9.10 Andhra Pradesh e-Governance

The eGovernance system in Andhra Pradesh is an outstanding attempt to overcome the poverty, illiteracy and corruption endemic in India by using Internet technology to empower citizens in their everyday dealings with the State Government.

Andhra Pradesh has a multi-ethnic population of 76 million. Five languages are spoken, but only 8% have completed high school education, and 48% are illiterate. Some 70% earn their living from the land. The average annual household income is $600, with 20% of the population below the poverty line of $49 per year. Some 50% of homes have no electricity, and 69% do not have piped water.

Under the forward-looking leadership of Nara Chandrababu Naidu, the Government of Andhra Pradesh employed McKinsey & Co. to produce a twenty-year plan for the State's agriculture, healthcare, education and industry development. Their Vision 2020 advocated:

1. A radical change of mindset.
2. Simple, moral, accountable, responsive and transparent government.
3. A shift from 'institution-centered' to 'citizen-centered' objectives.
4. Provision of sustainable and affordable IT infrastructure.
5. Software development to center on health, agriculture, education and business.
6. Recruiting recent ICT graduates, while training existing staff.
7. Implementing initiatives created in the late 1990s.

The benefits to State Government included:

1. Higher employee productivity.
2. Better use and re-use of information by Government departments.
3. Reduced maintenance and training costs by adopting common systems and processes.

The 'C-6 Model' envisaged:

1. Content. Develop existing software to desired ends.
2. Competencies. Train existing staff rather than recruit new.
3. Connectivity. Encourage private operators to lay fiber-optic cable throughout the state.
4. Cyberlaws. AP's Information Technology Act 2000 to cover data privacy, integrity, access control, non-repudiation and audit of electronic transactions.
5. Citizen Interface Options. Connect citizen service centers, Internet kiosks, home PCs, etc.
6. Capital. Financing by public private partnership.

Each eSeva center (seva means 'service' in Sanskrit) would run on:

Sun E250 servers, Compaq ML 530 database servers.
Oracle 9iAS, application server running on Sun Solaris.
Oracle 8i R3 database server running on Microsoft Windows 2000.
Firewall server.
Network monitoring system running on Cisco.
10 KVA UPS with one-hour backup and 5 KVA UPS for all servers in the datacenter. 10 client machines and 10 printers at each eSeva Center.

Seva centers (outsourced to private companies) would run 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., 7 days week over the Internet through www.esevaonline.com. Centers would have 24-44 staff members. Citizens would not be charged for the service, except for utilities, which would be billed Rs.5 per transaction.

Implementation

Implementation was staggered, with various services appearing as need and circumstances permitted. The computer-aided Administration of Registration Department (CARD), for example, was one of the first eGovernance initiatives implemented, with 2.8 million land records dating from 1983 digitized and accessible from 387 offices around the state. The pilot study conducted in 1996 cost $55,000, and the full project, launched in 1998, cost $6 million. Six months after implementation, some 80% of all land registration transactions were carried out electronically. Land registration can now be completed in one hour instead of 7-15 days of the previous system. Title searches over the past 20 years can be done in 15 minutes rather than the 3 days. Certified copies of documents are obtainable in 30 minutes rather than the 3 days of the conventional system.

Old habit died hard, however. Some 90% rural and 80% urban land registrants attended a CARD office with a document writer or a middleman. The average bribe paid was an additional 7.95% (2.85% urban and 25.81% rural) of the actual fees due. Some 83% (60% urban and 94% rural) of citizens thought the registration officer was corrupt, and 85% (64% urban and 96% rural) thought the Land Department itself was corrupt.

Services for the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply & Sewage Board were rolled out early, and quickly paid for themselves. Prior to April 2002, the average number of customers who paid was roughly 60,000 across all districts. From August 2001, thanks to TV-, print-, computer- and word-of-mouth-advertising, the number of paying customers rose to 100,000, an increase of 66%. Customer service improved, and complaint waiting times were generally halved.

The original Andhra Pradesh State Electricity Board was unbundled into several companies, and similar improvements achieved.

