MPOnline Portal: Leveraging ICT for improving public service delivery

State governments all across the country are leveraging Information and Communication Technology (ICT) enabled strategies for ensuring efficiency, transparency and accountability in the process of service delivery. A key ICT model being used is the development of online portals for rendering web based services to citizens. The MPOnline portal of the Government of Madhya Pradesh (GoMP) represents the successful usage of this model for delivering public services to citizens at their door steps. MPOnline stands for ‘MPOnline Information for Citizen Empowerment’ and is a public-private intervention between the GoMP and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).

The portal offers a dynamic mode of service delivery through a network of franchises registered as kiosks/Common Service Centres (CSCs) run by small entrepreneurs and a direct login facility on the portal. Keeping the digital divide in mind, the Government of MP has designed the mechanism of ‘Assisted Access’ to effectively deliver services to the population that does not have IT literacy.

The combination of these two methods helps the portal extend its reach to all citizens in the urban as well as rural areas of the state. MPOnline runs on a revenue generating model and hence a payment mechanism has been integrated with the operations of the portal. A revenue generating approach combined with the BOOT (Build-Own-Operate-Transfer) model ensures the financial sustainability of the initiative. Strength of the BOOT model is that it facilitates a convenient division of labour with technical management being handled by TCS and strategic direction being provided by the Government of MP.

MPOnline is a one stop window for the provision of more than 275 educational, recruitments and business related citizen-centric public services. Through this portal, citizens can access public services from anywhere and at any time. Currently MPOnline services are delivered through more than 10,000 kiosks/CSCs. The portal has expanded its geographical coverage to all the 50 districts of the state, covering its 300 tehsils and 280 blocks. The acceptance of MPOnline amongst public officials was not instant and it was gradually accepted through persistent communication by MPOnline officials. Strong political and high level bureaucratic support was essential to its acceptance and ensuing success. MPOnline also uses the strategy of involving all stakeholders in key decision making processes. While this does lead to its own difficulties, specifically in the case of price-fixing, it is nevertheless a way to ensure that all stakeholders feel part of the project.

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