Since it was formed in 2003, Chhattisgarh has made economic progress in leaps and bounds. It is one of India’s few energy surplus states in India, contributes 15% to India’s steel production, and has implemented a PDS model that has served as a role model for states across the country. As per a CRISIL report published in December, 2017, Chhattisgarh was the fourth fastest-growing state in India between FY13 and FY17 (taking growth, inflation and fiscal performance into account).
When it comes to telecom penetration, however, especially in rural areas – where the majority of the population lives, the state lags behind. An overwhelming 71% of the rural population lacks access to phones – the highest in the country, as against the national average of 28% (as per SECC 2011 data). Sanchar Kranti Yojana has been designed to transform that, by augmenting the telecom network in the State, especially in unconnected regions, and by distributing smartphones to the people. With this, the government hopes to usher in the age of technology and connectivity even in the most far flung regions. The government is also focused on gender empowerment – majority of beneficiaries of this scheme are women.
A smartphone is arguably the most empowering device today as it provides access to information, access to markets and access to financial services. Chhattisgarh government is providing access to these opportunities to the people of the state via the SKY Scheme – the first of its kind and the world’s largest such programme. Chhattisgarh also plans to utilize this network infrastructure to connect with the citizens and provide them better m-governance services. The government aims to simplify government to citizen services by making them more citizen centric, seamless, easy to access, and ubiquitous by making them available on smartphones. The vision of the state government is proactive governance where G2C services are delivered to the citizen as needed or anticipated, rather than the current process of requesting a service, applying for it, and then availing of it.
The government already has several m-governance apps available for citizens today – m-CHOiCE for e-district services, Bhuiyan for land records, CG-DPR for government news and announcements, Chhattisgarh Tourism app for promoting tourism in the state, CG-Shikshak Mitan for teachers of government schools to manage their workstreams, High Court of Chhattisgarh app to disseminate information relating to cases filed in High Court of Chhattisgarh. Besides these apps, there are certain apps that are intended for internal use to improve efficiency and scheme delivery – for e.g., under ICDS (Integrated Child Development Scheme) there is a platform called CAS (Common Application Software) that is used by Anganwadi Workers to improve service delivery and enable data based service delivery. This technology intervention is intended to be a job aid for Anganwadi Workers and help strengthen ICDS policy framework, system and capacities, facilitate community engagement, improve the health of children less than six years of age; and strengthen convergent actions for improved nutrition outcomes. Under the Shalakosh project, the government is rolling out an app called COSMOS, which will be installed on tablets that will be provided to government run schools in every district. This app will enable the teachers to improve learning outcomes in schools and will provide all services of an education specific ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) tool.
The government is in the process of improving these existing apps and services, through enhancements and improvements in usability and functionality. Additionally, the government is identifying existing gaps and plans to leverage the power of crowdsourcing and hackathons to provide better m-governance services in the state.