Services Payable at Seva Centers

Electricity
Water and sewerage
Telephone bills
Property tax
CST returns
A2 returns of APGST
AA9 returns of APGST
Examination fee
IT returns of Salaried class
Prepaid parking tickets
Renewal of Trade licenses
Change of vehicle owner address
Transfer of vehicle ownership
Issue of driving licenses
Renewal of driving licenses (non-transport vehicles)
Registration of new vehicles
Quarterly tax payments of autos
Quarterly tax payments of goods vehicles
Lifetime tax payments of new vehicles
Registration of birth
Electricity
Water and sewerage
Telephone bills
Property tax
CST returns
A2 returns of APGST
AA9 returns of APGST
Examination fee
Change of vehicle owner address

Transfer of vehicle ownership
Issue of driving licenses
Renewal of driving licenses (non-transport vehicles)
Registration of new vehicles
Quarterly tax payments of autos
Quarterly tax payments of goods vehicles
Lifetime tax payments of new vehicles
Registration of birth
Registration of death
Issue of birth certificates
Issue of death certificates
Internet-enabled electronic payments
Download of forms and Government Orders
Reservation of APSRTC bus tickets
Reservation of water tanker
Filing of passport applications
Sale of non-judicial stamps
Sale of trade license applications
Sale of National Games Tickets
Sale of entry tickets for WTA
Sale of EAMCET applications
Collection of telephone bill payments
Sale of new AirTel Prepaid Phone cards
Top up/recharge of AirTel Magic cards
Sale of entry tickets for Tollywood Star cricket
Sale of entry tickets for Cricket match (RWSO)
Filing of Reliance CDMA Mobile Phone connections

Services Subsequently Payable at Seva Centers

Railway reservation
Sale of movie tickets
Payment of traffic-related offenses
Payment of degree examination fees of O.U.
Sale of I-CET applications
Online reservation of Tirupati Temple Tickets
Collection of bill payments of Idea Cellular
Collection of bill payments of HUTCH
Issue of encumbrance
Certificate Market value assistance

General insurance
Reservation of tourist accommodation
Reservation of tourist bus tickets
Call center
Indian Airlines ticket reservation
Life insurance premium payment
Issue of caste certificates
Sale of Indira Vikas Patra ATM services
Collection of bill payments of Air Tel
Renewal of drug licenses
Issue of bus passes
Collection of trade licenses of Labor department

Rural Services


Advice and information on:

Crop selection
Farm practices
Pest control

Diseases
Tele-veterinary services
Agricultural market prices Employment

Overall Successes

The system has been a well-publicized success. Notable features:

1. 7.02 million transactions have been accomplished since inception in August 2001 and Rs.19.6 billion collected.
2. 45 services became accessible, with each transaction designed to take no more than 90 seconds.
3. Time saved was the greatest boon: particularly by middle class citizens.
4. 78% of users were educated, and 97% were literate.
5. Utility payment was the most used: electricity 93%, telephone 77% and 72% for water bills.
6. Investment was drawn from Andhra Pradesh , Indian and overseas sources, including the World Bank and the UK's Department of International Development.
7. The PPP approach is working, with increased opportunities for private companies to employ and train staff.
8. A gradual improvement in the quality of life is being observed.

Government Initiatives

Government performance has been monitored, as has the behavior of utility payers. Initiatives underway include:

1. Cluster analysis to target consumption, billing and metering irregularities.
2. Similar computer analysis to identify electricity loss and theft.
3. Software to regulate distribution losses and maintenance costs.
4. Software to monitor financial and operational information on individual electricity supplies.
5. A microwave communication-based network to control the power supply to one million customers.
6. Training of officials in the new objectives and priorities.

Continuing Challenges

Traditional attitudes changed slowly. Staff were initially reluctant to input information, and data is still being entered carelessly. The removal of the two greatest perks of a government job — the power of harassment and additional income that comes from bribes— was also resented, being met with non-compliance and sabotage. Attitudes changed when threatened layoffs did not occur, and employees were indeed rewarded for implementing eGovernance projects. Sympathetic training of older staff helped.

Customers unused to paying for utilities, or inured to official harassment, were slow to see advantages, but the Government set up grievance centers, and introduced self-assessment that explained matters more effectively.

Customers in rural areas still walk to government offices, preferring to have the functionary stamp and sign the certificates. Servicing through kiosks may therefore become mandatory.

Change is happening, but not as fast as eSeva planned and hoped for.

Looking Ahead

The eSeva system is serving as a model for other other Indian States, even as it undergoes developments itself. Fiber optic cables are being laid to all Andhra Pradesh villages, and in time the staffed kiosks will be replaced by PC users. Staff in low-level jobs will need to be redeployed, possibly trained in basic teaching and medical services.

Questions

1. What problems did the government of Andhra Pradesh face? Explain how the McKinsey plan sought to overcome them.
2. How was the plan implemented, and with what success?
3. Give some idea of the services the eGovernance system supplies.
4. What are the current challenges and further plans?

Sources and Further Reading

Need the references and resources for further study? Consider our affordable (US $ 4.95)  pdf ebook. It includes extensive (3,000) references, plus text, tables and illustrations you can copy, and is formatted to provide comfortable sequential reading on screens as small as 7 inches. 

   Get your eBook here.