Use on-line mode for better service delivery

Jammu and Kashmir too can now claim to be at par in the race with other states and Union Territories in respect of introducing with reasonable speed and accuracy, digitization of its departments and offices for public facility, convenience and cutting down on the botheration to repeatedly visiting in person Government departments by the citizens. It may be recalled that earlier this year, the UT Administration had launched Rapid Assessment System (RAS) which was stitched in such a manner that provided an inbuilt mechanism at civil Secretariat to receive necessary feedback in respect of a number of identified services provided through on-line mode. Leaving things just right at that point, it may be appreciated, cannot bring the requisite results and provide an insight into the levels of the success of the RAS unless regular review meetings and that too at higher administrative levels took place periodically to find out the nature and the trend of the feedback and possibly to address areas of weakness or deficiencies.
In this connection, it is quite satisfying that recently such a review meeting was convened wherein besides other aspects of digitization, an appraisal of a total of 178 services introduced through on-line mode was made. In all, a fairly good number of 23 Government departments having to deal exclusively with these services on what is classified as ‘trigger based digital reach’ or instantaneous reach with a click as promised, has got to be fructified in reality on the ground. In fact, RAS provides a platform to citizens for submitting online applications to get various services like Domicile Certificates, commercial water connections, benefits under MUMKIN scheme, licenses for fertilizers, pesticides, opening nurseries, sericulture items and various other new facilities and services. So far so good but the question is about how the citizens and the beneficiaries place and rank such services offered in Government departments albeit a new experience , say through online mode.
Against the general perception as was wont through and on account of off-line or personal contact and visits system coupled with lot of paper work in Jammu and Kashmir, response of RAS reach outs comprising 3.30 lakh, even merely less than eleven thousand feedback there-from with 78 percent users rated the delivery of services as ”good”, other services as ”satisfactory” while remaining ones with “positive feedback” in respect of different departments. We cannot be pessimistic in drawing a negative conclusion but term the initiative and the response as healthy and encouraging and equally cannot feel fully satisfied also as the feedback is virtually symbolic and not extensive. What, therefore, if more feedback /responses from more users would have been there with how they would place the quality of services delivered, review exercise would have been more meaningful as well as fruitful and exploring ways how improvement could be brought about. Let a margin or some leverage, however, be given in respect of the new initiative of online mode and by the time it gets duly familiarised and naturally adopted by the citizens, the concept of RAS shall definitely get transformed into a working reality. Besides, citizens’ feedback and the necessary action on that, if warranted, shall undoubtedly prove a game changer in respect of the speed and the quality of services delivered.
Now that administrative directions to concerned officers for integration of all the 178 services have been issued besides introduction of IVRS mechanism for reaching out to maximum number of services receivers, perceptible improvement with better results are expected in terms of getting reasonably sufficient requisite feedback as the facility of SMS backed feedback rather the only mode available so far, is already existing and has otherwise been providing the feedback. Fighting rampant corruption, encouraging transparency and accountability and making delivery of services in quality oriented and fast mode manner in time bound framework through on-line mode shall result in overall enhancement of the quality and standard of working culture in Government departments, not only better delivery of services. The initiative coupled with regular review shall definitely result in giving a major push to end to end digitization of services in additional departments and offices and ultimately realising the vision of Digital India.