Governance and Right To Information

Governance in INDIA

India E-district :: Process Automation based e-governance implementation

Posted by egovernance on January 6, 2007

Process Automation based e-governance implementation in core
government functioning in Tiruvarur district of TamilNadu. (India)

Tiruvarur district of TamilNadu was declared the Pilot-e-district by the Government of TamilNadu on the 13th June 1999. The largely agrarian district which is located at 350 KMs from Chennai had accomplished
near total automation of the field level government functioning in Taluk offices, District Rural
Development Agency (DRDA), Collectorate, Block offices, Town Panchayat Office (local body) and
Regional Transport Office. Land record administration, rural development scheme administration,
student scholarship administration, public grievances handling, HR administration, Social welfare
scheme administration such as National Old Age Pension Scheme, Distress Relief Scheme, Accident Relief
Scheme, marriage assistance scheme, Agriculture labourers’ Insurance scheme, etc were migrated to
manual register free status, thus removing hurdles in getting citizen service delivery. Under the title
‘Power of e-governance’ the district conducted 8 outdoor camps in different places where the Taluk office
functioning was held in Marriage halls proving a point that the district could run government offices
literally anywhere, without moving any manual registers. Times of India, a leading newspaper in India
had rated Tiruvarur as ’20 years ahead of rest of India’.
Executive Summary
Tiruvarur district of TamilNadu State was a new district carved out from Thanjavur and Nagapattinam
districts on 1-1-1997.
Tiruvarur is a riparian district of the Cauvery delta. Its annual contribution to the
paddy production of the state is about 5,50,000 tonnes. Wetland agriculture forms the backbone of
Tiruvarur’s economy. Tiruvarur district has over 1.1 million population. Over 80% of the population lives
in villages. UNDP had classified Tiruvarur district under ‘highly disaster prone’ list. Cyclones, floods and
droughts are a recurring phenomenon there. The literacy level is 68% as per the latest census. The
district has very high level of poverty and associated backwardness.
Geographically, Tiruvarur is located at 350 KMs from Chennai. The district has 7 Revenue Taluks and 10
Development Blocks.
Mr.C.Umashankar, an IAS (Indian Administrative Service) officer borne on TamilNadu cadre (1990 batch) took over the reins of the district as its second District Collector on the 11th of February, 1999. On the date of joining the district had only one personal computer. This was kept in a box. With this one PC the
pilot e-district commenced its operation during February 1999. In the next two years, the district went
through a barrage of e-governance initiatives that resulted in over 85% automation in conventional
offices such as Taluk offices, Block offices and District Rural Development Agency (DRDA). From a single
personal computer, this backward district reached a level of 311 computers, including 32 servers in 20
different offices.
The district also had ushered in a wi-fi revolution by setting up the first wireless LAN using 802.11b radios,
connecting all the 20 offices coming under the district in 14 locations.
Mr.Umashankar left the district on 11th June 2001 on transfer orders.
The Government of TamilNadu declared Tiruvarur district as the pilot-e-district on 13th June 1999 thus
paving the way for experimenting various application software tools to automate the government
processes aimed at reducing the troubles of the citizens in their interface with the government machinery
in their day to day life.
Based on the pilot-e-district announcement, the district went ahead with the setting up of 4 software
development centres in the District Collector’s office itself, employing over 30 software professionals for
the development of e-governance application software packages. The Collectorate became a virtual
software development cum implementation centre.
The pilot-e-district rolled out over 20 e-governance software packages touching various areas of citizen
interface with the government. The major beneficiaries were agriculturists, land owners, students,
widows, agricultural labourers above 65 years of age, schools, local body population, rural population,
below poverty line people benefiting from social welfare schemes such as marriage assistance scheme,
pregnant women assistance scheme etc.
The district did not receive any formal commitment of funds from the State budget. In the absence of
budgetary support, the District Collector Mr.C.Umashankar floated an Non Profit Organisation named
District Welfare Committee which was headed by the District Collector and participated by the people’s
representatives. This Non Profit Organisation mobilised funds from various sources to the tune of Rs.25
million and implemented the e-governance programme.
The IPRs of the application software packages are owned by the Government thus giving scope for the
Governments to adopt the packages in their respective areas of governance.
By the end of the 2nd year of commencing the e-governance initiatives, the district reached a very high
level of e-governance thus enabling citizen services online in the Revenue and rural development areas
almost to the tune of 85-90%. It is important to understand that by automating the Revenue and rural
development wings of the district administration, the level of citizen services, especially the common
man reaches an automatic level of over 70%.
