The most recent Rajasthan Digi Fest 2017, third such event by the state, was concluded in Udaipur on Monday. The 3-day long IT festival held by the state government shed light on the Rajasthan government’s efforts towards digitisation and how the administration is providing a boost to the start-up culture in the state. With a string of speakers from various companies operating across the world attending the event, the Digi Fest 2017 served as a platform for learning to the aspiring youth of the nation. The event kicked off with a 24-hour long hackathon, which saw the participation of more than 1500 youngsters from across India, day 2 of the Digi Fest welcomed speakers like Greg Moran, Co-Founder and CEO - Zoomcar, Colin Tooze, Director of Public Policy – Uber Global and many more. The event was also attended by Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia who addressed the gathering and interacted with the various digital presentations at the IT festival.
The Digi Fest 2017 highlighted the state government’s current e-governance practices and how the state is planning to further build upon them. Right from the nationally renowned eMitra launched in 2005, the event displayed all the prevailing e-governance practices like the Bhamashah Yojana, ePDS, Rajasthan Payment Platform, eSanchar, iFact and more. Evidently, all the e-Government portals have been designed in an integrated manner so as to combine and use all the available data for the state residents. Elaborating on the e-Mitra, the multi-modal platform aims to offer its integrated services to the citizens’ doorsteps through a three-way front including a dedicated web portal, mobile app and 40,000+ kiosks spread through the state. As per the government claims, the 200 plus integrated services also accommodate payment gateways of all major banks as well as mobile payment portals in addition to micro ATMs/ BCs. Recently, end-to-end application and delivery of "Digitally Signed Certificates" such as Bonafide, Caste, Income, Solvency etc. have also been made possible through the e-Mitra portal.
Other e-governance schemes practised by the Rajasthan government include Bhamashah Yojana, which is essentially a resident data hub and is mandatorily used by all the departments of the state for deciding entitlement. It provides a unique ID to each individual citizen, just like the Aadhaar, but in addition, also recognizes families wherein the lady of the house is considered as the ‘Head of the Family’. It entitles all the cash and non-cash benefits for a family through a single medium. A public grievance redressal mechanism, known as ‘Sampark’ lets the citizens of Rajasthan register their grievances, even offering SMS integration, GIS linked inspection, reality check functionality for disposed cases and a process wherein the feedback is sought by the state from the complainant. An ePDS scheme provides targeted PDS benefits to the citizens through the use of PoS devices and Aadhaar linked validation and hence avoids proxy withdrawals or misuse. Some more mentionable e-governance schemes include the electronic face of the Rajasthan government - State Portal, event-based notifications to beneficiaries and officials through eSanchar and iFact, rural Wi-Fi setup scheme – Raj Wi-Fi, two-way electronic payment provision through Rajasthan Payment Platform, an online auction platform between purchasers and brokers, farmers and APMCs - RIMMS, single window access for e-commerce activities in the state - eBazaar and an end-to-end kit to help citizens become digitally sound – Digikit.
Apart from using digital services to help the citizens of the state, the Rajasthan government has also been using the digital infrastructure to help automate its own administrative operations. A unified platform for depicting the various layers and hosting GIS-based applications and collecting spatial and non-spatial attribute data for state structures – RajDharaa, e-space for safe document storage with electronic self-attestation and e-Verification – Raj eVault, electronic signature for self-attestation and e-Verification – Raj eSign, integrated automation platform - Raj Kaj, online video portal of Rajasthan government – Raj Bioscope and more such digital initiatives are currently being used in the state.
An insight into these ongoing e-governance practices reveals how digitisation can be used to enhance the reach and the actual effect of such government services. Technology, on many levels, has already enabled citizens to attain more work efficiency than what was possible earlier. With the national and state governments now moving towards the use of such digitally powered solutions to improve their administrative efficiency, it is evident on many levels that the next step of evolution for the country and its citizens as a whole would be technology driven.
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