Kerala 1st Indian state to be fully e-governed, declare internet as citizen's right

Pinarayi Vijayan
Pinarayi Vijayan. Photo: Manorama

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala will be the first state in India that will run its public services fully on e-governance platforms, where internet service will be deemed the fundamental right of the citizen.

Kerala will be declared as fully e-governed by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan at a function in Thiruvananthapuram on May 25, Thursday.

Applications for 886 services concerning 80 government departments - right from address change in driving licence and crop loss assistance and college admissions to excise licences and MGNREGS job cards and auction notices - can now be submitted online.

Instead of going around government offices and waiting endless hours to meet officials for different kinds of services, citizens will have the benefit of a single-stop destination for all government services: This online single window that provides all public services is called the e-Sevanam portal, which was inaugurated on October 1, 2021.

On top of it, people with disabilities, senior citizens and those facing various difficulties will get the services delivered right at their doorstep.

Besides the 'e-Sevanam' portal, Kerala IT Mission has also created a set of digitised platforms and applications, including e-Office File Flow, to take it down to the village office level. At the lowest grassroots level are the Akshaya Centres, which are within easy distance of most households in Kerala.

The State Data Centres (SDCs), which form part of the core digital infrastructure, deliver e-Governance services. All SDCs are connected to the Kerala State Wide Area Network (KSWAN), the network backbone that connects three Network Operating Centres (NOCs), 14 District Head Quarters, 152 Block Headquarters, and 63 Mini Points of Presence (POPs). To support information delivery and interaction, the Citizens’ Call Centre functions as a single-window facility for providing assistance across government departments, organizations, and projects.

The State Service Delivery Gateway (SSDG) acts as the hub for all interactions between citizens, businesses, and government departments. "The advantage of having such a hub is that it will allow the linking of all public-state interactions with the e-District facility," a top IT Mission source said.

Through this e-District facility, the government brings together all districts under a common platform, delivering high volume citizen services related to departments critical to the public like the Revenue Department, online RTI, Public Grievance Redressal, revenue court cases, and various payments. "The e-District facility has enabled the issuance of more than 2.40 crore certificates, the highest number of transactions by any state," the official said.

Then, applications like Service and Payroll Administrative Repository for Kerala (SPARK), e-Health, e-Office, and e-Procurement are already in place.

SPARK hosts an integrated personnel, payroll and accounts information system that helps the administration to ensure consistent application of rules and to forge better employee relations. Every staff member has a unique Permanent Employee Number (PEN) as a stamp of identity across departments and services.

e-Health provides an integrated framework to ensure efficient delivery of healthcare services. It includes a centralized database of healthcare information and support solutions for nearly 50,000 healthcare service personnel consisting of doctors, paramedical and nonclinical staff at the primary, secondary and tertiary care centres.

e-Office brings in efficiency, speed and transparency in the way files are managed at various government departments, collectorates, sub-collectorates, directorates and line departments.

e-Procurement helps in enhancing transparency and efficiency in public procurement activities and their monitoring on a real-time basis.

In other words, the delivery of all vital services has already been digitised, covering all key domains including health, education, land revenue, documentation of properties, public distribution system and social security payouts.

The success of these initiatives has been borne out in the top position secured by Kerala in the National e-Service Delivery Assessment conducted by the Government of India.

An official government release said that the total e-governance would also bridge the digital divide by making digital infrastructure to all at affordable cost. "The roll-out of KFON (Kerala Fibre Optic Network) will be a decisive step forward in this direction. Kerala stands out as the first Indian state to declare access to the internet as a citizen's right," the release said.

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