Tuesday, September 07, 2004

 

e-Administration in Government organizations

The Hindu Business Line
Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications

Monday, Sep 06, 2004, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

eWorld - E-Governance

Take those files away

Raja Simhan T.E.

This government undertaking in Tamil Nadu is going paperless, with files moving from PC to PC rather than desk to desk.

IT'S a welcome change in routine for the tapal attendant at the Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu (Elcot), a State Government undertaking responsible for developing the electronics industry in the State. Until recently, he had to manually segregate hundreds of letters and the papers would then start making the rounds through the office. However, today, the attendant just scans the tapal, whether it is a letter to Elcot's chairman or to any other official, in a scanner, and the document automatically makes its journey through the computers.
In similar fashion, Vivek Harinarain, Tamil Nadu IT Secretary, who is also Chairman of Elcot, sitting in his office in the State Secretariat, monitors Elcot's activities electronically. Earlier, he had to visit Elcot, located about 10 km from the Secretariat, to browse through the files. Now, Elcot's Managing Director and senior officials can also access and clear files while away from office.

Welcome to the age of electronic administration (e-Administration) in Tamil Nadu. The e-Administration has introduced a workflow and document management to track all activities at Elcot and ensures timely response to queries among officials. It is the beginning of a long journey to transform State government offices into paperless ones. And, helping Elcot in this effort is a small Chennai-based software firm called Life-Line to Business (LL2B).

The e-Administration software of LL2B has been in use in Elcot for the last 10 months, and it connects 75 senior-level employees of Elcot and 15 in the IT department through a common platform, says V.D.G Krishnan, President and CEO, LL2B. The company has installed the Web-enabled product in Elcot that allows officers to conduct day-to-day business such as sanctioning purchases, approving leave tours and sending files to colleagues. The tool will help the government create transparency in the department's functioning. Every senior official at Elcot, limited to his role in the hierarchy, can track the movement of any file as the entire chain of command is connected. The status of every file can be checked at the click of the mouse, he says.

The e-Administration software uses Java open source technology and runs on Linux open source platform with Oracle 9i as the back end. The software enables senior officials to look at the files real time. The software also generates periodic reports in different formats, he says.
According to Sudeep Jain, Managing Director, Elcot, which has the mandate to promote e-governance in Tamil Nadu, the most generic form of e-governance is to convert the document flow (files) into electronic mode. "We were very clear that unless we convert Elcot into a near paperless organisation we will not be able to drive e-governance in the State," he says.

Today, all files in Elcot are available on a server in electronic mode, helping to make the organisation completely transparent and efficient. The initiator of a file or anyone in the hierarchy can view the contents simultaneously even if the file is pending at a higher level. Anyone higher in the hierarchy can pull up a file pending with his/her junior colleague. Also, the software, at the click of a mouse gives the status of pending files at each level — viewed by the IT Secretary on his computer at the Secretariat. The result is speedy disposal of files, he says.
There is no physical movement of files. Only the final order copy is printed and stored as a physical record. Productivity and efficiency have dramatically improved as officials can now clear files from any location — office, home or on the road while travelling. Earlier it would take anything from 10 days to 60 days to clear a paper file. It is now two days to 10 days, he says.

Following the success in Elcot, the paperless organisation programme is being considered in organisations such as the Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board and Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority, says Krishnan.

Elcot/LL2B has also bagged an order from Pondicherry Electronics Ltd to computerise its Industrial Guidance Bureau of the Department of Industrial Development. An integrated e-Platform connecting 21 departments, including municipalities and panchayats, has been implemented for simultaneous review and grant of `No Objection Clearance' in a time-bound manner for the setting up of an industry, he says.

raja@thehindu.co.in

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/ew/2004/09/06/stories/2004090600020100.htm

For any clarification, please contact:

V D G Krishnan
ICT Specialist
LL2B.COM Pvt Ltd.
vdgk@yahoo.com

Comments:
This e-Administration project is yet another demonstration of how Indian firms are starting to leapfrog over Western counterparts using technology and proven management techniques. Thomas Friedman of the New York Times makes some of these points in his recently published "The World is Flat" - http://www.thomaslfriedman.com/worldisflat.htm
How long will it be before India is at the head of the world economy?
 
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