Because these two departments generally pose a major challenge to the citizens in their interaction with
the bureaucracy for getting the necessary government services. The level of corruption and inhuman
treatment by the bureaucracy pose a challenge to anyone who wishes to aim for better G to C services.
What happened in Tiruvarur district sounds almost unbelievable, yet it is true that the Taluk office
services were dispensed through 8 online camps during the period between 30th September 2000 and
11th February, 2001. These online e-governance camps were held in public buildings such as Marriage
halls where the servers of the Taluk offices were moved to provide online and on the spot services. The
entire online service was provided under the public glare, without using any manual registers. These
camps introduced one vital phase in Indian e-governance experiment that conventional government
offices can indeed be run without paper based registers. Tiruvarur had set a trend to the rest of India by
making the electronic records as the first source of government records and every other record, including
manual records, if any, were made secondary records (of reference) only.
Technically speaking, Tiruvarur had no precedence to follow. It had to lay down its own path. And when
it created a new path, it made it right. Tiruvarur introduced a novel concept in workflow engine suiting
the requirements of Indian bureaucracy. The workflow engine ensured total accountability on the users
and reliability of the database created. The result was that the users took complete ownership of the
records created using the e-governance system. They were ready to switch over to the electronic
workflow from the totally manual system due to the tight yet transparent workflow engine.
Tiruvarur also introduced two new concepts viz., intranet digital signature for the intranet operations and
a transaction based disaster recovery engine. The transaction based disaster recovery engine was
conceived by the District Collector Mr.C.Umashankar which enabled the e-governance system from all
types of disasters, man made or otherwise. This design got the Government of India merit citation award
during 2003.
The speciality of Tiruvarur’s experiment lies in the following:
1. The entire technical and functional areas of Tiruvarur e-governance initiative were headed by the
District Collector Mr.C.Umashankar who had no technical qualification to carry out the IT work.
Mr.C.Umashankar handled the front end and back end design of each and every e-governance package,
its security features such as intranet digital signature and disaster recovery design and he also validated
the packages.
2. It became a successful experiment in large number of areas such as land record administration, rural
development administration, social welfare scheme administration, civil supplies administration,
scholarship administration, driving licence issue/ vehicle registration administration, grievance redressal
mechanism, issue of various certificates in Taluk offices, HR administration including payroll processing
and so on.
3. It was fully accepted by the users (Government servants), citizens and peoples’ representatives.
4. It has a built in bilingual database interface. The vernacular language support with English as an add
on language option proved to be an important trigger for the success of the experiment.
5. Whoever worked with pen and paper earlier was migrated to the paperless electronic workflow, thus
paving the way for near paperless office administration. The level of back end automation was over 85%
in the offices where the e-governance packages were implemented. The total number of users in
Revenue department exceeded 750 and in rural development administration and Collectorate the
number exceeded 175. The coverage is roughly 90% of the ministerial staff of the district. Each one had
his/her own userID and password to operate the system. It could be a surprise that none of these officials
had ever touched a computer before the e-district experiment began.
6. Tiruvarur introduced campaign based e-governance services whereby the Taluk office servers were
moved out and kept in public places such as marriage halls and citizens were given services online. It is
a case of government going to the citizens to provide services online instead of the other way round.
7. Tiruvarur’s efforts were wholly funded from local resources. All the people’s representatives,
irrespective of political party affiliation contributed liberally for the e-governance experiment.
8. Tiruvarur introduced 802.11b based wireless LAN to connect all the offices coming under the direct
control of the district administration during April 2001.
9. The training and motivation of the entire government machinery was handled locally using local
resources. It may be surprising, yet true that the 32 and odd servers barring the three Collectorate
servers were being manned by these non technical government officials who had been trained to carry
out software administration cum system administration (limited to server operation).
Five years after commencement of the operations, Tiruvarur district transacts is businesses online till
date (October 2004). The users (government staff) own these operations as on date. They do not require
the champion to keep the services going.
