Jammu and Kashmir has topped among all Union Territories of India in e-governance services delivery, which has enabled it to save around Rs 200 crore annually that was earlier incurred in carriage of physical files, Union Minister Jitendra Singh said on Monday. While releasing the National e-Governance Service Delivery Assessment (NeSDA) report, he said 28 central government ministries/departments have already adopted e-office version 7.0 along with digitisation of the central registration units, enabling creation of paperless secretariats ‘where receipts move online, files move online and correspondence moves online’.
Singh, the Minister of State for Personnel, said the migration schedule of the remaining 56 ministries/departments has been drawn up and by February 2023, all ministries will have e-Office version 7.0. The minister said that in the Union Territories category, Jammu and Kashmir was assessed for the first time in NeSDA 2021 and scored the highest amongst all UTs for six sectors. He lauded the UT for achieving this position with an overall compliance of nearly 90 per cent.
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Singh said that after coming into force under the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act on October 31, 2019, J&K became the first UT in the country to have good governance index and was also first to launch district good governance index for its 20 districts in January this year. He said the operationalisation of two secretariats in Jammu and Kashmir was possible because of e-office and that has put an end to annual darbar move carrying over 300 truckloads of files between the two capital cities of Srinagar and Jammu. This also saved Rs 200 crore per annum and led to uninterrupted work culture in the entire UT without any official break of six weeks for organisation of files in Jammu and Srinagar respectively, a statement issued by the Personnel Ministry said.
The minister said the adoption of e-office has enabled the simultaneous operationalisation of both Jammu and Srinagar secretariats and was one of the biggest reforms related to the practice of Darbar move. Singh, who is a Lok Sabha member from Jammu and Kashmir’s Udhampur constituency, on Monday released the second edition of the National e-Governance Service Delivery Assessment 2021 (NeSDA 2021), prepared at the initiative of Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG) under the Union Ministry of Personnel.
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The report has been prepared covering the assessment of states, UTs, and focuses on central ministries on their effectiveness in delivering online services to citizens. It also provides suggestions for governments to further enhance their e-governance service delivery systems. The limited file movement with four levels of submission and adoption of the desk officer system has ensured that non-performing officials can no longer hide files, the minister added. Referring to some of the success stories, Singh said the uninterrupted functioning of the central secretariat in the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown was possible because of e-office.
Deputy Secretaries, Joint Secretaries, Additional Secretaries and Secretaries had access to virtual private network and could take policy decisions on e-files during this period, he said. Singh said the adoption of e-office in the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) represented a milestone as it demonstrated that departments with multiple field offices could use e-office for real-time transfer of files. He informed that in 2022, DRDO collaborated with DARPG in propagation of the use of e-Office in DRDO and all field offices of DRDO and the headquarters, the statement said.
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In conclusion, Singh expressed satisfaction that in assessment of state portals, Kerala became a frontrunner and the progress made by Tamil Nadu, Jammu & Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh in NeSDA 2021 was also commendable. In service portals, Rajasthan, Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir and Meghalaya have topped the rankings, it said. All states/UTs have shown improvements in the promotion of integrated service portals and the number of services being offered on their state portals.
In his address, DARPG Secretary V Srinivas said that his department currently monitors adoption of e-office on its dashboard on a daily basis, submits progress reports on e-office implementation in its monthly letters to the Cabinet Secretary and circulates information to the council of ministers. Further, the DARPG had instituted certificates of recognition to institutions that achieve 90 per cent of e-office digitalisation, the statement said. The significant increase in number of instances and users under e-office was possible because of these untiring efforts, it said.
In NeSDA 2021, 1,400 services across all states and UTs were assessed as compared to 872 in 2019, an increase of over 60 per cent. As many as 74 per cent of the respondents of the nationwide citizen survey conducted during the study had stated that they are satisfied with the e-services provided by the states and UTs. The e-services of finance and local governance and utility services sectors were the most widely used by citizens, it said. The rising trend of e-services delivery shifting from single silo departmental portals to integrated/centralised portals has resulted in higher citizen satisfaction, the statement said.