Madhya Pradesh’s goal is to use technology for impactful governance: Manu Srivastava, Principal Secretary, RE and S&T, Govt of Madhya Pradesh

Manu Srivastava

Madhya Pradesh is among the states that have been progressive on the use of technology for governance. Over the years, the state has created decent IT infrastructure and human resources pool that can respond to people’s need immediately. The Dial 100 project, use of technology during Simhastha Kumbh and now the implementation of Revenue Court Management System for lowering pendency, is testimony to this. In an interview with Mohd Ujaley, Manu Srivastava, Principal Secretary, Renewable Energy, Science & Technology Department, Government of Madhya Pradesh, says, “The state’s goal is not just IT, but to impact the government processes or final delivery of services in a meaningful way with the help of technology intervention”

Land disputes seem to be one of the main reasons of litigation in various states in India. How is Madhya Pradesh addressing this challenge?
You are right. This is also because it is related to the livelihood of people. In Madhya Pradesh, our goal is not just IT, but to impact the government processes or final delivery of services in a meaningful way with the help of technology intervention. To address this challenge of growing number of revenue cases, we have implemented Revenue Court Management System (RCMS).

The core job of the collector is to collect land revenue, but over a period of time, land management and issues pertaining to land have moved to the backburner. Whereas, in the other issues that seem to dominate more – basic law and order, developmental issues – the collector and the district administrator, both have a role. However, one of the fundamental weaknesses that all of us realize is that the focus on land mangement, which was the main job of the department, is being neglected to focus on other areas – this has been an area of concern for all.

RCMS is a way to track the progress of revenue cases in all the Revenue Courts – from Nayab Tehsildar, Tehsildar, SGM, Collector, Additional Collector, further onto the Board of Revenue. The idea is to ensure that is done in a more prompt manner; so what it does is that it brings the number of cases pending in each court and details such as the next date for the case, on a system, which can be monitored by everyone. For example; today even the Chief Secretary’s office can find out how many cases are pending in which courts. This information was used by the present Chief Secretary, and he has also held meetings in every divisional headquarter to review this, wherein every revenue official was called. This has thereby resulted in a huge drop in pendency. Law and order problems often originate from problems pertaining to land, which has had an impact on the functioning of government and delivery of services.

States like Uttar Pradesh have successfully implemented Dial 100 projects to improve policing. How is the Dial 100 project working out in Madhya Pradesh?
Dial 100 project in Madhya Pradesh is also doing great work. We have integrated GIS technology, wherein the present locations of all the vehicles can be found out in a  particular area. In case of a problem, the control room asks to identify the vehicle location, which will then be pinged on the map and the nearest vehicle will be asked to address the problem. In addition, we are digitizing the maps of all police stations; this will address the problem of jurisdiction conflict. Under this, the person who pings his location would be informed about the police station under the jurisdiction, alongside its contact details.

Most of the examination boards in India struggle to handle the volume of traffic their servers receive during the conduct and results announcement, but Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board has been able to manage it. How did you do it?
We have been able to do it because we have dedicated professionals who handle technology in the state. Along with MPSED, we also have MAP-IT who are creating indeginous software and solution. For Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board, we have developed a system which ensures immediate results after the examination. Something, that you find with CAT and other big examination. We are yet to match their level but we are on the right way. So far, our servers have withstood every examination and there are no problems reported.

You mentioned about MAP-IT. How is it placed compared to independent consultants?
Mostly, in the government, when programs are implemented, tenders are offered and outsourced to a company. However, we have software engineers employed in our organization who undertake these programs. Project management is done by us, which ensures privacy and data ownership. For instance, for renewable energy, we had asked Madhya Pradesh Agency for Promotion of Information Technology (MAP-IT) to develop a program for monitoring renewable energy systems. These are the prominent examples among many others including school education, wherein all the scholarships are available online.

Rewa Ultra Mega Solar (RUMS) is a promising project, at which level has the work reached?
Under renewable energy, the biggest project we have implemented is Rewa Ultra Mega Solar (RUMS), which is also one of the biggest in the world and it is entirely managed by the state. Whereas, most of the other ultra mega solar and thermal plants are managed by the Government of India. Development of the solar parks is generally done by the states, whereas bid conduction and development of documents, etc is either done by NTPC or Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI). However, in the Rewa project, the entire project has been done by us. RUMS was set up in 2015. Interestingly, RUMS is also the first and only project in the country to provide power to inter-state open access customers; almost 24 per cent of the power from the project is being given to Delhi Metro. It is also the first and the only project in India to get a loan from the World Bank and Clean Technology Fund, which has helped to keep the prices low. The work has already been started and it should be commissioned by the end of this year.

What challenge do you see for technology intervention in government?
Technology needs to adapt people, it should not be vice-versa. It is difficult to expect people to change. For instance, we are working on renewable energy based cooking. To expect people to change their eating habits for utilizing global renewable energy is unreasonable. We have to change technology to adapt to people’s requirements. However, there’s no lack of acceptance among people, as long as the process is simple.

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