Case description:
As a person belonging to a poor middle class family, the champion of this e-governance initiative
(Mr.C.Umashankar IAS.,) had a perfect understanding of the role of the Government vis a vis the
common man. In the absence of technology tools, the Government machinery had virtually become the
master and the real masters, that is the citizen had become a servant. Lack of transparency, red tape and
corruption were the net results. The citizens in India, especially the common man, women, people
belonging to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes get a raw deal from these government servants. In
this context, the champion of Tiruvarur e-governance initiative decided to try true e-governance tools to
make the lives of the common man better. He also wanted to give a fair chance to the honest among the
government servants to excel in their job. From his experience in the past, he knew the ways of the
Government servants and hence he targeted the areas where the citizens got the raw deal from the
Indian administrative set up revolves around the institution of District Collector. Every State in India is
divided into small administrative units for convenience of administration. These small units of
administrative set up are called districts. Each such district is headed by a District Collector cum District
Magistrate. A District Collector is the head of the District administration. All the other departments
operating within the district come under the overall supervision and guidance of the District Collector.
The District Collector is the head of the law and order administration in the district. The police machinery
works under the overall superintendence of the District Collector. Apart from law and order
administration, the District Collector is also in charge of land record administration, welfare
administration, rural development administration, etc.
Each district has two major set up, viz., Revenue department and Rural Development department. These
two wings are like two arms of the District administration and they work directly under the control of the
District Collector. The Revenue department is in charge of land record administration, law and order
administration, issue of various certificates such as birth and death certificate,
community/income/solvency/nativity certificates, administration of social welfare schemes such as
national old age pension scheme, Distress Relief Scheme, Accident Relief Scheme etc. 7 Taluk offices, 2
Revenue Divisional Offices and the Collectorate (Revenue wing) come under the Revenue department
The Rural Development department is in charge of rural development administration. This includes rural
infrastructure creation such as construction of rural roads, school buildings, noon meal centres,
community centres, etc. This department implements majority of the Central Government sponsored
and State sponsored rural development schemes. These schemes cover community oriented schemes
such as food for work programme, rural infrastructure creation programmes, non conventional energy
promotion scheme, women and child development scheme, SC/ST welfare scheme and so on. They also
implement individual family oriented schemes, largely meant for families belonging to Below poverty line
(BPL). These schemes include loan cum subsidy scheme for self employment, rural housing scheme
whereby the SC/ST people are given free financial assistance for construction of houses in rural areas,
rural employment guarantee scheme, Self Help Group (women) assistance scheme etc. Tiruvarur has 10
Block offices, one District Panchayat Office and the District Rural Development Agency coming under the
Rural development wing.
Majority of the poor citizens who look upon the Government for their well being approach these two wings
of the Government for getting their needs satisfied. There is inefficiency and corruption in these offices
due to the large clientele and the large scale of funds being channalised through these offices.
In the above context, the champion decided to being in a fresh air in the public services offered by these
two vital wings of district administration. He succeeded in automating majority of their operations with
total user involvement and a very high rate of success.
Tiruvarur had been rated as ’20 years ahead of rest of India’ by a leading news paper ‘Times of India’
The WEEK magazine chose the champion of this experiment Mr.Umashankar as the ‘man of the next
millennium from among bureaucrats in India’ in its millennium edition during January 2000.
To provide easy access to government services to common man, especially the people belonging to
Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and women.
To enhance the bargaining power of the common man in his dealings with the bureaucracy.
To reduce the workload of the government servants thus enabling them to do contribute more with less
To set a trend for true e-governance to the rest of India.
To make it easy for the District Collector to administer the district efficiently in such a manner that the
citizen gets a much better deal than earlier.
To achieve a life’s mission in serving the common man of India.
To learn more about public services using e-governance.
A sum of Rs.25 million was used for the implementation of the e-district concept. These resources were
mobilized locally. The Members of State legislature (MLAs) and Members of Parliament (MPs) contributed
nearly half the sum mentioned above from their Local Area Development funds.
The district floated a non profit organization titled ‘District Welfare Committee’ to mobilize resources for
e-governance. This organisation is headed by the District Collector himself and participated by all the MPs
and MLAs.
The implementation had the following areas:
1. Application Software development for various e-governance functioning.
2. Creating infrastructure in the Collectorate for positioning the software development centres.
3. Selecting the right technical people for application software development.
4. Data capture to convert the existing paper data into electronic data.
5. Training and motivation of the Government servants.
6. Educating the citizens about the e-services.
7. Purchase of computer hardware
8. Making the 20 government offices fit for e-governance based administration. Creation of additional
infrastructure to enable them fit to keep servers, clients, UPS etc.
9. Finding resources for the application software, hardware and networking products.
10. Interaction with the Government for policy support.
11. Implementation of the e-governance applications.
12. Ensuring the citizen benefit focus of the e-governance activities.
The implementation strategy had been based on the common man requirements. The district chose the
areas where the services to the citizens were too poor in the first phase. This was followed by other
phases gradually. The first two application software packages introduced within 90 days of commencing
the e-district project were the grievances handling software and National Old Age pension software.
