Maharashtra: Taking e-Governance to the Grassroots

TEAM INCLUSION
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Maharashtra, the country’s most industrialised state, is putting increasing emphasis on the use of information technology in making governance better and more transparent at the grassroots. Innovative measures at the grassroots, especially at the municipal level, have helped Maharashtra maintain its position in the STAR category.

With 23 SKOCH Orders-of-Merit awards, Maharashtra is a STAR performer in this year’s SKOCH state of governance study. Maharashtra, India’s richest state in term of Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP), bagged 14 SKOCH Governance awards this year. Three of these awards were in Platinum, five Gold and six Silver categories.

Economy
The size of Maharashtra’s GSDP is the largest among Indian states. It accounts for nearly 15 per cent of India’s GDP. The growth is much higher than the national average. The state GSDP for 2017-18 was Rs 25,35,213 crore. The ‘Agriculture & Allied Activities’ sector has been growing on an average by 12.5 per cent, ‘Industry’ and ‘Services’ sectors are expected to grow at 6.7 per cent and 10.8 per cent respectively over the previous year.

Per Capita State Income stood at Rs 147,399 for financial year 2015-16 as against R132,341 for the previous year, registering a growth of 11.4 per cent. Per capita state income of Maharashtra is among the highest in the country.

Key Achievements Maharashtra has been a traditional front-runner as far as e-Governance initiatives are concerned. The state continues to give adequate emphasis on reforms and introduction of information technology to make public services and delivery system more efficient and transparent.

While the State has taken several initiatives in the recent years to plug leakages and effectively address public grievances, municipalities and local bodies have been coming up with innovative measures to make their service delivery system better.

Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Ltd has implemented an Intelligent Transport Management System, which includes automatic vehicle tracking, automatic fare collection, web-portal with basic information and a mobile application (for citizens) for journey planning, grievances, online pass, bus schedules that has resulted in increased reliability, accountability and transparency in transportation system in the city.

In a bid to enhance citizen’s engagement in local development works, Pune Municipal Corporation has introduced Participatory Budgeting. Under this initiative, an average of around R30 crore is allocated annually to works suggested by citizens. Participatory Budgeting (PB) has given citizens a formal forum to engage with the municipality management on public works. Participatory Budgeting has helped in prioritising needbased works of poor citizens in informal settlements, such as at budget process facilitated by Junior Engineers at PMC’s Nagar Road Ward Office. Engaging citizens in the development agenda through the budgeting process indicates good intentions of Municipal Corporation.

Thane Municipal Corporation has taken multi-pronged, holistic and systematic approach to improve energy efficiency and promote renewable energy. The Corporation is in the process to make Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Hospital a net-zero building. This means all the energy requirements are met through renewable energy. This is the first such hospital in the country.

Online Zilla Parishad Teachers’ Transfer Portal, introduced by the Rural Development Department of Maharashtra, has revolutionised the transfer process for Zilla Parishad teachers by establishing a transparent accessible and efficient process for transfer.

Maharashtra State Board of Technical Education has introduced integrated model of online activities. All activities including admission and examination of technical institutions related to the Board are handled through the integrated web portal. The integrated system caters to over 2000 academic institutes, 50,000 staff and 5 lakh students spread across the state.

Several private and public sector banks and financial institutions have come forward to help in good governance initiatives in the state. YES Bank is playing crucial role in Nashik Smart City by offering digital solution. The private sector lender is providing a prepaid ecosystem for unified city payments including municipal services, utility payments, retail payments, mobility, recreational and other payments within the Nashik city. The Bank has developed a mobile app based solution called “Nashik Smart Pay”, which is linked to an open loop prepaid card. The app also has UPI functionality and allows for a virtual private address (VPA) driven transactions.

Public sector banks like Central Bank of India, Union Bank of India and Bank of Maharashtra have taken several initiatives to strengthen cyber security and payments system in the state. Central Bank of India has launched Cyber Security Education and Awareness programme. The focus is to raise cyber security awareness among customers and employees, including top management of the institution. Union Bank of India has introduced data centre security and disaster management and disaster recovery system.

BSE Ltd has put in place next generation cyber security operation centre. The project consists of 24 cyber security technologies that work at end point, network, application and system level in integrated security framework. It also includes 24x7 Cyber Security Operation monitoring system equipped with the latest niche technologies. The project is expected to bring in more control in operational areas, monitoring area and thus facilitating in better information to the decision makers.

(Comments are welcome at info@skoch.in)

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