A Single-Window Experience



The Chandigarh Administration declared its IT policy in April 2000, to
promote the application of Information Technology for the benefit of the
residents of Chandigarh, by implementing e-Governance and by promoting
investment in the field of technology. With the launch of the e-Sampark Project,
the first phase of e-Governance was implemented in August 2004, followed by the
commencement of financial transactions through Sampark Centers from November
2004.

The Chandigarh Administration has decided to set up
Electronic Citizen Service Centers across the city. The project has been
developed on priority and is highly visible, with immediate benefit to citizens
and improvements in the services provided by the Chandigarh Administration, by
bringing together all the departments under one single umbrella.

Before e-Sampark
Before the project came into being, a citizen of Chandigarh
had to visit various departments physically, scattered across the city; stand in
long queues; make multiple visits for completing a single transaction; wait for
few days to few weeks; and at times, face harassment due to lack of
transparency. The administration had overworked staff, a poor image of the
department in the eyes of the citizens, and insufficient MIS resulting in lack
of control, for example tracking of outstanding bills.

Before the launch of the e-Sampark project, these services
were available at separate offices as independent islands with duplication of
work, slow processing, inefficiency in system and slow service delivery time
often resulting in large crowds waiting for the services.

Departments
Covered and Sevices provided by e-Sampark

The key objectives behind the implementation of the project
were to provide for hassle free one-stop solution to the citizens; minimize
multiple interaction points for the citizens and hence reducing the wastage of
their valuable time; and to provide for better turn around time in receipt,
processing and issue of services.

The Changing Face
Today e-Sampark is a ‘One-stop-shop’ for over 11 G2C services
through five eSampark Centers. In a very small time frame of six months the
transaction numbers are increased from zero to 150,000 from five e-Sampark
centers. In next two months three additional such centers are planned by
Chandigarh Administration. This will result in approx one lakh transactions per
month. Not only this, as a second phase of the project, it is envisaged to
introduce non government services as part of the project such as phone bills etc
which are expected to increase the transactions many times.

Performance and Results
A unique feature of the e-Sampark project is Chandigarh
Administration’s decision to deliver every service from e-Sampark free of cost.
Every month new services are being added to significantly boost the number of
users. Adoption of public private partnership resulting in efficient allocation
of risk between the government and private partner supported by the encouraging
payment mechanism is expected to provide sustainability to the project.
Initially fixed rate model is adopted for the project. The Chandigarh Project
was launched in September 2004. In 4 months, 11 services were established. This
is a huge success achieved by the e-Sampark centers.

Entire
solution is based on
Oracle Technology

Server Side Scripting:
PSP(PL/SQL Server Pages)
RDBMS: Oracle9i Enterprise Edition
Application Server: Oracle 9i AS
Operating System: Linux RedHat AS3.0
Data Porting Utility: Visual Basic 6.0

Technology Used
A centralized architecture is adopted for the implementation
of the project. The entire architecture can be divided into three sections-data
center, Sampark centers, and portal.

Interoperability: e-Sampark is entirely a Web based solution.
Hence the client who is accessing the application needs only to have a Web
Browser installed on his system irrespective of any operating system.

Open Source Software Systems: Linux has been used as the
operating system, for which the source code is publicly available-referred to
as open-source software. Open source software goes one step beyond freeware. Not
only does it provide the software for free, it provides the original source code
used to create the software. Linux is the best-known example; others include
Apache.

Security: e-Sampark project has two types of access
connectivity:

  • Intranet Connectivity

  • Internet Connectivity

The Sampark centers are connected with dedicated
communication links to NIC Network and Data Center (NDC). Thus there is minimal
outside scope for security breach.

Scalability and Reliability: The system is highly scalable in
terms of hardware and software. Hardware resources can be upgraded easily if the
system load increases. In terms of software, it is purely oracle-based solution,
which can be easily upgraded to the newer versions.

Project Sustainability
e-Sampark has tied up the Unit Trust of India (UTI) to
facilitate banking services. The project has shown phenomenal growth rate in
terms of number of transactions conducted as well. Since the launch of its first
center in September 2004, Chandigarh Administration served more than 150,000
citizens through five e-Sampark centers.

Adoption of public private partnership resulting in the
efficient allocation of risk between the government and private partner
supported by the encouraging payment mechanism is expected to provide
sustainability to the project. Initially fixed rate model is adopted for the
project and Chandigarh Administration has agreed to pay a fixed cost per
transaction to the BOT operator for the services provided. The model has
flexibility for inclusion of more services, which is based on differential
pricing based on the type and volume of transaction. The service centers
selected for the project are located in Government provided/owned buildings.
These are the locations where the citizen services are already provided by
Electricity Department. This has resulted in minimal upfront investment from
Administration.

The project is presently using the e-Sampark centers and the
Internet as channels for delivery of services but the model, in addition to
horizontal expansion to different channels and locations such as banks, ATMs,
kiosks, BPMs, is also capable of vertical expansion such as to various
government services/ departments integration, and private services integration.

Rajula S and GP Sahu,
Department of Management Studies, IIT Delhi

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