These packages were commissioned in the Collectorate and all 7 Taluk offices on the 16th May 1999. The
Collectorate was deluged with petitioners and petitions and it became physically impossible to manage
the service at all. The grievances handling software had to be developed in a hurry. The package was
stabilised by the end of the 3 month period but the actual implementation started side by side as the
district had no other way except to proceed in these lines due to the heavy rush of petitioners.
The OAP section in the Taluk offices was the neglected area in Taluk administration. This wing is manned
by a Tahsildar level officer. But the staff allocated to these wings were usually compassionate ground
appointees or peon promotees. As a result, this section in the Taluk office was considered as punishment
posting. But this wing was in charge of serving the citizens in distress such as agriculture labourers who
had crossed 65 years of age and have lost the ability to do labour anymore, widows, physically
challenged persons, deserted house wives etc. The beneficiaries under the OAP scheme get a life long
pension of Rs.200 per month. The problems faced by this segment of citizens were two fold. Firstly, the
application processing took as long as one year or more. Corruption and red tape were the order of the
day. Secondly, the selected beneficiaries got their monthly pension through money orders very late,
usually next month. The OAP wing of the Taluk offices had been saddled with huge arrear work. This area
badly needed attention. With the introduction of process based automation software for handling all the
OAP schemes on 16th May 1999, the entire district migrated to paperless stage with regard to OAP
schemes. The paper based registers were done away with. All the transactions were routed through the
online procedure. The money orders were generated by the system instead of manually being written. A
fresh breeze of air indeed. The turnaround was rather dramatic. From huge backlog of work, this wing
became no backlog wing. The turnaround took place in less than 9 months. Due to the no backlog of work,
whenever the visitors from outside wanted to see the OAP software functioning, the district
administration had to send out an alert to the Taluks to keep at least some work pending so that the
visiting team could see the online functioning. To that extent the offices migrated to an efficient level.
This had been documented by leading news magazines and newspapers such as CNN, NDTC, The Week,
Statesman and Times of India.
This was followed by the other difficult areas such as land record administration online, DRDA online and
Block offices online.
Software development centres:
The district had no financial allocation to pay for the application software development. No IT company
was willing to sponsor the application software development. In the circumstances, the district had to
mobilize its own resources. When the resources were not certain, the district was not in a position to
engage private partners for software development. So, a novel concept of converting a part of the
Collectorate building itself as a software development wing was adopted. Four software development
centres were set up in the Collectorate building and the 30 and above programmers were accommodated
in these centres. These software development centres were provided with quality infrastructure including
air conditioning, LAN and continuous power supply facility.
The District Collector himself headed the technical team involved in the software development. The role
of the District Collector was front end and back end design, validation and implementation.
The District Collector involved himself in the software development work from 6.30 to 8.30 a.m everyday
in the Collectorate. The entire software development team used to work from 6.30 in the morning. The
young software programmers coped with the rigors of the Tiruvarur expectations.
Today the IPRs of these valuable packages are owned by the Tiruvarur district administration.
The net effect of this strategy was that a total number of 20 application software packages were
developed, validated and implemented within a short period of 24 months. This was possible as the users
themselves were fully involved in the design of the application software and they were eager to own
these packages as and when the development was completed.
An institutional arrangement was made through the District Welfare Committee to continue the support
for the application software and database.
Hardware requirement and the Tender procedure adopted:
The district had acquired servers, fat client machines, thin client machines, UPS, laser and dot matrix
printers, LCD projector and power back up generators.
Hardware acquisition:
Servers: 32
Thin clients: 100
Fat clients:180
Laser printers: 18 Nos.
DMPs: 22 (This includes 7 heavy duty DMPs for Taluk offices to print the Money Orders)
5 KVA UPS – 4 Nos (for Collectorate)
3 KVA UPS – 7 Nos (For Taluk offices)
2 KVA UPS – 12 Nos (For 10 Block offices and two Revenue Divisional Offices)
15 KVA Generator set – For Collectorate to support the UPS only
6 KVA UPS – 2 Nos for Two Taluk offices.
As organized funding was not forthcoming the district had to make its own funding arrangements.
