The Tamil Nadu government has leveraged a wide range of open source applications to improve the efficiency of the services its departments offer citizens.
The e-district programme, to be implemented as part of the National e-Governance Programme (NeGP), attempts to minimise (even remove at a later date) the interface of citizens with government offices. It will be launched in Krishnagiri district on October 15, then in Coimbatore, Thiruvarur, Perambalur, Ariyalur and the Nilgiris districts before being rolled out in the entire State, said Santhosh Babu, MD, Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu Limited, and CEO, Tamil Nadu e-governance Agency.
The initiative also features the Common Service Centre (CSC) scheme that has around 5,440 centres (one centre for three revenue villages) to bring all departments under a single umbrella. These centres will facilitate public access to computers that will help to bridge the digital divide in rural areas.
Among the services that will be offered are booking tickets, recharging accounts, banking transactions, financial inclusion and access to various e-governance initiatives, Dr. Babu said. Every validated user would get a Citizen Account Number that would eventually be replaced with the unique identification number, he said.
A one-time registration would suffice. Currently, a user can obtain certificates of birth, death, community, nativity and solvency. “For instance, if you apply for a community certificate online, the request will be inspected and validated by the Village Administrative Officer and the Revenue Inspector. The tahsildhar will give the last approval and digitally certify it.” Dr. Babu said.
As many as 5,000 locations are being linked to complete the horizontal connectivity to the Tamil Nadu State Wide Area Network under the Rs. 55-crore State Data Centre Project.
“The Network Operating Centre is where the bandwidth of different Internet service providers gets terminated, and then it is used to connect all important buildings of the State, including the Secretariat,” Dr. Babu said.
Another feature to become functional by January 2011 is the State Portal (www.tn.gov.in). This will become a one-stop shop for citizens accessing government services. The State Service Delivery Gateway (SSDG) and conversion of all paper forms into e-forms will enable the citizen to access services instantly. “The citizen should ideally not see but rather feel the government,” Dr. Babu said.