Andhra Pradesh: The e-state

Andhra Pradesh

Led by an enthusiastic Chief Minister in the form of Chandrababu Naidu, the state of Andhra Pradesh has been on an overdrive with respect to undertaking e-governance initiatives. One e-governance project, which highlights the desire of the state to do better by using data rather than rely on instincts, is the Core Dashboard (CM Office Real-Time Executive Dashboard).

While it is common to see corporates measure every possible parameter to improve their performance, it is rare to see states do that in a transparent manner. The Core Dashboard is one of the most comprehensive data driven initiatives, where the CM can track and measure KPIs from 33 state government departments on a single platform. For example, every parameter (number of streetlights that are on, ground water levels, rainfall status, employee attendance) can be tracked on a real-time basis. This has already started to make an impact. Press reports claim that the state was able to reduce the impact of the drought in several districts by closely monitoring statistics from the Core Dashboard. The government is also using the Core Dashboard to keep a tab on the medicines distributed at government hospitals, and in monitoring the health of pregnant women in villages and remote areas.

The state is also building the foundation for accelerating and scaling its IT vision. For example, the state has created an enterprise IT architecture called e-Pragati. This is a framework for providing integrated services to citizens covering 33 departments, 315 agencies and 745 services. The state has also understood the critical fact that online services will not take off unless the required infrastructure is easy to access and cost effective. The AP Fiber grid project is a massive step in this direction. The project aims to provide affordable broadband connectivity to every household at a cheap cost. For example, a broadband connection with 15 Mbps speed will be provided for just Rs 149.

While it seeks to strengthen its foundation, it is not losing sight of the future. For example, the state was the first to experiment with ‘White Spaces’, a technology that aims to use unused television spectrum to deliver low cost Internet access. In another first, the state became the first state in the country and one of the very few in the world, when it announced that it is doing pilot projects on Blockchain, for ensuring authenticity of transactions.

While many state governments have launched ambitious initiatives, what makes Andhra Pradesh
stand out is its ability to let people of the state evaluate its performance by sharing information transparently, and in pushing its departments to update information frequently. For example, ministries that do not update their data regularly are flagged. Ministries are also rated with a star rating. Andhra Pradesh is a prime example of a state that is wanting to quickly accelerate its economy using the foundation of technology. It is also a model state for other state governments on how they can leverage technology optimally for the benefit of the masses.