This is the only scheme from Madhya Pradesh which won prices outside and was discussed much and formed part of many books and papers in academic, management and administrative institutes.
Even at that time I wondered about it as I ahd never heard of them, local media was never talking about it and worse i wondered how such thing could work in Dhar - a tribal district whose first needs are employment, power and water and not ICT interventions.
The hero of this saga i.e. Dr Rajesh Rajora had an inceremonious exit one year back when he was caught in income tax raid for a scam in health department. But I used to think may this fellow started good but later succumbed to allure of money.
Based on detailed investigations I have discovered that I was wrong, even this scheme was a quick fix to win rewards.
We punsih those army and police officers who do fake encounter killings for winning awards, but what about those administrative officers who waste away precious resources on such schemes to win awards?
"GYANDOOT - Gyandoot is an Intranet based Government to Citizen (G2C) service delivery portal commissioned in Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh (a state in central India) in January 2000.
The Gyandoot society comprises of the District collector, the CEO of the Zilla Parishad and members of the participating departments. The society also comprises of an operations team, who are responsible for the functioning of the “Soochnalaya”, which are the physical citizen centre “avtar” of Gyandoot . Unlike other states, where the model is based on Public-Private Partnership, the Zilla Parishad provides and manages the “Soochnalayas” with the help of “Soochaks”, who work on a part time basis. Most of the services are available on a chargeable basis and range from Rs. 5 to Rs. 25.
The processing of services is severely restricted, as the back-end government departments do not have a technology enablement of their processes. Therefore most of the backend processes are manual and the Gyandoot application is only a way to input queries and extract information. There is no significant saving of time or costs.
On the front end, Gyandoot is facing the problem of identifying and deploying appropriate power and communication technologies that offer satisfactory service levels while keeping the infrastructure costs low. Increasing the number of “Soochnalayas” and including more revenue generating services can only offset the infrastructure costs. Post-implementation, Gyandoot not only faced issues with respect to non-availability of sustained power and network connectivity, but also had to also grapple with the low awareness of the “Soochnalayas”. Word of mouth played an important way to communicate the role of the “Soochnalayas” and the create awareness of the services offered by them.
The service offered were a mix of information related and transaction based services. A nominal service charge was levied for some of the services offered. The services that were most in demand related to the following:
• Mandi prices
• Khasra Nakal Avedan
• Certificates relating to caste, domicile and income
• Grievance redressal
The Gyandoot initiative had to also contend with issues related to higher transaction costs in some cases. This was primarily due to increase in travel costs due to the location of the “ Soochnalayas”.
Challenges faced by the Gyandoot initiative:
Poor power and communications backbone
Information available through Gyandoot not updated on regular basis
Low awareness of the services offered by the “Soochnalayas”
Location disadvantage of the “Soochnalayas”, resulting in increase in transaction costs