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Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis’ big plan- Maximum use of IT for maximum governance

Mumbai: An interactive portal and mobile application for citizens’ grievances and suggestions, status updates on various projects in the pipeline like the Metro railway, Aadhaar based e-kyc and an e-challan for traffic offenders. These are among some of the IT-based initiatives that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis plans to take.

Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis’ big plan- Maximum use of IT for maximum governance

On lines of the www.mygov.in portal started by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the state government too plans to connect with the people regarding various draft policies as part of “participative governance.”

Why the initiative?
“We are eager to bring about a huge transformation in Maharashtra through the use of e-governance. We expect that this will be aggressively implemented… the policy will aim at promoting transparency, efficiency and inclusion,” said an official from the chief minister’s office (CMO). Fadnavis is also active on the social media, while his team regularly tweets his policy decisions and activities.

What will the govt do?
“We plan to launch a mobile app and portal named ‘Aaple Sarkar’ (our government) for public grievances and suggestions,” said a senior IT department official. “Like the www.mygov.in portal, we plan to put up drafts of various policies like the proposed Right to Services Act in the public domain for suggestions from people,” he added. The launch has an ambitious target of January 2015.

e-route for fines and payments
“The e-challan project will be launched first in Mumbai. We are also experimenting with the Regional Transport Offices. This will enable people to pay fines for traffic offences and fees online and also get computerised receipts for their payments,” said the IT department official.

He added that where government schemes like scholarships for students were linked to debit and ATM cards, the payment would be based on the RuPay card payment network developed by the National Payments Corporation of India.

How is CMO going digital?
“The chief minister is eager to give a boost to e-office by accepting only digital files after a specific deadline,” said the CMO source, adding that a task force comprising veterans from the IT sector would be set up to collect suggestions on the use of technology in governance.

Despite the state’s thrust on the e-office project, which was initiated after a massive fire gutted the hundreds of files in Mantralaya in June 2012, IT department officials admit that about 50% of new files are created in an e-format. However, physical files can be tracked in e-office. The officials said that it was not possible to get all files in electronic format as “not all files are amenable to the e-office or digital format.”

Better monitoring of projects
“The portal will also help people get the status of various projects like for instance the two new Metro corridors sanctioned for Mumbai. This will help drive the point home that announcement of these big-ticket projects is not mere hogwash,” said the CMO official.

The state has also decided to make it mandatory for all contracts over Rs 3 lakh to be awarded via e-tendering from the previous limit of Rs 10 lakh and in two weeks, e-auctions of sand and minor minerals will be compulsory. Presently, some districts have experimented with e-auctions. A third party audit of e-tendering will also be conducted.

He said that UIDAI based eKYC for various government schemes and an IT cell in under a chief information officer in all departments and districts to implement various IT concepts, were also on the cards.

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