This government office in North East went fully digital: Here’s how

ThinkstockPhotos-504043178 - DIGITISING INDIA THROUGH DMS

With the complete adoption of e-office and by becoming a paperless office, the Deputy Commissioner office of Itanagar is the only Deputy Commissioner office in the entire North East region to adopt e-office.

The office of the Deputy Commissioner, Itanagar has fully adopted e-office and has become a paperless office. With digital transformation becoming a differentiator, all states in the country are trying to leverage technology. Recently, the office of the Deputy Commissioner, Itanagar was in the news for its futuristic e-governance initiative.

What is it e-office? e-office is a complete digital workplace solution for running an office that is based on the central government’s manual of office procedures. With its implementation, the Deputy Commissioner office capital complex, not only implemented the solution but also brought a radical change in the way that the office functions using ICT.

E-office provides an effective monitoring mechanism to monitor the performance of individuals, the pendency of files, clearance of files, files worked on among others on fingertips which were not available earlier. Prior to the adoption of e-office, departments or sections submitted their own reports which could not be cross-verified. Now, the digital monitoring mechanism of e-office has increased the accountability and responsibility of staff at all levels and brought about a positive change in the administrative system.

Has it happened easily? The answer is ‘no’. Connectivity is a major issue in Arunachal Pradesh and hence to minimize disruption due to connectivity issues, the government has adopted multiple channels of getting NIC connectivity viz WiMax, lease line. Further, VPN has also been made for most of the office staff, so that they can access e-office using public IPs. This has enabled the Deputy Commissioner office to take connectivity from private vendors such as Airtel, Jio among others.

Unlike other e-governance projects that are mostly just conceptualized, but fail at the implementation stage; in this case, the Deputy Commissioner office has implemented an off-the-shelf solution that brought transparency and efficiency in the office functioning and also avoided time wastage in software development.

The implementation of e-office has brought various benefits to the office such as transparency and accountability – the documents or the files are preserved forever. There are no chances of the files being misplaced, modified or lost. There is an absolute transparency as anything, once written on the file, cannot be changed or undone.

The files cannot be kept pending as the system is designed to give feedback and monitoring mechanism. The exact position of receipts and files is available at any point in time to all the required employees, which has made file tracing lot simpler and easier.

The files can be received within a fraction of seconds, which previously used to take many days. This has also reduced the financial burden related to transport expenditures of the staff moving to-and-from with the documents. e-office gives a single employee directory that aids better communication.

Knowledge can be preserved in an organized fashion in the Knowledge Management System (KMS), which has a centralized, easily accessible knowledge base for all the employees. Documents like GRs, circulars etc can easily be accessed through KMS.

Simplification and standardization of government processes and procedures, elimination of unproductive or non-value-adding work, and reduction in paperwork have been other advantages of e-office. Users now work on files remotely when they are away from the office, through VPN services; this was not possible earlier.

ICT-enabling e-governance: E-file is a workflow based system that includes the features of existing manual handling of files with the addition of more efficient electronic system. This system involves all stages, including the diarisation of inward receipts, the creation of files, movement of receipts and files and finally, the archival of records. With this system, the movement of receipts and files becomes seamless and there is more transparency in the system since each and every action was taken on a file was recorded electronically. This simplifies decision making, as all the required information is available at a single point.