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See full case study - Indiagovernance.gov.in

See full case study - Indiagovernance.gov.in

Governance Knowledge

Governance Knowledge CentrePromoted by Department of Administrative Reforms and Public GrievancesMinistry of Personnel, TransparencyPublic Grievances and Accountabilityand PensionsGovernment of IndiaCase StudyTransparency and AccountabilitySMS based Monitoring SystemOctober 2010BackgroundThe conventional monitoring system in Bihar relied on manual tabulation, which was generallyconducted at the end of every month. The system did not have a weekly or a fortnightlyreporting menu. Furthermore, service provision was far from transparent as data was not in thepublic domain. With the advent of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, provision of informationbecame mandatory. As a result, reporting began to suffer due to delays from heavy demandcombined with limited posts/special messengers. There was also little uniformity in thereporting formats of different departments, which made it difficult to channel information fromthe block to the district to the state. Eventually, data collection and collation, and production ofreports became such a major task that monitoring officers were employed solely to developmonthly reports. Even then, scheme progress was not reported by the block to the state in atimely manner; BDOs took months to prepare a single report and no mechanism existed forproper verification of data. Moreover, the fact remained that the sheer number of blocks in thestate proved monitoring to be an often overwhelming task. The negative impact was an almostnever 100% reporting compliance of any department unless strict deadlines were issued. It wasa monitoring nightmare and a quagmire that seemed to be insolvable.The answer to these problems came through a committee of secretaries who set out to exploitexisting widespread mobile technologies to this end. They identified monitorable programmesand parameters that would be informative yet simple enough to convey through SMS. Thenovel and simplistic solution became the SMS Based Monitoring System.As a result of concerted efforts and despite initial resistance, the system has proved to be asuccess. At the outset, central officials travelled to all blocks to provide direct training torelevant officers on the use of mobile phones for composing and sending short standardizedmessages. They also provided each reporting officer with a mobile under the Closed UserGroup (CUG) System, where phone charges are paid for by the government. Moreover, ITmanagers were posted at several district offices to guide and monitor reporting processes. Oncethese actions were taken and irregularities in network connectivity worked out, the SMSmonitoring became a norm throughout the state.Today, the SMS system has been accepted as a powerful tool and continues to boast a highcompliance rate. Approximately 4000 SMSs are sent to the central server and published on thepublic domain on a daily basis.3Researched and documented byOneWorld Foundation India

Governance Knowledge CentrePromoted by Department of Administrative Reforms and Public GrievancesMinistry of Personnel, TransparencyPublic Grievances and Accountabilityand PensionsGovernment of IndiaCase StudyTransparency and AccountabilitySMS based Monitoring SystemOctober 2010ObjectiveThe SMS Monitoring System aims to empower policymakers and the public with tools toeffectively monitor the progress of key development schemes from the ground up. Theassumption is that daily monitoring will empower policymakers with the necessaryinformation to strengthen mechanisms for public service delivery.Working DesignImplementing officers from every block in the state are required to send a SMS from theirregistered mobile number, between 5pm and 8pm everyday, to a dedicated number(9873431587). Parameters have been selected so that they indicate scheme status on any givenday; for example, health services are measured by number of medicines available and numberof outpatients (See Appendix A for more information). All messages are directed to a centralserver, where they are processed and uploaded to an online database:http://210.212.23.52/smsbihar/.The web application was designed by Software Education and Research (P) Limited. Themonitorable parameters, although differing from scheme to scheme broadly include the blockname (BL), expenditure incurred (EX), number of schemes (SC), and number of employeesonsite (NL). On the basis of these parameters, daily reports are generated. Such reports aregenerated for the following services:1. National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS)2. Indira Awas Yojana (IAY) – rural housing3. Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) – basic needs (food, health, education)4. Bicycle/dress distribution5. Pension distribution6. Student scholarship distribution7. Food services8. Health services9. Road and bridge construction10. Mutation – purchase and sale of landRainfall data is also collected through the SMS-based Monitoring System.Central department officials access data through an online dashboard through which schemeprogress is tracked and trend analyses conducted to inform further policy.4Researched and documented byOneWorld Foundation India