On 15 November 2015, Jharkhand celebrated its 16th Foundation Day. This was also the day when Chief Minister of the state, Raghubar Das, inaugurated M-Governance services, which is part of the central government’s Digital India initiative.
With two thirds of the population in Jharkhand using mobile phones, M-Governance is expected to catalyze development in the state through faster and efficient delivery of services to its citizens. The state is the first to launch Advantage Jharkhand Portal, which is the country’s first single window clearance portal, enabling faster registration and clearance for industries being set up in the state.
Jharkhand has been criticised for lack of land availability for setting up industries and to address this anomaly, the state government has undertaken several initiatives to promote industry and ensure land availability. To enable greater private sector participation and level playing field, the Chief Minister announced the positive response received for the Jharkhand Industrial Park Policy 2015.
To promote food processing industries in the state, MOUs worth Rs 880 crore had already been signed and suitable land identified. In an effort to promote afforestation and additional remuneration opportunities to local farmers, the state government launched Mukhya Mantri Jan Van Yojana, under which farmers would receive 50 per cent grant to establish plantations.
To promote M-Governance amongst citizens and government staff, the government launched 15 mobile-based applications covering various government services, developed by Jharkhand Space Applications Centre (JSAC). The apps are designed for Android-based smartphones and include:
This app is used for services under Jharkhand Transport Division wherein services like confirmation of vehicle owner’s name and address, vehicle number, chassis number and engine number can be accessed.
Various Government to Citizen services (G2C) can be accessed seamlessly through digitization and automation of record and information at the backend.
The state has a high population of SC/ST and other backward classes and this app is designed to offer access to various welfare schemes that the state government has launched specifically for them.
Jharkhand Mid-Day Meal Scheme (MDM)
Mid-Day Meal is part of the Right to Food initiative of the central government and actively promoted by the state government. The Mid-Day Meal scheme is meant to fight hunger amongst school children and is also meant to improve school attendance. All information regarding this service can be accessed through this app.
Jharkhand Water and Sanitation Department (DWSD)
Villagers and citizens in general face several issues relating to non-functioning of hand pumps and other water supply and sanitation services. This app facilitates registering of complaints directly with the department headquarters in Ranchi.
By dialing 1967, citizens will immediately activate the web-based eRahat, which is designed to inform the government in real time of any emergencies like medical, fire, flood or any other natural disaster, enabling the government to react and respond immediately.
Jharkhand POL (Police)
This is an SMS based app which connects to Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems – Core Application Software (CCTNS-CAS) citizen’s portal. Citizens and government staff can also connect to Jharkhand Police Human Resource Management System, Jharkhand Police Instant Messaging System, Naxal Information System and E-Samadhan.
Jharkhand e-Nagrik Sewa Mobile Application
This app facilitates submission of Application Forms pertaining to birth, death, caste, income and residential status. The app also caters to verification of application and issuance of certificates. Concerned government officials such as CO, BDO, DC and SDO can access this information and can respond accordingly.
Registered mobile users can access the State Resident Data Hub for KYC formalities and to input KYC data into the SRDH database. This service is also accessible through the web.
This app is meant for government employees wanting to access the Integrated Finance Management System pertaining to provident fund, state treasury and the AG’s office.
This is an app designed to respond to emergencies faced by women pertaining to eve teasing, abuse, molestation, rape or violence of any kind. Through the app, women can get in touch with the police, specific family members or any other person of their choice, in case of any emergency.
Challenges in successful implementation of M-Governance
The state still has a long way to go in achieving 100 percent literacy and large sections of population still lives in remote areas, where electricity has not yet reached. If charging the mobile phone is a challenge, awareness and access to government’s various schemes and programmes remains a bigger challenge.
However, various apps launched by the government are already drawing a favourable though limited response. As the word spreads through word of mouth reference and other media, on the benefits and ease of accessing M-governance services, it is expected that people will download these apps in greater numbers. And with 4G services likely to cover most parts of India in a short time span, M-Governance in states like Jharkhand are set to become more popular in coming time.