Bihar : Janta ki Jankari

DQI Bureau
New Update

With an aim to expand the base of RTI access, the fully equipped Facilitation

Center for RTI was pre-tested and then inaugurated by Chief Minister Nitish

Kumar on January 29, 2007. The Facilitation Center has been operational since

then on all working days. Between January 29 to March 03, 2007, 1,292 calls were

received by JAANKARI, out of which 494 voice calls resulted in the creation of

as many applications under the RTI Act.


The Need

The RTI application form cannot be filled by an average literate person, let

alone an illiterate person. Other problems included the absence of knowledge

regarding which department would provide the information. On top of this, Bihar

has several languages and dialects and the RTI form is either in English or

Hindi. Another hurdle was the presence of multiple PIOs (principal information

officers) in a department leading to confusion on whom to approach. To overcome

these hurdles the government of Bihar chalked an innovative strategy of asking

applicants to file their RTI application by using a phone.

Project Details

The Facilitation Center was equipped with more than fifteen sets of

computers, operators, necessary software for application, telecom interface and

voice recording hardware and software. Facilities for its monitoring as well as

qualitative analysis were also put in place. Chanchal Kumar, special secretary,

Chief Minister Secretariat, Bihar was assigned to monitor and remove all

administrative and technical bottlenecks in the project. Authorization was given

to review all arrangements on a regular basis with all the stakeholders, ie, the

Facilitation Center, telecom department, PIOs, Beltron, administrative

department, NGO and, most importantly, feedback from common man.


RTI application with the concerned state government department works on

premium rate services of BSNL. The system has been designed to enable a citizen

to file an application under the RTI Act, without any hassles of physical

movement for purchase of postal order.

The primary and mandatory requirement was to charge the RTI application fee

(Rs10) from the citizen without physical transaction of money. This was

fulfilled with the help of BSNL premium rate services. The software was designed

in consultation with officials who had been operating another e-Janshikayat

software from CM Secretariat. Under the overall supervision of the CM

Secretariat, the state pubic sector undertaking Bihar State Electronics

Development Corporation (BELTRON) was entrusted with the responsibility of

operationalizing the RTI Facilitation Center within a time period of two months.

Necessary amendments were made by the state government to lower the fees for

filing first and second appeal to Rs 10 each, to enable e-transactions through

phone calls to receive payments.

Arrangements were made by Beltron to have PRI E-I lines of BSNL dial (15311)

terminated at the Facilitation Center. Besides premium rate call number, another

five digit number 155310 for helpline on normal tariff was also made available

for general enquiry on RTI and application status, etc.


To make the RTI Facilitation Center accessible to every citizen of Bihar from

all telephones, special 6 digit code of level 1, ie, Dial 155311 has been

allotted by the Department of Communication, Government of India.

Dell Appoints Krishna Agencies in Bihar

Dell has finally entered the Bihar market. And following its policy of

appointing a single dealer in every region, the vendor has appointed Krishna

Agencies as its sole distributor for the region.

Already dealing in HP, Xerox, Compaq and other brands, acquiring the sole
distributorship for Dell has been a major growth driver for Krishna Agencies.


With the emergence of Patna as a potential growth driver in the eastern half

of IT sector, major hardware and software manufacturers are now targeting the


It was quite tough to get the distributorship of Dell. The market here, like

most of the metros, is laptop-oriented rather than desktop. We are concentrating

on the laptop segment for the time being to maximize the sales, said Navin

Gupta, director, Krishna Agencies.


Compared to other brands, Dell has been a latecomer in the market segment

across the nation.

In Patna, the launch was delayed because of the lack of proper acquaintance

with IT. However in the very next month of the release Krishna Agencies sold out

the entire stock of Dell laptops.

I had expected a boost in the IT segment to come by May, but I never

expected such a rush. Now, the demand for Dell laptops is higher than the

available stocks in the market, Gupta added.


Although HP is the market leader in Bihar currently, Dell may soon outrun

the company. The primary advantage Dell has over other brands is the choice of

colors, design layout and varied customizations available. Indeed, Dell laptops

can be configured in accordance with the users needs and the budget, he said.

With the introduction of the new technology of mobile SIM browsing facility

in laptops, it is expected that in three months time, Dell may own a market

share of 25% in Bihar.

Bihar to Get 4 e-Malls

In a bid to extend its presence and tap some prominent regions in Bihar,

Astric Computers has decided to come up with four IT malls, spanning across

Bihar in three months.


Overwhelmed by the success of the first IT mall in Patna, PK Sinha, director,

Astric Computers says, We are thinking of expanding our reach across all major

IT destinations in the state and will shortly introduce four new IT malls in the

chief upcountry markets of Bhagalpur, Gaya, Muzzafarpur and Saharsa.

Sinha intends to tap upcountry markets, taking the IT retail segment to a new

height. The e-mall in Patna has already fetched a turnover of Rs 7 crore last

year, as Bihar is heading toward a more aggressive stance in IT retail segment,

he elaborated.

Each store would be around 1,000 sq ft with housing PCs, telecom products,

peripherals, external storage devices, after-market supplies and accessories,

home networking products and digital lifestyle products like digicams, media

players and office automation products, he further added.

Planning to introduce a LAN set-up in the e-mall, the company will soon

introduce DSL cable network interlinking all the e-malls across Bihar. The IT

retail sector is witnessing a boom across the state, especially after the

introduction of Dell Inspiron and Studio series there.

Bihar has already witnessed a halt in IT supplies in upcountry markets with

the logistics going out of track after the devastating floods this year. Major

markets like Muzzafarpur and Saharsa have been hit hard due to a shortfall in

supplies backed by a steep rise in hardware prices. However, overcoming all

odds, Sinha is planning to introduce a steady supply chain to feed its e-malls

even in times of calamity.

Though in a nascent stage, Astric Computers has developed a well-knit supply

management chain, especially with HP and D-Link ensuring that Patna never runs

out these stocks. Now, Astric is on the way to extend its supply chain support

to the four upcountry markets and aims to double its revenue.

Strong in the local distribution business, Astric Computers has crossed over

Rs 12 crore revenue mark, keeping its loyalty with HP and D-Link.

Tally to Open CoE in Patna

Tally will soon be opening a state-of-art Center of Excellence (CoE) in Patna.

This CoE will be run jointly in collaboration with Bihar State Electronics

Development Corporation (BELTRON) and Astric Computers. Tally had signed an MoU

with the Government of Bihar in July 2008 and has appointed Astric Computers as

their single point contact for taking the Tally projects and training program

ahead in the state.

Talking about CoE, PK Sinha, director, Astric Computers said that CoE is a

new concept for providing specialized accounts and other training for government

employees across the state. The CoE will be inaugurated on Jan 14, 2009.

Talking further, Sinha said, Dr Anil Kumar, IT Minister, Bihar has been

actively pursuing the involvement of IT giants of India to escalate the growth

of IT in Bihar. We have started working toward the mission of uplifting the

lifestyle of the rural folk, especially women and the socially challenged

sections of the society in Bihar. We are sure that the initiated IT awareness

and training across the state can help us in capacity building and creating new

employment opportunity.

Avishek Rakshit & Manisha K

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