Instead of waiting for the funds to materialize, the district went ahead with open tender procedure and
finalized the lowest bidder before mobilizing the funds. By the time the tenders neared their logical end,
the requisite resources were mobilized from various sources. In this way there was no wastage of time in
the acquisition of hardware. When the hardware acquisition process was on, the application software
were developed using the minimum infrastructure available. Training and orientation programmes
commenced during June 1999 even before the first batch of computers arrived. The entire government
staff were to be oriented towards e-governance before the actual implementation process. The
motivation level of these government staff was so high that the district administration had no difficulty in
orienting them. By the time the first batch of computers (79 numbers) arrived during July 1999, the
initial application software for land record administration was ready. The newly acquired computers were
directly taken to a marriage hall where they were used as training infrastructure to train the entire
Revenue machinery, including over 650 village administrative officers. After a week long training session,
these machines were dispatched to their respective Taluk offices.
The next batch of purchases followed a similar pathway.
For the Wireless LAN towers and Microwave radios, a sum of Rs.4 million was allocated by the Member of
Parliament, Nagapattinam. The district could set the trend for the rest of India in using wi-fi technology
for high speed networking during April 2001.
Wireless infrastructure:
50 metre towers at Collectorate – one
45 metre tower at Mannargudi (Police tower) – one
30 metre towers in Tiruthuraipoondi and Muthupet – Two
24 metre tower at Valangaiman Taluk – one
18 metre towers at Kodavasal , Needamangalam and Nannilam Taluks – Three
6-12 metre towers – 6
Wireless radios:
802.11b wireless bridges (CISCO) – three
802.11b wireless access devices – 5. (six more to be installed)
Training to staff:
Staff training was undertaken on a continuous basis. In majority of the training sessions, the senior
officials of the district administration, including the District Collector took part. The trainees were given
hands on experience during these sessions. The District Collectorate became the centralized training
facility. Whenever any new module was about to be introduced, the resource persons from each office
was called to Collectorate and training was imparted.
The software professional in charge of the application software was made the nodal officer for handling
the technical requirements of the training.
Training manuals were prepared before each such training session.
User feedback was obtained then and there and necessary modifications were carried out thus making
the packages acceptable to the users.
Training was an integral part of the e-district exercise. Weekly training schedules were announced well in
advance to enable the officials to attend the same.
Software administrators:
To administer the Taluk/Block servers, clerical employees from each of the 20 offices were chosen on
voluntary basis to undergo training to act as software administrators. In each office two such staff have
been selected for a one week intensive training on server administration. Their main role was to
administer the software installed in the server and to serve as server operators. They had not been given
system administration password nor database administration password. The main role of the software
administrator is to start the server in the morning and close the operations at end of the day. Other users
had no right to shut down the system. In addition to this, the software administrators had the powers to
assign and revoke rights on each of the application software. This enables them to handle the day to day
variations in availability of staff. If the Software administrator goes on leave, then the standby software
administrator takes over charge. A software based tool had been provided for such online handing over
of charge. This procedure had enabled the staff to take complete ownership of the IT infrastructure and
the database. The software programmers were barred from carrying out any transactions at the field
offices. The Software programmers were permitted only to upgrade the database or application software.
Within a period of 6 months, these software administrators became experts in server administration,
application software administration and hardware trouble shooting. In this way, the dependency on the
technical officials had been completely done away with.
To provide continuity to these software administrators, an order was issued barring their transfer to
other assignments without the written orders of the District Collector.
Public awareness campaign:
Despite the online status of the Block offices and Taluk offices, the patronage of the citizens was
concentrated only on the Collectorate services. To educate the citizens that they could avail online
services in the Taluk and block offices, a special campaign in the name of ‘Power of e-governance’ was
organized in 8 places, starting from 30th September 2000. The modus operandi was to move the Taluk
office server from the Taluk office to a public place such as marriage hall on the day prior to the campaign.
Through advertisement and publicity the citizens were requested to come to the campaign centre to avail
of the online services. The promise was that the services would be provided within a maximum of 2 hours,
including enquiry time, if any and no paper based register would be used in the whole exercise.
This campaign was greeted with huge success. In each such campaign the office concerned could
transact work equivalent to nearly 6 months turnover.
Output and Results
1. The entire land record transactions have been moved into manual register free online status with
effect from February 2000. The agriculturists could get the cultivation and harvest certificates (Adangal
extract) within minutes just by parting with Rs.20. Earlier it had a variable pricing mechanism due to
corruption. Likewise the citizens could have their land purchases recorded in the Taluk and village land
record registers just by paying Rs.20 in person or Rs.60 through VPL. All the final orders were dispatched
through VPL when the applicant does not want to pick up the orders in person. Other land record extracts
were made available at a cost of Rs.10 in all the Taluk office counters.
