A Bangalore-based organisation has created a software solution that automates workflows end-to-end in gram panchayats (GPs). The solution, which records the lifecycle of processes, has been implemented in 15 villages in Davangere, said Shankara K. Prasad, founder-managing trustee, Sampoorna Swaraj Foundation, which has developed the software.

Thirty-five thousand residents of the villages, staff, officers, members, and chairpersons of five GPs, implementing agencies and line departments, are using the solution, which will be replicated in 75 villages, all in Davangere, by June, he said.

Automating workflows

Mr. Prasad said the software solution, called Sampoorna Panchayat Work Flow Automation, is a single window for the village citizen for everything to do with the Government. The solution encompasses the entire gamut of GP functions including all transactions, decisions and delivery of services as envisaged by the Panchayat Raj Act, 1993 and the Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurement Act.

It monitors the activities of the GP on a real-time basis. If a citizen in the village wants a birth certificate or has issued a cheque, he can log in with his user identity and password to find what stage his request is at. All GPs have a computer so they automatically turn into centres where people can use the software, he said.

Residents do not have to go out of the village for any service. “GPs handle crores but people have no idea what is happening with the money. They stand in queues or go from office to office to find out where the cheques are held up,” he said.

The software solution uses the Open standard architecture and a process-centric architecture. Programmed on Java, it is developed with an ‘enterprise' perspective with Six Sigma-like processes to check that each process throughout the software is perfect in what it seeks to do. A system of access control is used to give various levels of access to the user.

The levels that each person has control over is related to his role and responsibility. The president of the GP has the rights to manage access control. The solution is interactive, transactional and can be scaled up.

The resident can use the software himself (if he is trained) and can also take the assistance of a village computer coordinator. Familiarity with computers is not necessary.

As the solution has a Web-based architecture, any device with Internet capability can allow easy access to it. All information about GP is in the local language (Kannada).

Interact and participate

The software also has a portal which allows citizen-community participation. Officers and elected officials at taluk panchayats, zilla panchayats and the Ministry for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj can interact with individual GPs and access information about each GP. Citizens can interact with any GP official using the messaging system; report a grievance and track its progress; and approve payment to a contractor only after their grievance has been attended to. They can access the financial and scheme information reports of employment, housing, and drinking water programmes, he said.