THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The awarding of the pilot project of total e-governance solution in Thiruvananthapuram Corporation to a private firm has come as a severe blow to the government-run Information Kerala Mission (IKM) which has been spearheading the computerisation in the local body for the past 12 years.
While Corporation officials say Wipro, which has been entrusted with the job, will create an end-to-end e-solution, IKM is of the opinion that a major portion of the project would be an overlapping of its own activities. While Corporation is all for a fast mode, IKM’s slow pace has come under the scanner.
“We are not throwing away the IKM software. Under a Government Order, we are supposed to carry on its usage. However, we could decide whether to use their assistance or completely entrust the new firm with the job. IKM has introduced some of the services, but the project is for total computerisation. Which includes networking in zonal offices, interlinking of computers and facilitating its easy use in the panchayat-turned-wards too. It is not going to be an over-lap,” said G Happykumar, Deputy Mayor.
According to the IKM officials, the registration and distribution of birth and death certificates, the welfare pension distribution, property tax payment, professional tax payment, accounts-entry using double-entry accrual system and submission of building permit applications are some of the online services now put in place in the Corporation. The service of the Janasevena Kendram from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. is testimony to the fact that the computerisation in the local body is going on at a steady. However, the networking and interlinking is yet to be done, the officials agree.
However, IKM officials say a large barrier in the successful implementation of its computerisation activities in the City Corporation has been crossing the psychological hurdles built by the officials. “It is basically got to do with the approach. When it is a government firm, officials are reluctant to fall into place but they do so obediently when it is a private player,” an IKM official.
“We give training to 100 officials and equip them but then there are mass transfers and we have a dearth of trained officials. Even when there is facility to do many things online, Corporation officials resort to using pen and paper and keep up the manual work and blame it upon us,” said IKM officials.
However, the Corporation is of the opinion that IKM has been given 12 years and not much has happened. “Instead of register books, officers sit and enter data into computers. There is no file tracking system, the zonal offices are not updated, no computer networking. When it is computerisation, information should be available at the fingertips. The e-governance project is intended for all this,” said a Corporation official.