2. At the Collectorate, the entire grievance redressal mechanism was made online with effect from May
16, 1999. Each petitioner was handed over a computer generated acknowledgement and action taken
report was sent within two weeks.
3. The OAP beneficiaries who were hitherto getting the money orders after a delay of one month started
getting the MOs on the 2nd or 3rd of every month. This was made possible due to the e-governance
based software commissioned in the OAP section with effect from May 16th, 1999.
4. Pendency of applications in OAP section was minimized to just one or two weeks only from more than
one or two years. Thanks to the e-governance software that provided for effective monitoring from
Collectorate upto the Taluk level.
5. Corruption in disposal of Distress Relief Scheme and Accident Relief Scheme where the family
members who lost a bread winner had been completely done away with as the entire sanction procedure
and fund disbursement procedure went online with sufficient checks and balances.
6. Earlier the pre and post matric students were getting Scholarship between February and April. After
the introduction of e-governance package in Collectorate scholarship section, the task could be
accomplished within one week after receipt of fund allocation from Government. That means, the
students could get the Scholarship assistance well before August every year. Thanks to the fully
automated paperless scholarship admin software.
7. RTO: Online processing of applications for issue of learners license and permanent driving licence and
online registration of new vehicles was introduced to weed away corruption. It was found that the RTO
was accepting applications only through touts. They were caught red handed by the District Collector
himself. This was immediately followed by the online RTO software. The software had been made to issue
the date for test driving on its own thus removing the touts in toto. This service was priced at Rs.5 for
each transaction to keep the infrastructure going for long.
8. Rural Development: The family oriented rural development schemes which concentrated the poor
among the villages and the SC/ST people had no transparent elements. This had resulted in delay and
corruption. The Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY) which offers free grant for construction of rural house had
been fully automated, right from the receipt of application stage. Similarly, the credit cum subsidy
scheme aimed at providing self employment opportunity to the rural masses was fully automated at the
DRDA and Block level with vertical linkages.
9. In addition to the above, the entire scheme and financial accounting areas of rural development
department were fully automated. The noon meal centres got their monthly ration allocation in time. The
staff associated with rural development department got their salary, increment etc on time, thanks to the
office manager software. The supervising officials and people’s representatives could monitor the
financial and physical progress of each work from various locations, thus providing transparency to the
whole system.
10. At Koradachery Town Panchayat office, the citizens could transact their entire requirement online.
This includes property tax assessment, water tax assessment and payment of utility bills.
11. In 55 fair price shops where the optical mark read based automation was commissioned, the citizens
could get their ration without any let up.
12. The policemen in Tiruvarur district started getting his salary and other emoluments without delay as
the customized office manager software enabled their entire HR operations online.
13. The Revenue officers who used to be missing for nearly two months during the beginning of every
calendar year due to preparation of Jamabanthi (annual audit of village accounts) accounts. The
Jamabanthi accounts are comprehensive accounts that require a minimum of 40 days to prepare the
same. So these officers used to be missing from public action during the Jamabanthi period. Tiruvarur
had converted the Jamabanthi to paperless stage whereby the Revenue officials do not write any
Jamabanthi account manually. The system generates all the Jamabanthi accounts within 2-3 minutes
thus saving hundreds of man months. From February 2000 onwards, the district had undergone 5 such
online Jamabanthi exercise. This had enabled the Revenue officials to won the Taluk Automation package
as they consider the software more employee friendly as well. The late night/evening works in Taluk
offices became thing of the past as the pendency of works came to minimum or just nil.
Learning points and conclusions
1. Politicians and political parties came forward to support the e-governance initiative at every stage.
Without their support Tiruvarur initiative could have never become a success.
2. The general impression that older people among the government employees would have difficulty in
learning computers was belied by Tiruvarur experience. It was found that the older people among the
Government staff were more enthusiastic in leaning the computer skill. They took over the training task
proudly. This had helped the district administration to train the rest of the employees through these
senior staff.
3. Fears of resistance from government employees and employee unions were belied. The Staff unions
passed a unanimous resolution supporting Tiruvarur e-governance. The Staff association leaders
themselves led the pack.
4. A highly user friendly yet secure system would be quickly accepted by Government employees without
any reservations or resistance. It was found in Tiruvarur that the employees were not willing to accept
less efficient workflow in the front end design. They started demanding high quality front end design
taking a cue from other packages already installed. Their demand had to be met before the packages
were fully commissioned.
