services."
(This story has been updated. An earlier version of the story incorrectly attributed a quote to N. Jayaraj, Head (e-Governance), Kerala State IT Mission.)