The Government of Andhra Pradesh, under its Post Matric Scholarship (PMS) Scheme, provided financial assistance to economically and socially backward sections of society such as Scheduled Castes [SC], Scheduled Tribes (ST), Backward Classes (BC) and minorities. Year 2004 onwards, the scheme was transformed into class-based entitlements and all students from families with less than INR 1 lakh annual income were eligible for the scholarship.
Thus, with an objective to facilitate the online administration and disbursal of PMS,The Electronic Payment and Application System for Scholarship [ePASS] was initiated in 2009 and fully implemented by 2011. It was conceptualized by the Department of Social Welfare, Government of Andhra Pradesh and was designed, developed and implemented by the Centre for Good Governance,Hyderabad.
ePASS has been developed as a completely digital, web-based, workflow driven module with online filing and verification of scholarship applications and sanctioning and disbursal of funds. There has been a complete replacement of the earlier Demand Draft (DD) system and funds are credited directly to the bank accounts of students. It provides detailed MlS data on the functioning of the process and stakeholders, bringing in transparency and accountability. ePASS also has a grievance redressal module where stakeholders can login and post their grievances and follow its redressal. This function is further bolstered by a call centre and help desk that not only helps with grievance redressal but also provides information to citizens who do not have internet access. As ePASS is a web-based application clients/front end users simply require internet access to use it. To bolster its reach to areas that have poor IT connectivity. The Government of AP has integrated ePASS services into Mee Seva, the Common Service Centre [CSC] system of AP. Internet cafes have also been roped in to further its reach.
ePASS currently covers the entire state of AP and is operational in all 23 districts. Scholarships worth INR 4000 crore have been disbursed to 26 lakh students. Through the Mee Seva system 12 lakh applications have been filed as of this writing. The system has brought transparency to the details of each transaction available online, leaving negligible space for fraud, misappropriation of funds and delays. Availability of a personalized call centre and help desk has also enabled the students and colleges to seek a timely redressal of their grievances. ePASS has thus greatly strengthened the delivery of the PMS scheme and is being approached by other state governments that seek to replicate its successes.