5. The bilingual interface was liked by the users to the extent that without even any exposure to typing
skill, these government employees took a print out of the font layout and keyed in their work in
vernacular language (Tamil). This was one of the most striking factors found during the implementation.
6. The ownership feeling of the employees was revealed to the Union Ministers Mr.T.R.Baalu and Mr.Raja
when they came to Tiruvarur to formally inaugurate the Jamabanthi and Birth and Death Registration
software during June 2000. When Mr.T.R.Baalu raised a hypothetical question about discontinuing the
software in future, the employees, notably the Village administrative officers retorted by saying that they
would resort to State wide strike to seeking restoration of the software.
7. Lack of organized financial support does not hinder a true initiative to bring in e-governance. However,
organised funding is an absolute necessity to carry on an e-governance initiative in the long run.
8. A mission mode approach to e-governance with well defined milestones alone can bring about results.
9. Such a mission mode approach causes prejudice among the seniors.
10. Technically, without network infrastructure when such an initiative is taken, it takes three to four
times effort to ground a project. With a high speed network backbone the output could be much higher.
So a high speed network backbone is a must before commencing e-governance initiative.
11. Without policy framework revenue models cannot be resorted to. Even if resorted to, the same may
not last long. So an organized policy support has to be provided by the State.
12. For professional e-governance, the systems should be developed only on open source.
References and links
1. Tiruvarur had been rated as ’20 years ahead of rest of India’ by a leading news paper ‘Times of India’
2. The WEEK magazine chose the champion of this experiment Mr.Umashankar as the ‘man of the next
millennium from among bureaucrats in India’ in its millennium edition during January 2000.
3. Book : e-governance – the success story of Tiruvarur – the road covered and the road ahead –
authored by C.Umashankar IAS – April 2001.
4. Article: Nuts and bolts of e-governance by C.Umashankar IAS., (2000)
5. Power of e-governance videos 1. Mannargudi, 2. Tiruthuraipoondi and 3. Kodavasal.
6. NDTV coverage & publication in Good morning India dated 8th January 2000
7. CNN coverage and publication dated 7th January 2001.
Contact Information
Organisation: Government of TamilNadu
Name: Commissioner for Disciplinary Proceedings, Salem. C.Umashankar IAS
No.43(Old No.18) Pushpavanam apartments, 3rd Main Road, Gandhi
Nagar, Adyar, Chennai – TamilNadu (Res)
Telephone: 91-427-2311737 (Off) , 91-44-5
Mobile: 94443-82827
List of case Domains, Objectives and Key Factors
How this case fits the Beep Knowledge map.
Domain: eGovernment in India
Objective: To improve the eGovernment demand side (the quality and reach of government services)
Key Factor eServices for Citizens Case relevance
Key Factor eServices: transaction based, non financial Case relevance
Key Factor eServices: transaction based, non financial Case relevance
Key Factor eServices: user trust and security, including identity management Case relevance
Key Factor eServices: user design and fulfilment Case relevance
Key Factor eServices: user skills Case relevance
Key Factor eServices: user take-up Case relevance
Key Factor eServices generating income for government Case relevance
Key Factor eServices providing social and financial benefits for users Case relevance
Key Factor eServices for permits and licenses Case relevance
Key Factor eServices: information based Case relevance
Key Factor eServices: communication based Case relevance
Objective: To improve the eGovernment supply side (the productivity and efficiency of government)
Key Factor eGovernment policy, strategies and management Case relevance
Key Factor Public agency human resources Case relevance
Key Factor Public agency own data security and identity management Case relevance
Key Factor Public agency technology infrastructure, tools and applications Case relevance
Key Factor Government process and organisational re-engineering within agencies
Key Factor Government process and organisational re-engineering between agencies
Key Factor Interoperability between agencies Case relevance
Key Factor Partnership / cooperation with the civic sector Case relevance
Key Factor Public agency finance, costs and revenue Case relevance
Key Factor Public agency knowledge management Case relevance
Key Factor Public agency culture and ethics Case relevance
Objective: To improve the good governance of society through participation and democracy
Key Factor Development of policy and strategy within society Case relevance
Key Factor Consultation and participation within society Case relevance
Key Factor Decision-making within society Case relevance
Objective: To improve government support for societal development (the wider role of government)
Key Factor Government support for infrastructure Case relevance
Key Factor Government support for economic development Case relevance
Key Factor Government support for social cohesion, culture and quality of life Case relevance
Key Factor Government support for environmental sustainability Case relevance
