The African delegation, which is on a study tour of India, spent its third day on Wednesday by studying e-governance activities in southern Indian province of Karnataka. During the day, the delegates visited an integrated citizen service centre in the provincial capital city of Bengaluru.
Bengaluru, which is popularly known as the IT capital of India, is credited with running the best urban e-governance project in the country. Known as BangaloreOne, these citizen centres serve as a single window for interacting with a host of government departments. Citizens can pay their bills, taxes, receive documents such as birth certificates and even apply for a passport at any time of their convenience as these centres, 55 of them located in different parts of the city, work round the clock on all days, including Sundays and public holidays.
The BangaloreOne centres are run on a public-private partnership model. While the government has made available space for setting up the centres, the private partner sets up the centres and manages the day-to-day running. The funds collected through transactions – each centre with 10 to 12 terminals does nearly 1,000 to 1,500 transactions a day—are deposited in a pool account to which the government has access. The operator is paid every month according to the number of transactions carried out in the previous month. The BangaloreOne officials briefed the visiting delegation about the functioning of the centres and also told them that they are constantly adding new services to the bouquet available to the public.
Later in the day, the delegates participated in a high-level meeting with provincial government officials who manage various aspects of e-governance. The meeting, chaired by senior bureaucrat M N VidyaShankar, who heads the e-governance initiatives of the government, helped the delegates get a detailed account of measures undertaken by the province to put in place an e-service structure. Karnataka is the only province the country that has been using e-procurement route for inviting and executing tenders.