Panel 4: e-Inclusion: Government at the Doorstep, Services at Fingertip

Chanchal Kumar

Secretary to Chief Minister

“Breaking the government’s monopoly is necessary to empower people and e-inclusion is a means to do that,” said Chanchal Kumar, secretary to Bihar chief minister. Kumar has been credited with initiating ‘Jankari’ call centres in the state wherein technology has been used to facilitate information through RTI.

Telling about the Jankari initiative, Kumar said that Jankari call centres are essentially information providing centres where a citizen can call and tell his problem to the call centre executive who then can identify the department and officials concerned and take over the matter from there for persuasion. One phone number — 155311 — is used across the state, he said, adding that the amount for filing RTI, which is Rs10, is charged on the call itself, solving the problem of separate transaction for the purpose.

This information inclusion, Kumar says, has not only empowered people but it also has reduced the time and amount of money spent in filing an RTI query or visiting a government department located in a tehsil.

Kumar also lauded the Bihar public service guarantee scheme where services are delivered in a time bound manner and in electronic mode. “e-Inclusion will be successful when people will be able to access financial institutions – which is Bihar government’s motto,” Kumar said.


Sanjay Panigrahi


Sanjay Panigrahi, CEO, SREI Sahaj, talked about different challenges attached with common service centres and their working. “There are different market possibilities available with different villages. There are a number of services which may be needed. If you look at the landscape, the financial possibilities with a CSC are very complex and huge,” Panigrahi said.

According to him, village-level entrepreneurs are not stationed in villages to facilitate common services only, but they are also expected to understand the business required at the particular place. “A VLE knows his people and can tell us what services are required by them for doing business,” he said.
On the part of the government, Panigrahi said, it is required of it to provide fast and correct information to the VLE as for them it is a matter of trust of the villagers.

“On the e-inclusion platform, the time has come now, because accessibility has become cheaper and a number of services can be facilitated to empower citizens,” he said.



Atul Sinha

Managing Director, BELTRON, Government of Bihar

Managing director of Bihar State Electronics Development Corporation Ltd (BELTRON) Atul Sinha talked about the e-Shakti cards being used by the state government to mark the attendance of MNREGS workers. Sinha said that looking at the prospects of e-Shakti card, which is a biometrics-enabled smart card, Bihar government is trying to disburse MNREGS wages and extend other government services through it wherever transaction is needed.

“As a bank account is attached with an e-Shakti card, it will become easier to dispense services like PDS, pension, etc, through the card where the beneficiary would just have to swipe the card at the centres to avail the services. It will not only make the system transparent but will also make the system paperless,” he said.

“When UIDAI came, it made the whole system confusing at it was just going to be an identification number. It was not going to serve any purpose. Bihar government’s e-Shakti will open another vista, another door to development,” he added.



Satish Kaushal

Executive Director, Ernst & Young

“e-Inclusion is nothing but a social movement wherein efforts have to be made for digital integration among all the citizens of the country, wherein common service centre is an important element,” asserted Satish Kaushal, executive director, Ernst & Young.

Kaushal said that e-inclusion should include all those vehicles and agencies which would provide a reduction in the digital divide. He said that CSCs are reaching out to people and providing them a host of services, including employment.

“e-Inclusion will be successful if we create a good quality content in the local languages as well as a sort of infrastructure, be it mobile or internet where an all inclusive focus by various stakeholders and government agencies, like banks and other organisations are there to utilise and leverage a national programme like e-district,” he said.

“Our view is that unless or until efforts are made to bring in an application both at the city and village level, e-inclusion is meaningless. The Bihar government has taken a leap a little bit ahead of the Aadhaar concept by implementing e-Shakti project,” Kaushal said.






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