Case Characteristics
Keywords Government, eGovernment, eAdministration, eGovernment business services,
eGovernment citizens services, eGovernment culture, eGovernment benefits for
users, eGovernment finance, eGovernment generating income for government,
eGovernment permits and licenses, eGovernment registration services,
eGovernment technology, eGovernance, Data security, Authentification, Security,
Design for All, Usability, Learning, Upgrading skills, eGovernment policy,
eGovernment process re-engineering, Public-Civil Partnerships, Knowledge
Management, Public service ethic, eGovernment human resources, Economic
development, Quality of life, Social cohesion, Environmental sustainability
Timing: Start (2 / 1999) Termination (6 / 2001)
Country groups Asian countries, countries (GLOBAL)
Geographic location INDIA
• Large Town – 100,000 to 500,000 inhabitants
• Medium city – 1 million to 5 million inhabitants
Geographic size:
Main Actors
Types of people who are contributors: 2 Members of Parliament 6 Members of State Legislature 10
Panchayat Union Chair Persons. 1 Chairman of District Panchayat. 10 members of District Welfare
Committee (NGO) Over 1000 employees, including 660 Village Administrative Officers. Traders and
business houses. 34 software professionals District Collector (author)
Number of people directly responsible for, or contributing to, the case – persons who have an interest
or involvement in the case but are not the ultimate beneficiaries of it: 1100
Number of people directly benefiting from the case: 1200000
Type of organisation
Contributors • Mixed public/private/not-for-profit
Specific social/citizens groups
Beneficiaries • Students/youth
• Local community
• Families
• Households
• Elderly
• Disabled
• Unemployed
• Ethnic / non-national
• Women
• Men
Skills of individual
Contributors • Change management skills
Beneficiaries • Domain skills
• ICT skills (specialised/advanced)
• Change management skills
Generic type of service
Contributors • Interactive data service
Beneficiaries • Multipoint conversational service
Generic type of infrastructure platform
Wireless Network 802.11b
Contributors • Specialised
Generic type of user terminal
2/3rd windows based fat clients/servers (over 211) 1/3rd thin clients
Contributors • PCs connected on a local network
Specialized workstation (different to a standard PC)
Beneficiaries • PCs connected on a local network
Type/Field of application
The e-governance application software packages were aimed at making the living of the common man
easy and corruption free. The effort targeted rural population, women, physically challenged people,
widows, below poverty line families, poor students in schools and colleges, Transport licence seekers,
infrastructure creation in the rural and urban areas etc.
Contributors • Government to Government G2G
• Government to Citizens G2C
• Government to Civic Sector
Beneficiaries • Government to Government G2G
• Government to Citizens G2C
Investments and Costs
Investment whole case Time period covered (in months)
Investment amount
(in thousand Euro)
Regional 27 443400
Cost Expenditure for case
Actual components,
plus comments and
timing (in months) if
Expenses for end user hardware Examples: PCs,
laptops, mobiles, PDAs, local printers, etc.
One laptop and over 280
Expenses for end user software Examples:
off-the-shelf applications/tools, client software,
Windows operating system for
the servers and clients.
Expenses for system hardware Examples: servers,
routers, switches, networks, centralised storage
media, centralised printers, etc.
33 servers, over 20 switches,
wireless LAN towers in 14
places, over 30 laser printers,
over 30 DMPs etc.
Expenses for developments and changes
Examples: applications development, software
programming, software modification, content
developments such as populating a database,
integrating new software with existing tools or
designing new Internet/web-based facilities, etc.
In house application software
development done in 4
software development
centres at the Collectorate
employing over 30 software
Rs.30 lakhs
Expenses for actions of implementation Examples:
planning, surveying user requirements, pilot
testing, evaluation, etc.
development centres at the
Collectorate employing over
30 software professionals.
Expenses for training and technical support
Examples: courses funded by organisation, hiring
trainers, etc.
Expenses for other activities/purchases Wireless radios 35472


TN may shut door on Microsoft


4 Responses to “India E-district :: Process Automation based e-governance implementation”

  1. Inez Wells said

    This blog is really superb!!! Thank you for you work! Good Luck

  2. I am thrilled after reading this blog. Salute to the DC and his team for implementing something IBM or Accenture would have asked 100 million USD and still wdn’t have finished on time and within 100 mil.

    What is the latest on e-gov in India? Is there any Federal initiative? Was this system sold to other districts?
    Great effort!

  3. Hi to all, how is everything, I think every one is getting more from this web page, and your views are nice for new users.

  4. This article is actually a pleasant one it assists new internet users, who
    are wishing in favor of blogging.

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