Leveraging ICT to build a transparent and accountable public service environment

A look at key legislations, like the Right to Information, Right to Education and Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee, passed in India over the last decade indicates a shift towards the adoption of a rights based approach in governance. A crucial recent legislation in this direction is the Right to Service (RTS) Act being passed by various Indian states under varied nomenclature. The basic idea behind this Act is that citizens have a legal entitlement to demand time bound services from the government and any shortfall on the part of government officials to fulfil this commitment can make them liable to penalization. For this purpose, states have fixed the time limit for notified services under the Act within which these services have to be delivered to citizens.

In the past two years, 12 Indian states have passed their respective versions of the RTS Act and are developing new solutions to strengthen its implementation. While Madhya Pradesh has set up a separate administrative department for this purpose, Bihar and Delhi are adopting ICT tools to facilitate their Act’s implementation. Other states are in the process of notifying services under the Act and devising ways to put the Act in operation.

This document highlights the experience of Delhi’s Electronic Service level Agreement Monitoring (e-SLA) system designed for the implementation and monitoring of the Delhi Right of Citizen to Time Bound Delivery of Services Act, 2011. The e-SLA has been in operation since September 2010 and monitors the time bound delivery of 116 services across 23 departments. This online monitoring system successfully leverages Delhi’s existing IT infrastructure to integrate departmental databases with central software to generate Management Information System (MIS) reports that assist monitoring authorities to oversee the status of service applications in their department and track the number of disposed and pending service requests as per established timelines under the Act. The e-SLA also provides citizens with a facility to track the progress of their service request online through a web portal, thereby saving them the problem of visiting government offices multiple times.