Meghalaya recently won the ‘Best Project’ award at the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) held in Geneva for its paperless governance initiative, called ‘e-Proposal System’.
The initiative is a part of the Meghalaya Enterprise Architecture (MeghEA), set up in 2019 as part of the Digital India Mission, to improve service delivery to the state’s residents. The goal of MeghEA — implemented by the state’s planning department — is to standardise and organise the government department’s IT structure.
As part of MeghEA, the state government rolled out the ‘e-Proposal System’, which claims to have eliminated 75 percent of the government’s internal paperwork. The government has claimed that the system automates sanctions and administrative approvals for proposals submitted by all departments and directorates.
“We made the process of approving a proposal — from conception to approval — completely paperless and online,” Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma told News18, adding, “More importantly, what used to take 45 to 60 days now takes just 24 hours.”
The system also allows for automated, electronic cash and benefit transfers to citizens.
A UN jury picked Meghalaya’s initiative out of 260 projects — including some from Australia and China — under the category, ‘The role of Government in the promotion of information and communication technology for development’.
Sangma said the e-Proposal System enables Sustainable Development Goals, which he believes gave the state the edge over the other entries. Meghalaya is the only Indian state to win an award at the WSIS this year.
How does e-Proposal System work?
The system was launched in February, and the planning department claims that 1,600 proposals have been processed so far, and Rs 790 crore has been sanctioned for these proposals.
“I am from an IT background, believe in technology, and the use of technology to deliver services,” Sangma said.
Sangma said the seeds for the idea were sown when he realised the need for integration after seeing different departments trying out technology-driven solutions on their own. “One department comes with a software, another department comes up with its own software — we realised that until they talk to each other, we will not have a blueprint that connects all these departments; their efforts will not bear fruit the way they should,” he said,
That was how MeghEA was born.
“It’s a very fancy name for a blueprint of the entire governance process — government to government, government to business, and government to citizens,” Sangma said.
For the moment, the e-Proposal System will focus only on the government-to-government process.
“As we move along, we will ultimately connect this to citizen-centric services, and ensure that citizens are also able to take advantage of it,” Sangma said.
First Published: IST